TPF response to Raku rename
Tue, 29-Oct-2019 by
Stuart J Mackintosh
## What's in a name?
So this month, we recognise that 'Perl 6' was officially renamed 'Raku' following the blessing of Perl creator Larry Wall (https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/10/11/perl_6_raku_larry_wall/).
Unsurprisingly, this change has fostered further controversy in the community. The Perl 6 name has been used for almost 20 years and many community members have invested time, effort and emotional energy developing and advocating Perl 6. That makes this change hard.
Equally, many community members and users have long discussed the need for a change to the name to better reflect the differences between Perl 6 and previous releases. The key factor is that software using one version will not run on the other without modification.
However, it has been noted that Perl 5 and Perl 6 share the same gene pool and conceptually have many similarities despite technically being incompatible.
The name 'Perl 6' has been the cause of division in our community for many years and although those who love the name may not want it changed, we anticipate that the benefits of concluding this long-standing discussion will be quickly realised.
## Why choose the name Raku?
Unlike Perl 5 and before which developed somewhat organically, Raku is the name of a specification for a language, and technically speaking, Rakudo is an implementation of this specification.
Other suggestions included 'Camelia' with the associated butterfly icon, as well as support for keeping the Perl 6 name.
Whatever our views on the choice of name, a choice has now been made and this enables us all to move past this discussion.
## TPF & Raku
The Perl Foundation exists to support the Perl community and all the people within our community, **including the newly renamed Raku**; the name change doesn’t alter the nature of our involvement or support with Raku.
For clarity, the Grants Committee will continue to accept grant proposals for Perl 5, Raku, and other Perl-family projects work as before.
TPF will continue to encourage development of Perl and Raku events, workshops and hackathons and generally support the global communities.
The Perl Conference (TPC) will also continue to accept presentation proposals for all Perl-family languages, including Perl 5 and Raku.
However, it does raise questions about the perception of TPF and relevance to Raku, being known as the 'Perl' Foundation - the board are discussing this.
If, in the future, the Raku Community as a whole believe that it would be best to create a separate foundation for Raku, we are open to discussing how we can support this. However, at the moment we do not propose this. Running a foundation takes significant time and effort with obligations and legal burden, and operating another will be an overall additional cost of community efforts.
We do not envisage any specific timeline for the communities to have concluded the change as the label 'Perl 6' will remain in many places for a while so we recommend that Perl 6 is considered an alias to Raku for as long as is required.
There’s lots of room for thought, discussion and different views - and this is because people care. What is clear is that both Perl and Raku have plans to progress, with opportunities to overlap and support each other whilst providing more options for newcomers to the programming world.