Is 'App' the right lingo for SAFE?

The following is an interesting discussion of the origins of the term ‘app’ and it’s popular expansion via Apple starting in the early 80’s. The same terminology has been used for distributed apps or safesites running in The SAFE Network, most likely to appeal to the current popularity and familiarity with the term by a general/global audience.

My question is this: “Is App the right lingo for SAFE? Are we missing out on an opportunity to brand a new type of software object?”

Cargo has crates, and Javascript has yarn or npm, SAFE has it’s Authenticator but should “the authenticated” have their very own unique branding too? The Alpha-2 Authenticator is essentially a package manager using the network like a “Safe Store”. Instead of seeing “Authorised Apps” should we see something like “Authorized Safes”, appealing to the idea of “Safe Sites” or some other interesting type of terminology?

The History of App and the Demise of the Programmer
( @rreive : AppleTalk shows up there too.)


Apps is a strong link to phones… and then small applications or gadgets that the user chooses because they notionally own that collection on their device.

Perhaps tools or another would be better… but if you’re visiting a SAFE site that has a certain capability, I don’t know if the user would need to think about that being an application in any form, any more than we pause to consider that discourse is running the forum.

For use on a mobile then, perhaps useful to use the language that people are familiar with. Adding in new layers of complexity, adds complication and might also reek of marketing for the sake of marketing.

SAFE, I wonder, should keep it simple and honest and easy to understand… natural and without the manipulation that others do too much.

If something becomes apparent and there is a natural evolution relative to function or use, then that can be adopted but preempting the users is more likely to be off target.

I certainly am interested in what platform the forum is running on, and I’m not even a developer. Just choosing to register on a forum with a real e-mail address or a fake one for me depends on what lies behind it. FWIW I also dislike the term “app”.

I was skeptical at first @jlpell but you might be onto something.

There’s a definite shift from an app / application, which controls everything and manages and effectively controls the data it creates, to the SAFE / Solid / Pillar model where there’s a data layer which we as people own, and something separate: interchangeable tools / services for working with that data (creating it, analysing, mashing, presenting, etc) but which is interchangeable with any other tool designed to work with a common data standard (such as LinkedData/RDF).

I don’t have any ideas, but my first thought is to look at and talk to others working in this paradigm, such as Solid , Pillar and others.


I understand. There will probably be better ideas, but ‘front’ (for the data) instead of app at least has 5 letters, which is a requirement for the Lingo game :wink:

My initial gut reaction to the “apps” terminology years ago was uggh, why does marketing need to be so buzz-wordy… just say “applications” it’s not that long of a word. But over time I succumbed to peer pressure after I bought an smart phone. (It was actually nice to read in the above article that ‘apps’ started with programmers… ) So the point of the OP is to question the bias that’s been drilled into our heads. Especially if it serves as a way to further differentiate the SAFE network from the competition. Although at this point I’m not sure if differentiation is better than looking familiar, but it might be. If you’re going to be innovative and different, might as well go all the way right? Although fighting buzz with more buzz may seem childish, I think it serves to take the ownership of current tech culture away from the big entrenched players as we transition to a SAFE tech culture/paradigm.

I think the word “tools” is nice and descriptive, ie . “Safe Tools”, but sometimes the word “tool” is derogatory here in the U.S., whereas “app” is “as american as apple pie.”

Earlier today I was looking at the word application and wondering if there were other ways to split it up. Nothing really spectacular seemed to pop out :

  1. apps < application, ( “Authenticated Apps”, “Safe Apps” )
  2. plics < application, ( “Authenticated Plics”, “Safe Plics” )
  3. cats < application, ( “Authenticated Cats”, “Safe Cats” )
  4. ions < application, ( “Authenticated Ions”, “Safe Ions” )
  5. vices < services, (Are there any “Authentic Vices” or “Safe Vices” on the Safe Network? :sweat_smile:)

Cats is fun because of the typical internet meme and the fact you can pull it out of both authentication and application. The same goes for “ions” which bears some familiarity with the nodejs “electron”, ie. (“An real ion is a charged atom, so safe ions are charged apps… uggh”) I can’t say that I like any of these though, hopefully they will give other people some better ideas.

Edit: Then there is always going back to my favorite word of the week “Ness”.

  • “On the Safe Network, you don’t use or make an app, you make a mess… oops I meant to say you make a ness, a Safe Ness!” :smile:

What is “ness” short for? Not sure. Maybe a contraction of a “necessity”?

Definitions of ness
: cape, promontory,headland, point
: state : condition : quality : degree


OK, sorry to keep harping on this, but going back to the fun we had in the MaidTalk thread and thinking about Ness, made me think about “Loch” which rhymes with “Lock” as in something that is locked up safe and secure. So instead of “apps” what about “locks”, “loks”, “locs” or “lox”? (“The authenticator is then a box of lots of locks for iots?” :grin: ) It could be used refer to safe “locations” on the SAFE network too. Now that I’ve written them down, they don’t look nearly as good as they first sounded in my head. I think the simple “locks” probably looks the best… not sure if that has too many letters to be buzz-worthy though. Anyhow, here’s to hoping someone else might be able to make something of it. Cheers.

I just consulted the Safe Network Primer:

Apps connecting to the SAFE Network are granted different levels of access to data through the API depending on whether they are authorized or not.

Apps that are not authorized can only access public data, such as websites. Authorized Apps can access the full range of network functionality.

It would seem ‘app’ is the right lingo.

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Keep going Mr @jlpell, stuff like this requires free thinking. I shall shut up for a while but am still with you :wink:


“Services” maybe ? The word is positive, and could help convey that the applications on safe are working for users, and not feeding on them.

Considering that APPs was a way to differentiate (ie marketing) Apple user programs from “programs” & “applications” and supposedly something special/unique to Apple. Well unlike the pure white earphones which remained an effective trademark of Apple they lost the uniqueness with Apps.

But unfortunately in english we still say apply, application for ever so many things in our lives. eg “apply the glue to one surface then press the surfaces tightly together” OR “what application do you have for that tool you bought at the hardware”

And so App is still an appropriate term to use and one I have always thought is pure marketing.

And why not for those applications that perform a service for the user.

Then “Tool” for those programs that perform that sort of function. EG file manager

@jlpell I have not kept up fully with everything said, but I reckon a great idea is to explore other languages for an appropriate term to use for Application. Sometimes you can find a “cool” sounding word that actually has a closer meaning to what SAFE programs are doing.

Also do not discount having 3 or 4 terms (services, tools, …, …) and not just App

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I think you’re on to something here… I guess I had considered having more than one term to be too much complication for the typical/average user. I assume you mean that “App” would not be a general term for the superset of tools, services, etc. but rather another member of a group of “things” which we have yet to come up with names or reasons for. If so, App then requires a very specific definition rather than a general term for applications and services as it is used now.

A search for “application” in all/most other languages using the online tool Translatr didn’t turn up much. Although, depending on pronunciation the translations to Finnish and Dutch may put a smile on your face with pieteikums and toepassing. :slight_smile:

I had a look at package manager and build tool terminology, there are a few common/interesting ones out there but no lightbulbs turning on yet.

  • SetupTools (python) : wheels and eggs
  • cargo (rust) : crates
  • RubyGems (ruby) : gems
  • PetGet (Puppy Linux) : pets
  • LuaRocks (lua) : rocks
  • (Java ): jars

SAFE: locks is probably the closest to these type of naming scheme themes used by the other open-sourcerers. Following that line of thinking with a thesaurus in hand yields the following combinations:

  • SAFE: locks
  • SAFE: shields
  • SAFE: safes
  • SAFE: securities
  • SAFE: shelters
  • SAFE: services
  • SAFE: servers
  • SAFE: sites
  • SAFE: surfs
  • SAFE: serfs (play on words with surf but :frowning: )
  • SAFE: works (as in work of art, or working machine)
  • SAFE: stuff
  • SAFE: gear
  • SAFE: goods
  • SAFE: tackle
  • SAFE: tools
  • SAFE: tech
  • SAFE: ties (play on words from safeties, plural of safety)
  • SAFE: gents (play on words from agent and gentleman/gentlewoman)
  • SAFE: stew (from steward, play on words with a warm and tasty bowl of soup)
  • SAFE: guards (play on words from safeguard)

Make of this what you will.

It is often taken for granted, but what really stuck out when visiting the wikipedia page on package managers was that the only groups using the term “App” or “App Store” are the big three (Apple, Google, and Microsoft) for the mobile space. Everyone else at least tries to be creative and unique, or maybe they’ve just been warned.

Other notes:

  • There are a lot of words that start with “app”. In addition to application, a contracted representation of apparatus and/or appliance also seems applicable.
  • A “Safe Store” might be a bit more appealing for marketing purposes than “Authenticated Apps”.

Yes this is very telling.

I think you are onto something here.

Multiple terms - well I’d keep the term relevant and obvious for the function it is performing to the general modern day public who use tech but know nothing of it or how it works. Remember package managers are for high tech people and terms mean a lot more to them.

Haha call them “toes”


SAFE spots

spot store

Download <program name> social spot.

What do you think?
Has it already been taken?


Maybe try using some sort of decentralized term instead of app. Would it be too much of a stretch to replace ‘app’ with:

  • host
  • node
  • net
  • client
  • mesh

Hmm… Really thinking quite far out of the box here

Like: “download the SAFE-FS host” or “SAFE-FS client” etc hmm…

Alright. I’ll play.


SAFE knots

Knot store


Without KNOTS, there’s no NET.
Could also maybe be an abbreviation for: Key Network Operational Tech? :wink:

And I personally like the sound of having ‘nodes’ and ‘knots’ on the network.


Ties is extricating society

I especially like the ties - they’re interconnections like the knots but more elegant somehow (okay - and I don’t wear them because I feel confined by them :innocent: nothing wrong about mixed messages xD ) - you can have a tie store and you can keep your ties in the wardrobe :hugs:

ps: to me it was a little bit the same as for @happybeing xD at first I was just a little bit lost why this would make sense /be important but really does sound like something at least worth thinking about in depth (and fun =D)


I liked gears from your list @jlpell but keep going and see what comes up.


Thinking about this a little more, it seems like the multiple terms are going to show up naturally from the titles of the Safe “Things” themselves (ie. SafeMaps, SafeMail, SafeBooks, SafeContacts, SafeBlog, SafeChat etc. ) So adding more indirection may
not be helpful, even if it is functionally descriptive…

I think “Safe Spots” and “Safe Ties” are fun and friendly too :slight_smile: … the only problem is when I start to brain storm around those, my mind keeps wandering to “Sun Spots”, both the extraterrestrial kind that can wreak havoc to communications on earth as well as cancerous melanomas :frowning: . And for some reason I want to pronounce “Ties” like “Tees” or “Teas”, which leads to a “Safe Tease” and all words that rhyme with that like “Safe Trees”. Tries and Trees are related to XOR addressing, but Trees also have sap, which brings us to where we started with the [S]afe [Ap]p. :persevere:

I think a lot of these might be fun marketing terms inside of an ecosystem of applications… but not sure if there is an “App killer” term or phrase yet…

Not sold on this, but another one is “port” or “ports”, such as “Safe ports”:

  • “Hey folks, it’s time to build a SAFE Port of this popular App…”

This has various connections to computing… software porting, network port… references to sailing and commerce… a contracted form being “sports / safe sports” to attract the football fans etc. One potential problem that might make it look copycat is that apple had a MacPorts aka DarwinPorts starting about 15 years ago, it was/is an open-source software project though… still active. “sudo port <package-name>”

:thinking: Moving on from “port” a similar line of thinking has Nessy curling around a “ship” or “ships”, ie. “software that is shipped”, or literally referring to a “vessel” for transporting information. :ship: :sailboat:

  • “Safe-ships in a sea of data.”
  • “A safeship will beat censorship every time.”
  • " At one level there is craftmanship, on another there is scholarship, stewardship, and seamanship; to go above and beyond all of those you need to have safemanship."
  • “Hey man, be hip and get the latest to ship from <safe://my.over-hyped-ship> !”
  • “Get your ship together and publish that blog already!”
  • “Are you worshipping that ship on SafeTube again?”

Ship also ties in nicely to the fact that SAFE itself is built with a mix of cargo and rust with blood, sweat, and tears like most seafaring ships. Ships on an ocean of data is a nice metaphor to connect the various lands and peoples around the world… etc.

Maybe there is some fun acronym lurking in there too:

  • [S]ecurity [H]elping [I]nformation [P]artner
  • [S]ecure [H]uman [I]nforming [P]rogram
  • [S]afe [H]appy [I]nteracting [P]eople

Ship has other pieces that tie into internet themes like ip addresses or ips. Along with the shipping metaphor can have SOS, or Soss, pronounced like “Sauce” or that “Secret Sauce” that beats the competition, while also related to"Foss" thus making “[S]afe [O]pen [S]ource [S]oftware”.

One thing I get from “Safe Spots” and “Safe Store” is that a word that starts with the letter ‘S’ might be the best analogy to “Apple’s Apps”…

If we constrain ourselves to no more than five letters then we’re essentially asking for the best letter combination that fits in [ S**, S***, S**** ] or if plural [S\*s, S\*\*s, S\*\*\*s].
(no profanity please :innocent:) If you want a similar sound to “Apps” than this leaves:
[ S*ps, S**ps, S***ps]

Anyone up for some tasty…

  • SAFE sap
  • SAFE scraps
  • SAFE slaps
  • SAFE snaps
  • SAFE straps
  • SAFE swaps
  • SAFE sops
  • SAFE shops
  • SAFE slops
  • SAFE stops
  • SAFE swops
  • SAFE sips
  • SAFE scrips
  • SAFE skips
  • SAFE slips
  • SAFE snips
  • SAFE strips
  • SAFE slurps
  • SAFE soaps
  • SAFE soups
  • SAFE steps
  • SAFE sheep
  • SAFE seeps

You can have “shop” or “shops” for a safe store which also could be related to “safe hop” in the network. We also see “ops” in computing, so shops are something like “[s]ecurely [h]ashed [op]eration[s]”?

The word “stop” is similar to “spot” and “shop” in some ways by referring to location, while “swap” is nice since it refers to sharing. The formal definitions for scrip fit rather well too, without going so far as to say scrypt or scripts.

Aarggh mateys, brain fog is setting in…


Here is another thought.

Do you hear anybody say “Internet Apps” or “Web Apps”?

Well yes some when they want to make a point. But generally the “Internet” and “Web” is never said by the trendy or general public. Only time I’ve heard it was “Phone App” when they wanted to tell the person it was on their phone and not elsewhere.

Anyhow keep going, we’ll get there one day

I know its old school but does “Prog” prompt any ideas.