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Google Programming

Google Under Fire For Calling Their Language "Go" 512

Posted by Soulskill
from the rename-it-to-proceed-with-caution dept.
Norsefire writes "Since releasing the 'Go' programming language on Tuesday, Google has been under fire for using the same name as another programming language that was first publicly documented in 2003. 'Go!' was created by Francis McCabe and Keith Clark. McCabe published a book about the language in 2007, and he is not happy. He told InformationWeek in an email: 'I do not have a trademark on my language. It was intended as a somewhat non-commercial language in the tradition of logic programming languages. It is in the tradition of languages like Prolog. In particular, my motivation was bringing some of the discipline of software engineering to logic programming.'"
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Google Under Fire For Calling Their Language "Go"

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  • by Procasinator (1173621) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @09:56AM (#30071840)
    This was reported by the author in Issue 9 [google.com]. There have been suggestions to rename the language to Issue 9 - I like it.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @10:01AM (#30071926) Journal
    Google's language is called Go! (with an exclamation mark.) The preexisting language whose existence has been suddenly and rudely revealed is called Go without the exclamation mark. Since ! is the negation operator, the Google's language is Go (Not). People don't seem to realize the full implications of the name.

    It originates from the paper by Dijkstra [arizona.edu] where he argued GoTo statements should be banned. That resulted in many structured programming languages main stream computer science. But what is not known is that the same paper spawned a new set of less well known languages based on "COME FROM" statement to avoid the "GO TO" statement. The Go! (pronounced Go-Not) language belongs to this little known branch. It is completely and entirely different from the plain old Go language.

    Dont get me started on the Japanese chess game Go.

  • Re:Go! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wooferhound (546132) <tim&wooferhound,com> on Thursday November 12, 2009 @10:07AM (#30072002) Homepage
    I think they should rename it to "Goo"
  • Re:Hmmm... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Rary (566291) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @10:10AM (#30072036)

    Perhaps Mr. McCabe should have trademarked the name???

    Simply using the name in a commercial capacity is enough to get an unregistered trademark. However, the problem is that he is not selling the Go! programming language. If it's not a commercial entity, then trademark doesn't apply.

  • Re:Go! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ArcherB (796902) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @10:18AM (#30072110) Journal

    It's actually pretty funny Google itself didn't see this coming. Results in Google for go programming language [google.com] are about the existing Go! language and the main developers book about it.

    In this case Google should really change the name since its been used in an existing programming language for years. But maybe they are:

    "We recently became aware of the Go! issue and are now looking into the matter further," a company spokesperson said in an e-mail.

    I don't know what they need to look into. There are only two real aspects to look at here. First, from a technical standpoint, it could confuse people want to learn Google's Go and end up learning the other Go. From a legal standpoint, if the guy didn't trademark the name, who cares? He doesn't really have a case. But it does kind of fly in the face of the "Don't be evil" slogan.

    If they want to be nice, they could just rename it to something like Go++ or Go2.

  • by rkww (675767) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @10:29AM (#30072260)

    It is proposed that this article be deleted because of the following concern: Non notable language. All the sources seem to be papers and a book by the author of the language. Per WP:N, sources should be secondary sources independent of the subject.

    This template was added 2009-11-12 14:22

  • not an issue (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kikito (971480) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @10:38AM (#30072380) Homepage

    One has a bang (!) at the end, while the other doesn't.

    Everybody knows the difference between C and C#

    The claim has no basis.

  • Re:Is Go! alive? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by eonlabs (921625) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @10:55AM (#30072608) Journal

    Excellent find,
    I'm sure the author is relishing in the Streisand Effect right now.
    How far down the page was Go! two days ago if you googled the name?

  • Re:Goop? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 12, 2009 @11:30AM (#30073148)

    I prefer GooG

  • by schon (31600) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @12:28PM (#30073926)

    OK, maybe I spoke too soon.. a more thorough search reveals one anonymous post that mentions it, but only links to information about the book by the languages author.

    http://developers.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1439072&cid=30057422 [slashdot.org]

    The post doesn't mention McCabe, nor anything useful - just some links to (what appears to be) a self-published book.

  • by 0xABADC0DA (867955) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @01:47PM (#30075466)

    Why don't they just call it "g". Then later, others can invent g++ and g# languages. This won't be gonfusing at all.

  • Re:Go! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ArcherB (796902) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @02:10PM (#30075904) Journal

    I didn't mean to say that Google is evil for stealing this guy's name. I was merely stating that this could become a PR nightmare if it becomes a big enough deal.

    Imagine the spin that could be placed here:
    Some poor computer programmer invented a programming language with the hope of making the world a better place and here comes the big bad evil corporation Google and steals the name of this language. When the poor chap brings it up, the door is slammed on his face and Google uses the name anyway. This poor programmer can't do anything about it as since he couldn't afford a lawyer to TM the name to begin with, there is no way he will stand a chance against Google's titanic team of lawyers and deep evil pockets.

  • Re:Non-issue (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ClosedSource (238333) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @02:42PM (#30076536)

    Believe me, if there's at least one lawyer working for Google, they knew. Even most start-ups research a product name before announcing it. They probably just figured they could pay the guy off.

  • by shaitand (626655) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @05:04PM (#30078868) Journal

    "Google did this out of ignorance about a language"

    Actually he contacted them numerous times prior to launch and they ignored him and pushed to launch anyway. They maliciously took the name.

    The man published a book, has published an article on the language, and he is cited around the web. When google announced the launch there was a discussion thread about his language and his attempts to contact google.

    Not only have people heard of Go! they were already following the issue.

    It is about courtesy, this violates the do no evil policy times ten. Besides, Go is a common english word and shouldn't qualify for the trademark google will want anyway without them greasing palms.

Fools ignore complexity. Pragmatists suffer it. Some can avoid it. Geniuses remove it. -- Perlis's Programming Proverb #58, SIGPLAN Notices, Sept. 1982

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