What’s in a Name?

I left a comment on this entry this morning, but its owner has disabled comments.

His grievance is over Ubuntu’s use of codenames which correspond to new releases because the names confuse him. I would think someone who claims, as he does, to have “years” of experience would be familiar and comfortable with such use of project codenames as release names (either with or in lieu of release numbers). As to his “concerns” about Ubuntu’s numbering system, 1.13 isn’t greater than 1.3 anywhere on earth except in application version numbering.

Apple uses names like Panther and Leopard to refer to their OS updates. MS uses names like XP, Longhorn, and Vista (ex-Longhorn!) after ditching sequentially numbered releases like 3.0, 3.1, 95, 98, ME. Debian, upon which Ubuntu and many other distros are based, uses names from “Toy Story” for their releases.

I don’t recall users — especially active users who form the communities around various operating systems — ever complaining that they’re no longer using sequential numbers. They use the codename and understand where they are in the sequence. To an outsider, it may be confusing. To someone who makes it his business to understand, it’s no big deal.

There’s one amusing irony in what he wrote. He claims to use Solaris with some frequency — but he apparently doesn’t know Sun is likewise using a project codename as a release name. The next release of Solaris based on the OpenSolaris project will be called “Nevada.”

Chin up, little buckaroo. Maybe you’ll get used to it.


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