[Labs-l] Labs and Tool Labs being renamed

Bryan Davis bd808 at wikimedia.org
Wed Jul 12 20:28:44 UTC 2017

* "Tool Labs" is being renamed to "Toolforge"
* The name for our OpenStack cluster is changing from "Labs" to "Cloud VPS"
* The prefered term for projects such as Toolforge and Beta Cluster
running on Cloud VPS is "VPS projects"
* "Data Services" is a new collective name for the databases, dumps,
and other curated data sets managed by the Cloud Services team
* "Wiki replicas" is the new name for the private-information-redacted
copies of Wikimedia's production wiki databases
* No domain name changes are scheduled at this time, but we control
wikimediacloud.org, wmcloud.org, and toolforge.org
* The Cloud Services logo will still be the unicorn rampant on a green
field surrounded by the red & blue bars of the Wikimedia Community
* Toolforge and Cloud VPS will have distinct images to represent them
on wikitech and in other web contexts

In February when the formation of the Cloud Services team was
announced [0] there was a foreshadowing of more branding changes to

> This new team will soon begin working on rebranding efforts intended
> to reduce confusion about the products they maintain. This refocus
> and re-branding will take time to execute, but the team is looking
> forward to the challenge.

In May we announced a consultation period on a straw dog proposal [1]
for the rebranding efforts [2][3]. Discussion that followed both on
and off wiki were used to refine the initial proposal [4]. During the
hackathon in Vienna the team started to make changes on Wikitech
reflecting both the new naming and the new way that we are trying to
think about the large suite of services that are offered. Starting
this month, the changes that are planned [5] are becoming more visible
in Phabricator and other locations.

It may come as a surprise to many of you on this list, but many
people, even very active movement participants, do not know what Labs
and Tool Labs are and how they work. The fact that the Wikimedia
Foundation and volunteers collaborate to offer a public cloud
computing service that is available for use by anyone who can show a
reasonable benefit to the movement is a surprise to many. When we made
the internal pitch at the Foundation to form the Cloud Services team,
the core of our arguments were the "Labs labs labs" problem [6] and
this larger lack of awareness for our Labs OpenStack cluster and the
Tool Labs shared hosting/platform as a service product.

The use of the term 'labs' in regards to multiple related-but-distinct
products, and the natural tendency to shorten often used names, leads
to ambiguity and confusion. Additionally the term 'labs' itself
commonly refers to 'experimental projects' when applied to software;
the OpenStack cloud and the tools hosting environments maintained by
WMCS have been viable customer facing projects for a long time. Both
environments host projects with varying levels of maturity, but the
collective group of projects should not be considered experimental or

[0]: https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/labs-l/2017-February/004918.html
[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man_proposal
[2]: https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/labs-l/2017-May/005002.html
[3]: https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikitech-l/2017-May/088184.html
[4]: https://wikitech.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:BryanDavis/Rebranding_Cloud_Services_products
[5]: https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T168480
[6]: https://wikitech.wikimedia.org/wiki/Labs_labs_labs

Bryan (on behalf of the Wikimedia Cloud Services team)
Bryan Davis              Wikimedia Foundation    <bd808 at wikimedia.org>
[[m:User:BDavis_(WMF)]] Manager, Cloud Services          Boise, ID USA
irc: bd808                                        v:415.839.6885 x6855

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