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.

Update 2003/07/21: Been away from Red Hat for a bit doing other things.. I am updating things as best I can.

Update 2006/06/19: Adding in data on Fedora Release names and dates. The info on what is occuring behind the releases will not be possible. Dates are being updated to co-incide with exacting data researched by Owl River Version Names.

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. From 1998 til the time Erik Troan left Red Hat development (2000?), Erik 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.
After Erik left development, the trend was continued by various lead developers.
What are the names for each Red Hat Linux release and what are their relation to each other?
Version Code Name Date of Release End of Support 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 1994/10/31 ????? 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 1996/10/03 ?????
  • 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 1997/02/03 ????? Vanderbilt is a name of a family that funded universities.
4.2 Biltmore 1997/04/24 ?????
  • 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 1997/11/10 ?????
  • 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 1998/05/07 ????? Manhatten is both a mixed drink, and by some historians the project that helped begin the Cold War.
5.2 Apollo 1998/10/12 ????? 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 1999/04/19 ?????
  • 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 1999/09/26 ????? 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 2000/03/08 ????? 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 2001/02/01 ?????
  • 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 2001/02/21 ?????
  • The Wolverine is another weasel, and is known for his strength and fearlessness.
7.1 Seawolf 2001/04/04 ?????
  • 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 2001/07/27 ?????
  • 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 way-to-pretty teenagers who have to cope with being aliens. [The show moved to another channel later.. but I dont watch TV anymore so I dont know what.]
7.2 Enigma 2001/10/22 ?????
  • 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 2002/03/20 ?????
  • 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 2002/05/06 ?????
  • The 7.3 release came out in early May with little fanfair. It actually contained a very stable release with a solid version of alternatives and very few bug fixes needed in the next 6 months.
  • 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.
    Possible links between Valhalla and Skipjack are that
    • they are islands.
    • they are a class of sailing ships
    • they arent linked at all.
7.3.9[23] Limbo 2002/07/03 ?????
  • The limbo release saw Red Hat returning to using GCC-3.1 and a glibc version numbered near 2.3. This led to lots of speculation that the next release would be 8.0. Other software that was added or updated was OpenOffice-1.0, GNOME-2, KDE-3.0.2, and various other tidbits.
    Other big changes in this release was the beginning of what could be called the Red Hat Desktop. In an effort to unify the look and feel of KDE and GNOME by using the same icons for applications and giving the new user a limited number of applications on the base menu so as to not 'confuse' things with 30 ways to do email (all of them different.)
    In an experiment that didnt extend to later betas, the first cd set was based off of 700 mb ISO images versus 650. This was to try and keep as many packages as possible from the existing base. Sadly, too many cdroms had problems writing, booting, or reading the 700mb and packages had to be dropped.
  • Limbo has several definitions:
    • A dance where people try to scurry under a lowered bar without falling onto the ground. Much fun even if not drunk.
    • The place between heaven and hell where unbaptized but innocent or righteous await the end of the universe in Roman Catholic theology.
    This second definition would then be the link to Valhalla.
7.3.94 Null 2002/08/19 ?????
  • Null was the last beta released for the 7.3.x cycle. Major changes were the removal of packages from the usual distribution, upgrading the compiler suite to GCC-3.2 and further refinements of the Red Hat desktop. The controversy of this finally seemed to make the press finally as KDE people said that Red Hat was killing them, and GNOME people began to wonder if they had a Microsoft in their midst. In other words, the usual hullabaloo about nothing.
  • Null is a state of oblivion. Limbo is a place of oblivion. That basically says it all.
8.0 Psyche 2002/09/30 ?????
  • Historically this release ended up being a red headed bastard stepchild release. While lots of updates occured from the 7 tree.. the new emphasis on enterprise releases saw less emphasis on the release than in the past. With Red Hat Linux 9 coming out in early 2003 with more major changes.. this release faded into obscurity.
  • Updates to GCC, rpm, GNOME, KDE, and the addition of a commonized desktip of KDE and GNOME made this release a major change from the 7.x tree. Many changes to the Desktop were pretty controversial to KDE users as it 'stripped' the differences between the two desktops and made them look the same. Adoption of 8.0 in a lot of shops was delayed for the usual .0 release reasons of waiting for a 'stable' 8.1 to come out.
  • In Greek mythology, Psyche was one of the most beautiful women of the world, and gathered the wrath of Aphrodite because humanity began to adore Psyche more than her. Aphrodite sent her son, Eros to punish Psyche, but to make a long story short, fell in love with her and didnt end her life. Aphrodite turned her son into a large serpent and Psyche was sent by Oracles to become his husband. After much storymaking, Psyche made peace with Aphrodite and the two lovers were united once more.
  • Psyche is a Greek name for butterfly. It is also used in various mystics views as the soul and center of being.
8.0.93 Phoebe Winter 2002 ?????
  • The Phoebe release started to show that Red Hat was going to majorly change things. With the addition of threaded libraries and gcc/kernel changes people found that apps compiled on Phoebe didnt run on 8.0. There was further cleanup of the desktop making it quite usable for people not familiar with X-Windows.
  • Phoebe was one of the original titans which would be a Greek Mythology link to Psyche. Phoebe was the original moon goddess who ceded her role to her grand-daughter Artemis. It is also a moon of Saturn. There is no known link between this release and Phoebe Cates.
9 Shrike 2003/03/31 ?????
  • This release was another major change to the Red Hat release cycle due to major advances to glibc and kernel threading that made packages binary incompatible with Red Hat Linux 8.0.
  • And there was further wailing and nashing of teeth from people as they read the new Errata cycle of 1 year per product. With changes in online access having more people downloading ISOs from Bittorrent and similar paths.. the company focussed less on retail than in the past.
  • The Shrike is a predator bird in England. It is also a character in 'Hyperion' by Dan Simmons. There may be references to Keats poetry which would also lead back to Psyche.
9.0.93 Severn 2003/07/21 ?????
  • This Beta release saw the further evolution of Red Hat Linux from Retail to Community edition. The launch of RHL.REDHAT.COM saw a more external push on the development of the Red Hat products and a further seperation of the Enterprise and Community Editions
  • The valley in England where many Shrikes live. Also another character in the 'Hyperion' series.
What are the names for each Red Hat Enterprise Linux release and what are their relation to each other?
Version Code Name Date of Release End of Support Tie-In
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What are the names for each Fedora Core Linux release and what are their relation to each other?
Version Code Name Date of Release End of Support Tie-In
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Stephen John Smoogen