Let's free all the butterflies - a proposal for Perl's branding

It's good when brands are honest and clear and make room for growth.

The Apple brand has grown from referring to one type of computer in the early 80's to lots of products: Apple Watch, Apple iPhone, Apple iPad etc.

Remember when Apache just referred to a popular web server?

Fast-forward to now and Apache is a parent trade mark that protects the 'Apache Way' and a thriving ecosystem of subprojects: Apache Ant, Apache Cassandra, Apache Hadoop, Apache Hive, Apache Ignite etc etc.

The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) provides sub-branding guidelines that encourages each Apache $sub-project to have its own distinctive sub-identity and branding. Their brands and ecosystem are flourishing as a result.

The truth is, the Perl brand has outgrown its original use - a designator of just one computer language. Like Apache, Perl has grown into a parent trade mark.

Perl 5 and Perl 6 are two distinct dialects of Perl. Yes - they both share the Perl Way - but the two dialects are different and it's good to be clear about that. Separating the two by just a version number does a disservice to both. Having two distinctive sub-brand names will mean honesty, clarity and no collisions on the command-line. Both Perl 5 and Perl 6 have distinct stories to tell and need room to evolve - separate sub-brand names will help.

The Perl Foundation is doing a good job of protecting the Perl trade mark already - the next step is to take inspiration from the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) and start using Perl as a parent brand to protect the Perl Way - with sub-branding guidelines for Perl sub-projects and conferences etc.

To avoid collisions on the command-line both Perl 5 and Perl 6 can create distinctive sub-brands for their respective runtimes and the whole community can move forward sharing the Perl umbrella brand.

TMTOWTDI after all! ;-)

Perl $new_runtime_name_for_perl5_goes_here (tm)
Perl $new-runtime-name-for-perl6-goes-here (tm)

Ideally the new runtime name(s) should have the following features:

  • be Perlish
  • distinctive
  • shortish (< 6 characters)
  • good Google find-ability
  • command-line type-ability
  • works with the Perl parent trade mark
  • easy to read
  • straightforward to pronounce
  • easy to spell
  • avoid hardwiring version numbers into the name (e.g., red6)
  • not cause confusion
  • not used by other major software projects / companies
  • not trademarked already (in international classes: 9, 16, 41, 42)

The distinct runtimes then implement their respective Perl dialect(s) which may also be separately branded.

Perl $new_dialect_name_for_perl5_goes_here (tm)
Perl $new-dialect-name-for-perl6-goes-here (tm)

The Perl parent brand protects the Perl Way and can work in combination with Perl-related projects and conferences etc.

Perl $project-name (tm)
Perl $conference-name (tm)
Perl $mongers-group (tm)

I'm collecting potential brand names (see criteria above) for Perl 6 and will pass them onto Larry Wall and the Perl Foundation for consideration. Here is a list of suggested names collected so far:

Name No ™ [1] No ® [2] Short Googlable Typeable Suggested By
├żerl JJ Merelo
6lang Alex Daniel
camelion geekosaur
qdo Nige
rak Nige
rakudo Zoffix, El Che, The Damian et al
rokudo The Damian
xel Nige
xeqt Nige
zeta The Damian
zlang Zoffix
  1. no confusion with another computer language or major software product ™
  2. no existing registered trade marks ® in international classes: 9, 16, 41, 42

Please email your suggestions to: nige@nigelhamilton.com and I'll add them to the list

Let's free all the butterflies - it's time for Perl to start growing again.