The Truth Behind Red Hat Names

One of the great Red Hat Secrets is what is behind the names of the Red Hat releases. Here is what I have acertained from years of snooting around.

First off how does Red Hat come up with each name?
The rumour is that the names are always chosen on or close to the going gold day. Since 1998, Erik Troan has gone around on that day and asked for input from various people. The ideas have to be related to the last release. In the end Erik tries to come up with a name so that he wont be able come up with a matching one the next time. The reasoning being that he can stop being the person naming the releases at that time. It has yet to happen.
What are the names and what are their relation to each other?
Version Code Name Date of Release Tie-In
0.8 Preview Summer 1994 This was a release made by Marc Ewing and others to showcase Red Hat and RPP technology.
0.9 Halloween Fall 1994 (Oct 31) This was an almost ready to ship product. It has been a long tradition (maybe joke I never know) to try and get the Red Hat release out on October 31st so as to use another Halloween name or at least do a sequel.
1.0 Mother's Day Summer 1995 I have really never seen this release. I remember reading about it on comps.os.linux at the time.. but nothing more than that.
1.1 Mother's Day Late Summer 1995 I am guessing that this was a bug fix release to clean up issues with the first release.
2.0beta Bluesky? Late Late Summer 1995 This should have been the first release to use RPM technology. RPM was based off work from RPP, PMS, PM, and was written in perl.
2.0 NoName? Early Fall 1995 RPM is officially unveiled to the world. One strength of RPM is the cross architectue usage allowing for ports to Alpha and M68k. This is the reason for upping the first number.
2.1 NoName? Late Fall 1995 This is the first of the cross architecture releases. Red Hat was working on getting both the Intel and Alpha's ready for release. The upgrade from 2.0 to 2.1 was buggy but better than Slackware's at the time. I helped port a browser (Spyglass RedBaron) to the platform.
3.0.3 Picasso March 1996 Notes about this release:
  • Picasso is a painter
  • Rumour has it that it was 3.0.3 because Slackware 3.0 was released at the same time, and people thought Red Hat would be accused of upping numbers in competition.
  • RPM is rewritten in C (reason for major number upgrade). There are also changes in layout.
3.95 Rembrandt August 1996 This is the beginning of the related release names. Rembrandt is a painter and a toothpaste.
4.0 Colgate October 1996
  • Colgate is both a toothpaste and a family name that funded universities.
  • The reason for a major number upgrade is the first release that tries for 3 architectures (Alpha, Sparc, Intel) with ideas that others might be added later depending on sales.
4.1 Vanderbilt January 1997 Vanderbilt is a name of a family that funded universities.
4.2 Biltmore May 1997
  • The Biltmore is a "castle" that the Vanderbilts built in the mountains of North Carolina.
  • It is also a name of wines that are grown at the estates.
  • Finally this is the first release that I fully supported coming to Red Hat in May of 1997.
4.95 Thunderbird Summer 1997
  • Thunderbird is another name of wines. It is not held in high regard by most people.
  • The Thunderbird is also a line of cards from Ford Automobiles.
  • This was also the first "formalized" beta that was given out for feedback of changes that would occur in the main release.
4.96 Mustang Fall 1997 Mustang is both a car from Ford Automobiles and an fighter airplane from World War II.
5.0 Hurricane December 1997
  • This release marks big changes in Linux that Red Hat was showcasing. RPM was rewritten from scratch, better user configuration was a major goal, and Red Hat was one of the first to use glibc 2.0 for the library versus the glibc 1.x (libc5.2) that other releases were using. This was the reasoning for a major number increase.
  • Hurricane is both a World War II fighter and a mixed drink.
5.1 Manhattan June 1998 Manhatten is both a mixed drink, and by some historians the project that helped begin the Cold War.
5.2 Apollo Fall 1998 The Apollo project has been cited as the first sign that the Cold War would have to end as the Soviet Union was unable to reach the moon without a major impact on their economy. [It has also been said that Manhatten and Apollo are both theatres, but the Cold War analogy was what I gave when I offered the name.] Apollo is also the name of a main character in the 1970's ABC television show Battlestar Galactica
5.9 Starbuck ???? Starbuck is both the character from Battlestar Galactica and a musical character from the broadway classic the Rain Maker.
6.0 Hedwig ????
  • Hedwig is the main character from the musical Hedwig and the Angry Itch. It is also the name of a Doctor Seuss character
  • Changes in 6.0 are moving to glibc 2.1, changing from gcc to egcs-1.2, and using a 2.0 kernel. All of which make the release non-forwards compatible.
6.0.95 Lorax ???? Another Dr Seuss character and also a Word macro virus that does bad things to your computer.
6.1 Cartmann Fall 1999 Another MS Word macro virus and a cartoon character.
6.1.95 Piglet Winter 1999 A classical cartoon character and a character from the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
6.2 Zoot Spring 2000 Another Monty Python character and also a classy suit from the earlier part of the 20th century.
6.0.98 Pinstripe Summer 2000 Another suit from the earlier parts of the 20th century, though not as snazzy. Pinstripe is also an ale. {Rumour was that the name Pinstripe is also in the credits for the movie Star Wars: A New Hope.}
7.0 Guinness Late Summer 2000
  • This release was named after the beer from Ireland. {The rumour was that the release was named in honour and memory of Sir Alec Guinness, who starred in "The Man in the White Suit", "The Lavender Hill Mob", "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" among others.
  • This release brings into the fold glibc-2.2, a newer gcc (using a beta called 2.96 in preperation of 3.0), and libraries and headers ready for a 2.4 kernel.
7.0.90 Fisher Feb 01, 2001
  • This BETA is named after Carrie Fisher, actress in 3 Star Wars movies. [So the Star Wars did get worked into it.]
  • This BETA includes a 2.4 kernel, better network security, and better integration between all languages on release date (Japanese and 7bit Euro engineers worked VERY VERY hard together to get this done.)
  • The fisher is a rare north american mammal related to the weasel. Please see the Encyclopedia Britannica for more information.
7.0.91 Wolverine Feb 21, 2001
  • The Wolverine is another weasel, and is known for his strength and fearlessness.
7.1 Seawolf Apr 17, 2001
  • College mascots. There was some ideas that this was via submarines because of wolverine and seawolf classes ship names in World War II (and also submarine toys released in the 1950's)
  • This release has a 2.4 kernel, cleaner names to differentiate RH gcc from regular branch, and also a new line of user tools customized for Red Hat (printer configuration, internet configuration, etc).
7.1.92 Roswell Sept 2001
  • This Beta release marked the beginning of a new naming scheme. Erik Troan had moved onto getting a doctorate in Economics. I had moved onto being a house-daddy.. so I dont have all the clues I used to.
  • Changes in this beta was that that GRUB replaces LILO, XFree86-4.1 replaces more of the older XFree86-3.3.6 systems, and ext3 is brought in as a Journal.
  • Roswell is a pretty town in New Mexico, USA. Actress Demi Moore is from around there. After World War II, a 'weather balloon' was lost in the Roswell area and UFO watchers believe covered up. There is also a show on Fox called Roswell about pretty teenagers who have to cope with being aliens.
7.2 Enigma Oct 2001
  • The Enigma release has a very solid installer and upgrade path. The GNOME desktop uses Nautilus, the KDE is 2.2, and the kernel is 2.4.7 with lots of patches. During the release there were updates to the kernel and glibc which cleaned up some late found security and performance problems.
  • Enigma means a puzzle. It was used as a code word during World War II by the British for the Nazi rotary encryption machines. One of the people who helped break the codes and build the first electronic computers was Alan Turing. See the movie!
7.2.92 Skipjack March 2002
  • The Skipjack Beta seems to have been one that almost wasnt. Looking at how Red Hat's Rawhide was moving up until the Beta, they were using gcc-3.0 for the compiler, python2, gtk2.0 and other nifty-neat tools. This gave the impression that the next release was going to be an 8.0 versus 7.3..
    However when Skipjack was released, it turned out to be more of a gradual update. Gone was the gcc-3.0 and reliance on python2/gtk2.x tools. KDE3.0cvs was in there.. but otherwise it was pretty much a maturing of the 7.x series.
    Getting the inside scoop was a lot harder now that I wasnt an employee.. but it would seem that there were too many problems with the gcc-3.0 c++ compiler. It was very standard compliant, but most of the c++ code out there wasnt. It was increasingly turning into patch other peoples code over and over... The gcc-3.1 code looked to be a fix on this but wasnt going to be released in time. Again this I got from sources who may or may not have been pulling my leg.
  • Skipjack is another encryption algorithm. It was originally going to be used in the government clipper chip (a thankfully failed initiative to have special govt encryption in all devices that could be listened to by them with court order.) Like Enigma, it was shown that the Skipjack algorithm was easily broken with brute force methods.
7.3 Valhalla May 06 2002
  • The 7.3 release came out in early May with little fanfair.
  • Ok here is the dime store version of Norse mythology... it is MUCH deeper than this. Valhalla is the warriors paradise in Norse legends. The Norse believed that those who died in combat would ascend to Asgard and live out time fighting all day and carousing in the halls of Valhalla every night.
    The only known link between Valhalla and Skipjack is that they are islands.
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Stephen John Smoogen
Last modified: Thu May 5 22:00:00 EST 2002