REBOL Technologies

Safe and friendly REBOL, but does the IT dept know that?

Carl Sassenrath, CTO
REBOL Technologies
5-Apr-2007 17:56 GMT

Article #0331
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Does this pattern sound familiar?

Engineers in the development team at XYZ Company discover REBOL and find it to be quite useful. It is lightweight and easy. They put it to work, and soon have a solution that runs across all their computers... Windows, OSX, Linux, OpenBSD and others.

Later that same month, the XYZ IT department is inspecting their servers and finds several "bad sounding" processes called REBOL. Plus, this strange alien technology is making thousands of network connections each day!

Next, the IT staff examines a few client computers and finds REBOL there too, this time as exe files and browser plug-in components! Oh no! Be afraid!

They ask, "What is this strange REBOL infection?" Not knowing how to Google "REBOL" to find out, the IT department bans REBOL from all XYZ company computers.

Naming products is a complicated business.

The the name REBOL came from a need to move away from our first name LAVA. It sounded a bit to much like Java.

The REBOL name was intended to sound rebellious, because after all, we are rebelling against the trend that computer systems and software must be so complex and overwhelming that no one knows how to work them, let alone build or maintain them. So, in fact, we are a bunch of rebels!

But, that's not what companies want to hear, is it?

This is not a new problem. Long ago, an old Amiga friend started something called the Hackers Conference. The conference was very special... for movers and shakers of computing to get together and share ideas. Over the years, most of the legends of computing have attended and enjoyed the conference.

However, after a decade or so, the Hackers founders began to have problems. The powers-to-be at companies like XYZ did not want to pay for their techies to attend a conference called "Hackers". No, they did not understand that a hacker is not a cracker, nor did they comprehend that all the computing technology that ran their company was in fact invented by those hackers! (Management rarely understands who has the keys to the bus.)

So, the conference got renamed to Think. There's a mention on their site about the hacker name and its original meaning. But, I know that most of us who attend this conference still call it Hackers, and the t-shirts are called Hackers, and we're all just a little disappointed about the whole situation.

But, that's reality. I understand marketing better than my websites will ever show. And, I also know to those of us who voyage deeply into this void of the unknown to create the future for the many, such naming issues seem trivial and meaningless.

Yet, they are not.

So, as we embark on the new era of REBOL 3.0, we need to consider the lesson of Hackers and Think. I am not proposing a complete rename... but more of a "branding layer" that we use to keep the situation manageable. That is commonly done with many types of products. Just look at your cereal box.

Let's open the Pandora's name box for just a short while and see if any community consensus can be found.

Post your comments here publicly or send them to me privately, if they are of a sensitive nature. (Such as a great and available name that we don't want broadcast over the blog.)

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