In the comments section of his own blog, Russell Beattie writes:
Atom has been stalled. It doesn't have a name, it doesn't have a spec that anyone agrees on. And zealots who hang out on the Wiki 24-7 have hijacked much of the process. When I see a named spec published and supported by 1% of the aggregators/websites out there I'll change my mind. But we won't see that for at least another year.
My curiousity was piqued by this, so I stopped by the !Atom/!Pie/!Echo wiki, where I discovered that there's a "Final Vote" for a name going on right now. None of the well-publicized options seem to be there...Atom, Pie, and Echo were all booted for legal reasons (though it's worth noting that the Pie problem is moot, since the trademark application was abandoned).
The lack of votes on that final vote page is pretty amazing. None of the people most publicly associated with the project have weighed in with a vote, and even those who have voted seem to have a "what's the point" feeling about it. Here's a snapshot of a "ThreadMode" conversation taking place on the vote page:
[JasonLefkowitz] Are we really voting? Not many people seem to have participated. What's the deal?
[AsbjornUlsberg] Yes, we're voting. Why the participation is so low, I can't explain, but it's announced on the FrontPage and other places, so it shouldn't be too difficult to discover. Maybe an email should be sent out to the atom-syntax email list?
[TomasJogin] Maybe a lot of us don't really believe that this is the "final" vote, either. If the past is anything to go by, some people are probably waiting for guidance from one of the (self-proclaimed?) A-list bloggers. And some of us just plain don't care anymore.
[AsbjornUlsberg] True. Though, I feel that this voting-round isn't as ad-hoc and hysterical as the previous ones, plus all the names have been much more thoroughly checked for copyright issues, discussed, etc., before this vote began. I think there is greater potential for ending up with a final name this round than any of the previous.
[TomasJogin] The previous round's trademark/patent conflict checks were just as thorough as this round's. The problem with the previous round seems to be that most people (the majority at least) didn't care for any of the alternatives.
Perhaps the real problem is that the nature of wikis is in opposition with the idea of "final closure" in a voting process? You can see in this process just how problematic the whole idea of "final" is. In fact, I suspect that all of the things that made the wiki a good environment for starting this project will end up being why it's not a good environment for finishing it. Wikis aren't _about_ finishing.
It will be interesting to see if the project dies on the wiki-vine, succeeds on the wiki despite its critics and doubters, or migrates to a new environment in order to achieve some degree of closure.