Perhaps we need to clarify whether we're talking here about a typeface design or a font? Ray's original post spoke of 'releasing a typeface as public domain', but some of the follow-up comments refer to fonts.
You definitely don't want to decompile and recompile a whole font just to change a name table entry. Better to use a tool like TTX to dump just the name table, change the name in the XML, and then fuse the edited table back into the font. Alternatively, if you prefer a tool with a UI, try DTL OTMaster, which allows you to touch individual parts of a font without affecting others.