TITLE: No, the RICO Act Does Not Apply AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: June 08, 2010 4:46 PM DESC: ----- BODY: The mafioso over at PLT have done it. They have renamed their suite of languages, editors, tools, and teaching materials from the collective "PLT Scheme" to Racket. As they explain on their web site, the Scheme part of the old name had grown increasingly less useful for identifying their work and the languages they had created. As a result, they had to continually distinguish their work from the work of the mainstream Scheme community, which was similarly disadvantaged by having the PLT community's work consume much of the mindshare around the name Scheme. A name change solves both problems... with the new cost of having to re-brand PLT Scheme, Dr. Scheme, Mr. Ed, mzscheme, and the rest of their suite. This is the first time I have ever seen a programming language community try to rebrand its language, so this will be fun. I suspect the PLT folks will be just fine. They are both great researchers and tool builders, and they are remarkably energetic in disseminating their ideas. I don't think there is any danger they will lose many of their current devotees, if any. The real question is whether the new name will make it easier or harder to bring new users on board. Because "Racket is a Scheme" and Racket is not called Scheme, I figure the name change is at worst a wash and at best a perceptive move. Over the next couple of years, we'll see which is true. If nothing else, this is likely to force me out of my holding pattern with PLT Scheme 4.2.0 and into the modern era of PLT, er, Racket 5.0. The #lang construct is such a nice solution to several different issues in creating languages and building large systems. Now I'll have to try it out for real! I'll also have to convert all of the code for my programming languages course, which will give me a little more incentive to make some larger changes in what I teach in the course and how I teach it. That's good news, too -- an extra shot of energy. -----