With the release of Ubuntu 9.04 about 2 months out, Mark Shuttleworth will be announcing the codename of Ubuntu 9.10 fairly soon. This gets the community excited, as historically, Ubuntu releases have had entertaining codenames with interesting patterns. For example, the first three releases were after badgers: Ubuntu 4.10 “Warty Warthog”, Ubuntu 5.04 “Hoary Hedgehog” and Ubuntu 5.10 “Breezy Badger”. Ubuntu 6.06 was named after a duck, “Dapper Drake”, and it’s been alphabetical since. Currently, we’re on the letter “I”, with the letter “J” to be released for 9.04, which means “K” is the likely candidate for Ubuntu 9.10.
Now, here’s what I would like to see from the community: quit calling the releases after their codenames. Start calling them after their version number. Here’s why. Most people don’t know what version “Feisty Fawn” was without thinking about it, or pulling up Google. For those who have been running Ubuntu, they’ll remember their experience with the codename if it was significant, but the average Ubuntu user doesn’t recall codenames. But, they do recall time, with how long they have been using Ubuntu. So, when I say “I’ve been using Ubuntu since 4.10″, or “Remember Ubuntu 7.04?”, then people will know more specifically what version I am referring to. However, when I say “I’ve been using Ubuntu since Warty”, or “Remember Feisty?”, people will most likely not know what version I’m referring to. Consider the following scenario:
I started with Linux when Red Hat Enigma released. I then moved to Fedora Yarrow, and left around Zod. Now I’m running Debian Etch as a server with Ubuntu Intrepid on my laptop and Hardy on my Desktop.
You get the idea. After all, you don’t refer to OpenOffice.org by it’s codename, or Firefox for that matter. So why refer to Ubuntu by just the codename?
So, when the announcement is made, the Internet will be a buzz about the new codename, and we’ll see image mock ups galore. But, would it be too much trouble to start calling the releases after their version number instead of codename? If you’re going to insist on using the codename, would it be too much trouble to append the version number with it? “Ubuntu Intrepid 8.10″. It would be nice to see the version numbers in blog posts, forums posts, mailing lists, IRC, and even in speech used much more. As long as you’re familiar with the how the version number is compiled, people will feel less alienated and more likely to know what you’re talking about.
With that said, I do enjoy the codenames as much as the next guy, and I even enjoy the wallpaper themes that have surrounded the codename on the past two releases. Further, by default, the codename is used in the repository sources file on every Ubuntu system by default, so, becoming familiar with them is beneficial.