[LLVMdev] "Name that compiler"

Reid Spencer rspencer at reidspencer.com
Thu Apr 12 20:57:14 PDT 2007


We're now keeping track of the naming process, ideas, etc. on this page:


(would someone PLEASE get us a wiki!!!) ;)


On Wed, 2007-04-11 at 21:44 -0700, Chris Lattner wrote:
> Hi Everyone,
> LLVM is a growing project, and many of us are very fond of it.  :)  LLVM 
> is continuing to grow, both in maturity in specific areas and in scope of 
> areas that it is applicable to.
> When we first started the project, we focused on the design of the 
> intermediate representation.  It is a strong design goal that the IR be a 
> self-contained virtual instruction set, which fully describes the program. 
> Because of this, we named the compiler LLVM, which reflects well on the 
> design of the IR.
> However, the scope of the LLVM project is outgrowing this name.  Today 
> LLVM does many "non-VMy" tasks, such as serving as a great static 
> compiler.  It also has components that overlap with traditional low-level 
> tool chain components like assemblers and linkers.  Further, LLVM's scope 
> is about to grow significantly with new front-end technologies (e.g. HLVM, 
> new SoC work on a python front-end, etc).  For all of these reasons, I 
> think that "LLVM" is an increasingly poor name for the project as a whole, 
> and it causes a large amount of confusion, particularly with people who 
> do not know much about it yet.
> For what it is worth, this is not a new thought.  I have been kicking 
> around the idea of renaming the project for several years now, but have 
> been stymied by not being able to come up with a better name!  The problem 
> is hard: how do you concisely describe a modern, modular, component based 
> compiler and tool-chain system, which can be used for many different 
> things, hopefully many of which we haven't even thought of yet?  How do 
> you pick a name that both memberable, relatively unique (searchable), has 
> an open domain name, etc?  How do you come up with a name that is amenable 
> to making a logo?  So far, I haven't! :)
> Note that the name need not capture every aspect of the project.  Just 
> having a distinguished name with no specific connotation is probably good 
> enough.  20 years ago, "google" and "yahoo" had very different meanings, 
> and "mozilla" or "firefox" were pretty meaningless.  Today, there is very 
> strong awareness of what they are.
> As such, I'd like to open up a forum for naming ideas.  I think we need to 
> continue to use the name 'LLVM' to refer to the IR (i.e. that which is 
> described in http://llvm.org/docs/LangRef.html), and we should plan to 
> attach LLVM as a suffix to the project name for several years to come: For 
> example: "Use the Foo/LLVM Compiler System, it runs infinite loops faster 
> than the competition!".
> To make this more fun, "success" is extremely subjective, and I have no 
> idea how we will declare a victor (we can figure it out as we go, right? 
> :).  I propose that people add ideas to the wiki that Vikram and Reid are 
> getting set up, and we kick some potential names around at the developer 
> mtg in May.  That gives us 5 or 6 weeks to come up with a name and/or 
> Logo.  The wiki isn't up yet, so consider this to be a head start :).
> If we find a good name, we can honor the one who came up with it with a 
> small amount of booty.  For example, we're prepared to award a compiler 
> textbook of your choice (MSRP < $100) to the winner, optionally signed by 
> people at the dev meeting if you so desire and if they agree. 
> Alternatively, we could do a $100 gift card to Amazon or some other place.
> What say you?  Are you up for the challenge?
> -Chris
> p.s., no I don't think "Foo Compiler System" is a good choice. ;-)

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