Science and technology

What’s in an open supply title?

GNOME, Java, Jupyter, Python. If your folks or members of the family have ever eavesdropped in your work conversations, they could suppose you have made a profession in Renaissance folklore, espresso roasting, astronomy, or zoology. Where did the names of those open supply applied sciences come from? We requested our author neighborhood for enter and rounded up a few of our favourite tech title origin tales.


The title “Ansible” is lifted straight from science fiction. Ursula Le Guin’s guide Rocannon’s World had units permitting instantaneous (quicker than gentle) communication known as ansibles (derived, apparently, from the phrase “answerable”). Ansibles turned a staple of science fiction, together with in Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game (which later turned a well-liked movie), the place the machine managed many distant area ships. This gave the impression to be an excellent mannequin for software program that controls distributed machines, so Michael DeHaan (creator and founding father of Ansible) borrowed the title.


Apache is an open supply net server that was initially launched in 1995. Its title just isn’t associated to the well-known Native American tribe; it as an alternative refers back to the repeated patches to its unique software program code. Hence, “A-patchy server.”


“awk(1) Stands for Aho, Weinberger, Kernighan (authors)” —Michael Greenberg


“The original Unix shell, the Bourne shell, was named after its creator. At the time Bash was being developed, csh (pronounced ‘seashell’) was actually more popular for interactive user logins. The Bash project aimed to give new life to the Bourne shell by making it more suitable for interactive use, thus it was named the ‘Bourne again shell,’ a pun on ‘born again.'” —Ken Gaillot


“In early days, Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie at AT&T found it interesting that you could use a higher-level programming language (instead of low-level and less-portable assembly programming) to write operating systems and tools. There was an early programming system called BCPL (Basic Combined Programming Language), and Thompson created a stripped-down version of BCPL called B. But B wasn’t very flexible or fast. Ritchie then took the ideas of B and expanded it into a compiled language called C.” —Jim Hall


“I don’t think you can publish such an article without mentioning dd. My nickname is Didi. Correctly pronounced, it sounds like ‘dd.’ I first learned Unix, and then Linux, in 1993 as a student. Then I went to the army, arrived to one of the very few sections in my unit that used Unix (Ultrix) (the rest were mainly VMS), and one of the people there said: ‘So, you are a hacker, right? You think you know Unix? OK, so what’s the reason for the name dd?’ I had no idea and tried to guess: “Data duplicator?” So he mentioned, ‘I am going to inform you the story of dd. dd is brief for convert and replica (as anybody can nonetheless see right now on the manpage), however since cc was already taken by the c compiler, it was named dd.’ Only years later, I heard the true story about JCL’s information definition and the non-uniform, semi-joking syntax for the Unix dd command considerably being primarily based on it.” —Yedidyah Bar David


The traditional anti-vi editor, the true etymology of the title is unremarkable, in that it derives from “Editing MACroS.” Being an object of nice spiritual opprobrium and worship it has, nevertheless, attracted many spoof bacronyms resembling “Escape Meta Alt Control Shift” (to spoof its heavy reliance on keystrokes), “Eight Megabytes And Constantly Swapping” (from when that was plenty of reminiscence), “Eventually malloc()s All Computer Storage,” and “EMACS Makes A Computer Slow.” —Adapted from the Jargon File/Hacker’s Dictionary


Enarx is a brand new venture within the confidential computing area. One of the venture’s design rules was that it ought to be “fungible.” so an preliminary title was “psilocybin” (the famed magic mushroom). The common feeling was that supervisor sorts would most likely be resistant, so new names have been thought of. The venture’s two founders, Mike Bursell and Nathaniel McCallum, are each historic language geeks, in order that they thought of numerous completely different concepts, together with тайна (Tayna—Russian for secret or thriller—though Russian, admittedly, just isn’t historic, however hey), crypticon (whole bastardization of Greek), cryptidion (Greek for small secret place), arcanus (Latin masculine adjective for secret), arcanum (Latin neuter adjective for secret), and ærn (Anglo-Saxon for place, secret place, closet, habitation, home, or cottage). In the top, for numerous causes, together with the supply of domains and GitHub venture names, they settled on enarx, a mixture of two Latin roots: en- (that means inside) and -arx (that means citadel, stronghold, or fortress).


Where would we be with out GIMP? The GNU Image Manipulation Project has been an open supply staple for a few years. Wikipedia states, “In 1995, Spencer Kimball and Peter Mattis started creating GIMP as a semester-long venture on the University of California, Berkeley, for the eXperimental Computing Facility.”


Have you ever puzzled why GNOME is named GNOME? According to Wikipedia, GNOME was initially an acronym that represented the “GNU Network Object Model Environment.” Now that title now not represents the venture and has been dropped, however the title has stayed. GNOME 3 is the default desktop atmosphere for Fedora, Red Hat Enterprise, Ubuntu, Debian, SUSE Linux Enterprise, and extra.


Can you think about this programming language being named the rest? Java was initially known as Oak, however alas, the authorized staff at Sun Microsystems vetoed that title as a result of its present trademark. So it was again to the drafting board for the event staff. Legend has it that a large brainstorm was held by the language’s working group in January 1995. Lots of different names have been tossed round together with Silk, DNA, WebDancer, and so forth. The staff didn’t need the brand new title to have something to do with the overused phrases, “web” or “net.” Instead, they have been trying to find one thing extra dynamic, enjoyable, and straightforward to recollect. Java met the necessities and miraculously, the staff agreed!


Many of right now’s information scientists and college students use Jupyter notebooks of their work. The title Jupyter is an amalgamation of three open supply laptop languages which might be used within the notebooks and distinguished in information science: Julia, Python, and R.


Kubernetes is derived from the Greek phrase for helmsman. This etymology was corroborated in a 2015 Hacker News response by a Kubernetes venture founder, Craig McLuckie. Wanting to stay with the nautical theme, he defined that the know-how drives containers, very like a helmsman or pilot drives a container ship. Thus, Kubernetes was the chosen title. Many of us are nonetheless making an attempt to get the pronunciation proper (koo-bur-NET-eez), so K8s is a suitable substitute. Interestingly, it shares its etymology with the English phrase “governor,” so has that in widespread with the mechanical negative-feedback machine on steam engines.


What in regards to the Okay desktop? KDE initially represented the “Kool Desktop Environment.” It was based in 1996 by Matthias Ettrich. According to Wikipedia, the title was a play on the phrases Common Desktop Environment (CDE) on Unix.


Linux was named for its inventor, Linus Torvalds. Linus initially needed to call his creation “Freax” as he thought that naming the creation after himself was too egotistical. According to Wikipedia, “Ari Lemmke, Torvalds’ coworker at the Helsinki University of Technology, who was one of the volunteer administrators for the FTP server at the time, did not think that ‘Freax’ was a good name. So, he named the project ‘Linux’ on the server without consulting Torvalds.”

Following are among the hottest Linux distributions.


CentOS is an acronym for Community Enterprise Operating System. It comprises the upstream packages from Red Hat Enterprise Linux.


Debian Linux, based in September 1993, is a portmanteau of its founder, Ian Murdock, and his then-girlfriend Debra Lynn.


Red Hat Linux obtained its title from its founder Marc Ewing, who wore a pink Cornell University fedora given to him by his grandfather. Red Hat was based on March 26, 1993. Fedora Linux started as a volunteer venture to offer further software program for the Red Hat distribution and obtained its title from Red Hat’s “Shadowman” emblem.


Ubuntu goals to share open supply broadly and is called after the African philosophy of ubuntu, which will be translated as “humanity to others” or “I am what I am because of who we all are.”


The open supply studying platform Moodle is an acronym for “modular object-oriented dynamic learning environment.” Moodle continues to be a number one platform for e-learning. There are practically 104,000 registered Moodle websites worldwide.

Two different widespread open supply content material administration programs are Drupal and Joomla. Drupal’s title comes from the Dutch phrase for “druppel” which suggests “drop.” Joomla is an anglicized spelling of the Swahili phrase “jumla,” which suggests “all together” in Arabic, Urdu, and different languages, in accordance with Wikipedia.


Mozilla is an open supply software program neighborhood based in 1998. According to its web site, “The Mozilla project was created in 1998 with the release of the Netscape browser suite source code. It was intended to harness the creative power of thousands of programmers on the internet and fuel unprecedented levels of innovation in the browser market.” The title was a portmanteau of Mosaic and Godzilla.


“Many tech people try to be cool and say it ‘n’ ‘g’ ‘n’ ‘x’. Few actually did the basic actions of researching a bit more to find out very quickly that the name is actually supposed to be said as ‘EngineX,’ in reference to the powerful web server, like an engine.” —Jean Sebastien Tougne


Perl’s founder Larry Wall initially named his venture “Pearl.” According to Wikipedia, Wall needed to present the language a brief title with constructive connotations. Wall found the present PEARL programming language earlier than Perl’s official launch and adjusted the spelling of the title.

Piet and Mondrian

“There are two programming language named after the artist Piet Mondrian. One is named ‘Piet’ and the opposite ‘Mondrian.’ [David Morgan-Mar writes]: ‘Piet is a programming language by which applications seem like summary work. The language is called after Piet Mondrian, who pioneered the sector of geometric summary artwork. I might have preferred to name the language Mondrian, however somebody beat me to it with a quite mundane-looking scripting language. Oh effectively, we won’t all be esoteric language writers, I suppose.'” —Yuval Lifshitz


The Python programming language obtained its distinctive title from its creator, Guido Van Rossum, who was a fan of the comedy group Monty Python.

Raspberry Pi

Known for its tiny-but-mighty capabilities and wallet-friendly price ticket, the Raspberry Pi is a favourite within the open supply neighborhood. But the place did its endearing (and yummy) title come from? In the ’70s and ’80s, it was a well-liked development to call computer systems after fruit. Apple, Tangerine, Apricot… anybody getting hungry? According to a 2012 interview with founder Eben Upton, the title “Raspberry Pi” is a nod to that development. Raspberries are additionally tiny in dimension, but mighty in taste. The “Pi” within the title alludes to the truth that, initially, the pc might solely run Python.


Server Message Block for sharing Windows recordsdata on Linux.


ScummVM (Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion Virtual Machine) is a program that makes it doable to run some traditional laptop journey video games on a contemporary laptop. Originally, it was designed to play LucasArts journey video games that have been constructed utilizing SCUMM, which was initially used to develop Maniac Mansion earlier than getting used to develop most of LucasArts’s different journey video games. Currently, ScummVM helps a lot of recreation engines, together with Sierra Online’s AGI and SCI, however nonetheless retains the title ScummVM. A associated venture, ResidualVM, obtained its title as a result of it covers the “residual” LucasArts journey video games not coated by ScummVM. The LucasArts video games coated by ResidualVM have been developed utilizing GrimE (Grim Engine), which was first used to develop Grim Fandango, so the ResidualVM title is a double pun.


“You may know [SQL] stands for Structured Query Language, but do you know why it’s often pronounced ‘sequel’? It was created as a follow-up (i.e. sequel) to the original ‘QUEL’ (QUEry Language).” —Ken Gaillot


XFCE is a well-liked desktop based by Olivier Fourdan. It started as a substitute for CDE in 1996 and its title was initially an acronym for XForms Common Environment.


Zsh is an interactive login shell. In 1990, the primary model of the shell was written by Princeton scholar Paul Falstad. He named it after seeing the login ID of Zhong Sha (zsh), then a instructing assistant at Princeton, and thought that it gave the impression of a good name for a shell.

There are many extra tasks and names that we now have not included on this listing. Be positive to share your favorites within the feedback.

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