The Linux I installed is called Ubuntu and it uses a thing called Grub.
Where the f*ck do they get these names? Are the people who write Linux high on acid or something? They have the most obscure names for everything. You don’t ’search’ or ‘find’ – you ‘grep’. And the desktop is called ‘Gnome’ or ‘KDE’.
Before you even download Linux, you’re faced with an assortment of Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Edubuntu, Gobuntu, nUbuntu, and that’s just a few of the Ubuntu variants. There are countless other releases from Gentoo/Pentu to Debian/Xebian, and I won’t even mention Yellow Dog, Puppy Linux, or my favourite: Tinfoil Hat Linux (for the extra-paranoid).
Most of us have got so used to this over the years that we don’t even notice the unusual choice of names given to most open source software. Making phone calls through Asterisk, receiving mail thanks to Dovecot, chatting on Pidgin, and daily exposure to the likes of Bash and Apache for so long makes you forget what it was like as a first-timer having to
One of the great thing about open source software is, if you don’t expect to be lining up in front of a bunch of corporate fatcats selling it, you can name it whatever you like. The guys responsible tend to have a particularly nerdy sense of humour, which is why Guido van Rossum opted to name his programming language “Python”, in honour of Monty Python, and why we see web frameworks springing up named after anything from Gypsy jazz guitarists to… cake.
Here are a few of the more common programs with questionable names:
- Gimp: Image manipulation program, similar to Photoshop
- Snort: Intrusion detection system (lets you detect hackers and unusual activity on your network)
- Oinkmaster: Used for updating snort rules
- Barnyard: Event processing for snort
- Clam: antivirus software
- Squid: proxy server and web cache
- Putty: a telnet/ssh client
- Seahorse: a front end for GnuPG encryption/decryption program
- Nautilus: file manager, similar to Finder or Windows Explorer
In honour of Head Rambles, I’ll have to mention Gramps, the open source genealogy platform. By the way, can anyone explain the recurrence of the maritime theme? Actually never noticed it before…