The Naming Of Nickle

Keith Packard's original calculator language of 15 years ago was called "ic", for "interpreted C", based on his earlier "ec" inline compiler and runtime for arbitrary-precision rationals integrable with C code. At some point, the language name was upgraded to "Nick" (whether for "New IC of Keith's" or just because he liked the name, we cannot recall).

That name was retained throughout our ongoing work, until our upcoming first public release. At that point, we decided we needed a name which was more descriptive of the nature of the current language. Nickle is designed to support one more major upgrade (to handle parametric type inference). The name nickle, for "nick <=", was chosen partly to denote this state.

In addition (in no particular order), we note that:

Finally, a note about the spelling. "Nickel" appears to be the preferred spelling for both the metal and the U.S. coin. The New American Heritage Dictionary does not allow the variant "nickle", although the Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary does. A Google search reveals a vast predominance of the former spelling over the latter. However, for a variety of reasons, some noted above, we have chosen the more problematic variant. As the old gag goes, you can call it anything you like. Just call it.

Copyright © 1988-2002 Keith Packard and Bart Massey. All Rights Reserved. See the file COPYING in this directory for licensing information.