I occasionally follow Perl 6 development. Now when version 1 of Perl6 can be glimpsed at the horizon, a quibble of the name have arised. When I wrote version 1, I mean the first version the developers think is of such quality they can recommend it for professional production use, that is how most of us define a version 1 of any software be a language or not. But I’m not sure that goes for the Perl6 guys, they speak of version star, christmas instead of 1,2,3 etc. Normally you increase a software version number when you introduce non backward compatible code or new important features have been introduced. Now Perl6 is just not an upgrade of the old Perl which now seem to be called Perl5 (by the Perl6 developers), it’s a complete new language. The name Perl6 introduce some interesting questions. What should a new version of the old Perl be? Perl vs 6, or Perl vs 7, Perl5 vs 6?. And Perl6 itself Perl6 vs 1? To me it seems not very clever creating a software give it a name of an existing software just appending the name with the next version number. This is bound to lead to confusion and annoyance about both languages in future.
The reason for keeping Perl in the name is as I understand ‘positive connotations of the name Perl’. That was a valid argument the previous century, today Perl as a name of a computer language is on par with Cobol. There is nothing wrong (in general terms) with Cobol or Perl, but positive connotations, come on in an age where PHP is associated with old farts, the word Perl does not arouse the masses.
I have seen a suggestion to add a compiler name to the name ‘Rakudo Perl6’, that’s really daft. Perl6 is marketed as a language specification, adding a compiler name to it is really an odd suggestion.
‘Hey what language did you use for your last mobile app?’, ‘Rakudo Perl6 version 5’ that is a conversation you will never hear.
My suggestion is to rebrand the language as ‘PerlyGate’. It is a compromise name, that solves the most irritating problems with the name Perl6, but keeps the connotations whatever they are with Perl, and also links to the Christian mumbo jumbo and connotations the Perl community seems so fond of.
I write this because I care, I want a language like Perl6 to become a success. It is a programmers dream, let be it is too large for my liking, but still it is better by far than any other 3g language I have seen..