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Re: [Chicken-meisters] Re: Fw: Chicken and marketing

From: Felix
Subject: Re: [Chicken-meisters] Re: Fw: Chicken and marketing
Date: Mon, 21 Mar 2011 22:46:54 +0100 (CET)

Hi, Mario!

> I think we'd go insane trying to imagine a name that wouldn't trigger a
> bad association for everybody.

Yes, good names are hard to find. I agree with that, still people
manage to do it from time to time.

> John ignored Chicken for some time because somehow he associated it to
> bad farming practices and how badly chickens are treated.  He could as
> well ignore Ruby if he once had a precious family jewel stolen. If
> Chicken had a name like, say, Brainfuck, then ok, I'd think about
> that. :-) So, the name choice is not an issue in my opinion.

It's not about John at all who wrote that. It is Joe Random User, John
as a person is not important here. "Chicken" is a, well, weird name.
And it has no association to what it represents in our case. But see
below for more about this.

> I'm not sure about Johns expectations regarding to marketing. I'd be
> interested in developers who see value in the technical aspects of
> Chicken, not in the name or logo.

So am I. But sometimes people just look at what catches their
eye, or sounds nice. Actually people do that more often than we
think (we do it, ourselves). 

> But I can see the benefits marketing could bring.  More developers,
> maybe companies support etc. Some people just don't know Chicken. There
> are just too many programming languages (and implementations) around.
> It's hard to filter what's good and what's not worth knowing.  Everybody
> has limited time.  In this sense, I think marketing would be good, since
> it would show people what Chicken can do (I obviously think it's very
> good).  OTOH, marketing would also show what Chicken cannot do, and
> people don't want that.  For example, if I want my web app to provide an
> easy way to upload a file via HTTP, I cannot do that unless I implement
> it myself or wait until somebody else do that.  It's just a small
> example of a thing that people usually take for granted when exposed to
> "marketing", and that they can find for sure in mainstream
> languages/implementations.  I'm sure there are many other examples.

I don't know anything about "marketing", and I think it is completely
misplaced here. I'm not interested in "marketing" chicken, but making
it more popular. So, let's please drop this meaningless term and talk
about the real subject: would another name be perhaps more suitable,
or would it not.

> Would we be able to handle the effects of marketing?  If we bring
> attention to Chicken and have to answer "no" to most the questions about
> "do you have?" or "will you do?", I'm not sure marketing would be
> good.
> The current situation is that we slowly attract developers who know
> Chicken's limitations but have time and patience to improve it because
> they see the project's potential.

Of course we are interested in getting more people into using or at
least trying out chicken. And we will handle the questions well, and
figure out the things they complain about. We do that for several
years now. If we are not able to face criticism, then we can all just
go home and do something sensible with our time. And chicken is pretty
good. It is more powerful and robust than a *lot* of language
implementations out there. And it's free, portable and well
documented. And people get help. I have tried out around 10 million
implementations of any possible language and I liked very very
few. The important parts (reasonably reliable, free, portable, help)
we have covered, often better than much more popular language
implementations. Scheme is a niche language, and among the Scheme
implementations, I think it is not too vain to say that we are in the
top 3 in terms of features, usability and documentation. And
performance isn't that bad, either.

I think chicken has a popularity problem and I'm not exactly sure what
the reason is. I have the impression that more and more new names are
appearing on IRC and the mailing list, so it might be that we have
reached enough momentum recently. On the other hand, I sucked up
everything I could find about Lisp and Scheme for a long time now,
reading newsgroups, blogs and mailing lists and I somwehow got the
impression that chicken really isn't very popular for quite a long
stretch of time (with the exception of #scheme perhaps). That may be
totally subjective, naturally being deeply attached to the project,
but I still think this is strange. Oh, and I'm NOT talking about a
conspiracy (even though that would be fascinating and it would make
everything so obvious! ;-). Is it because of the name? Not
necessarily. And just taking it as the reason for lack of popularity
is stupid, I know. That's NOT what I mean.

Whenever people ask me about what I do with my free time or why I
drive to remote places meeting foreigners, I tell them about the open
source project I'm participating in. Then they ask for the name, and I
(mentally) cringe, because I know when I tell them, they will look
funnny at me and because I feel silly. And the name was intended to be
silly, once. "CHICKEN" is the name of the one-man project, using
slightly arcane technology (which some people consider extremely
weird). I think the project has become something else, has involved
other people, has become more "serious" (in the good sense) and is now
(IMHO) better suited for and more oriented towards real and even
professional use (especially considering the crap tools the mainstream
is happily putting up with - that doesn't mean chicken is perfect of
course, far from that).

I'm just saying the project has changed considerably since it's
beginnings and perhaps we should think about reflecting that in the
one thing that describes it more than anything else: the name.


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