Developers are creative. Not as they create wonderfull GUIs or proof their sense for art with good color combinations, but with code names.
Every project has a code name, sometimes official, sometimes private (with a good reason!). Here are my favourites:

  • Android:
  • grml (Live distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux, comes from Austria therefore in German)
    • Hustenstopper (cough stopper)
    • Eierspass (egg fun)
    • Meilenschwein (mile pig, it's a pun with milestone)
    • Lackdose-Allergie (lacquer can allergy, it's a pun with lactose allergy)
    • Hello-Wien (pun with Halloween, Wien being German for Vienna)

I really like to see the funniest code names you ever heard of. Aren't there any more funny project names?

+13  A: 

Not a direct answer, but nevertheless my fave story about project code names - Apple and Carl Sagan:

In 1994, engineers at Apple Computer code-named the mid-level Power Macintosh 7100 "Carl Sagan" after the popular astronomer in the hope that Apple would make "billions and billions" with the sale of the PowerMac 7100. The name was only used internally, but Sagan was concerned that it would become a product endorsement and sent Apple a cease and desist letter. Apple complied, but engineers retaliated by changing the internal codename to "BHA" for "Butt-Head Astronomer". Sagan then sued Apple for libel, a form of defamation, in federal court. The court granted Apple's motion to dismiss Sagan's claims and opined in dicta that a reader aware of the context would understand Apple was "clearly attempting to retaliate in a humorous and satirical way", and that "It strains reason to conclude that Defendant was attempting to criticize Plaintiff's reputation or competency as an astronomer. One does not seriously attack the expertise of a scientist using the undefined phrase 'butt-head'." Sagan then sued for Apple's original use of his name and likeness, but again lost. Sagan appealed the ruling. In November 1995, an out of court settlement was reached and Apple's office of trademarks and patents released a conciliatory statement that "Apple has always had great respect for Dr. Sagan. It was never Apple's intention to cause Dr. Sagan or his family any embarrassment or concern."

martin clayton
+1  A: 

10 years ago we named one of our versions FoxFire. By the time we released it, we had to rename it because of copyright issues. So we renamed it to Copper (Which is surprisingly close to Chrome).

Did you have to rename because of Firefox, or because of another company/product called FoxFire?
Firefox of course.
@Faruz: I'm just curious, but why would you have to rename it? Did Mozilla request it or did you do it just do it because of the possible confusion of users?
We did it just to be safe...
+8  A: 

The code name for the Microsoft Layer for Unicode was Godot because it was deemed long overdue.

+26  A: 

Eclipse, written in Java, a language created by Sun.

And they still insist that this was just a coincidence :)
Aaron Digulla
But that doesn't count as a code name ;)
And now the Oracle has power over the Sun.
"But the Sun is eclipsed by the moon". PF were clearly all for Novell.
Matteo Italia
I think someone claimed it was meant that it would surpass(eclipse) VS.
Roman A. Taycher
+9  A: 

QDOS was the name of the ancestor of MS-DOS. QDOS simply means Quick and Dirty Operating System...

+2  A: 

Poppler. Isn't it?

+15  A: 

I heard that MS Excel's code name was 'yoga' - because they wanted to adopt the Lotus position - meh...

Gordon Mackie JoanMiro
Once I tried to acquire the Window-Class-name of Word (I think 2000) and was presented with "Opus".
+2  A: 

one of the releases of yard was named 'milkshakes', in reference to the (somewhat incomprehensible) kelis lyric "my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard"

Martin DeMello
I hope their selling customers don't get it ...
+3  A: 

We code-named the projects within our business area after lakes, we were an international group so it was one way for the project leaders to honour their home countries, we had Michigan, Ohio, Lucerne, Windermere and so on.

My favourite was Ness. After a while the project, as many do, started to go late but it had way more bugs than were expected. So we obviously blamed the mythical monster lurking in its depths ...

+6  A: 
  • Antlr, (a parser generator) referring to:
  • Bison, refering to:
  • Yacc (Yet another compiler compiler)
Wasn't that "antlr", containing even the purpose? (LR parser)
You're right. Fixed that, writing it as antler made the pun more visible i guess.
You left out an important one: Terrence Parr, the author of ANTLR is a vocal opponent of LR-parsers, which is why it is no coincidence that ANTLR (which is an LL-parser generator) can be read as "Anti-LR".
Jörg W Mittag
Bison don't have antlers, though. They have horns.
Michael Myers
+10  A: 

Delphi, by Borland. It was designed to be really easy to use for database apps and the biggest database at the time was Oracle so where do you go to talk to the Oracle? Delphi of course!

The code name stuck and became the actual product name.

Chris Latta
Yes I always wondered that the name Delphi must have been inspired by Oracle. (Guess my wondering has been making a break though since the birth of Wikipedia)
herzmeister der welten
+2  A: 

Heard that Amazon was originally named "Cadabra" but it sounded too much like "Cadaver" - a human corpse.

+2  A: 

GNU: Gnu's Not Unix.

Gergely Orosz

python language to non technical people like "I know python" ;)

+6  A: 

My previous employer named software releases after Muppets, and hardware platforms after Boston MBTA stations. Production hardware followed the Red Line (Alewife, Davis, Porter...) and test hardware the Green Line (Lechmere, SciencePark, NorthStation...). I was never sure what they'd do when they got to Park Street.

On a more serious note, this is what convinced me that names for things that go in a sequence should also be sequential.

+1  A: 

Not sure if this qualifies, but I once came across a Java application which was tied together in a class named WillItBlend. The answer was "sort of".


PIMS No 1..6 -- The Property Information Management System (Release 1..6) that a small group of devs wrote in Scotland a long time back. We talked about sponsorship, but somehow it just never happened - must have been drinking too much of said product ;)

+3  A: 

Some fun Borland codenames:

Buddha, code name for Quatro Pro 4.0. Why? Because it would "assume the Lotus position"! (Quatro Pro was a spreadsheet product and major competitor to Lotus 123)

Hagar and Helga, codenames for Turbo Pascal 7.0 (for MSDOS) and Borland Pascal 7.0 (MSDos + Windows). Helga was the bigger of the two.

Ebony and Ivory, codenames for sister releases of Delphi and Borland C++ Builder.

+10  A: 

My favourite, favourite example is from the Jargon File. Many will have heard of EMACS, which was one of the first text editors ever created. Around the same time, another editor was built called EINE (EINE Is Not EMACS).

The successor to EINE was named ZWEI, which stood for ZWEI Was EINE Initially.

The contortions needed for that second acronym still crack me up to this day.

Reminds me of GNU :)
For those who may not know, "eine" and "zwei" also mean "one" and "two" respectively in German.
Graeme Perrow
"one" in german is "eins"
+3  A: 

At a previous unnamed employer whose initials were B.A. there was a product called "Direct" so the application identifier was of course BAD. All the documents were coded with BAD, all the file names began with BAD.** all the queues began with BAD.**, etc. This was a bit confusing because you never knew if someone was being judgmental or objective when referring to "bad backups", "bad users", "bad code", and so forth.

+7  A: 

My favourite is the Microsoft 'Critical Update Notification Tool', which isn't funny in itself until you realize what the acronym is.

'Tool' was quickly changed to 'utility', as can be attested by Google'ing for it


I used Eastern Eagle for one thing that never got released, just because it sounded cool. I also had Project_Candle, not really funny except for the fact that I LITERALLY just flipped through a dictionary to find a word to use.

+6  A: 

Do companies count?

  • Atari (1972) came first
  • Activision (1979) was founded by programmers who left Atari and wanted a name that started earlier in the alphabet
  • Accolade (1984) was founded by programmers who left Activision and wanted a name that started even earlier in the alphabet
  • Absolute (1986) was also founded by Activition alumni, and started even earlier in the alphabet
  • Acclaim (1987) was also founded by Activision alumni, who also chose a name that was alphabetized before Accolade

I'm still waiting for David Crane and Garry Kitchen to found a company called Aardvark.

+3  A: 
  • The Python Library Monocle uses @_o as a decorator.

  • Coq is is an programming language/theorem prover,

    (from the wiki:

    The word coq means "cock" (rooster) in French, and stems from a tradition of naming French research development tools with animal names.)

I think there are at least some humorously named tools(although I can't find any at the moment as well as the jokes you can make about the language name).

Roman A. Taycher

Riffing on TuxGeek's post for python language, which is the BDFL's homage to his (and probably your) favorite commedy troupe, the Monty Python's. But the fun doesn't stop there, for there are many Python references within the python community. There's the Cheese Shop, (sketch) which now has a much more boring name. The refactoring tool bicyclerepairman / (sketch). A favored development environment for python is known as Eric IDLE.

There may are surely others I have missed.


I worked on a project code-named "GUTS" (the backronym was "Generic Universal Type System") for which the first release was further code-named "duodenum". We were going to get T-shirts made with a line-drawing of the intestines and the motto "GUTS: Shit doesn't just happen!", but management nixed it.

  1. I have a project named FiSt for an xml-based finite state machine.

  2. I have a personal project for an xml-based dependency language, which would incorporate FiSt. I am calling the project lesbian - which is an acronym meaningful for the language whose syntax I am gradually designing. I am still figuring out how I should do the java bytecode generator, an area in which I am a novice. I had originally called it esbl, but then, one night as I went to sleep, I thought "esbl/fist?". Hmmm ... I should rearrange the letters and came out with lesbia/fist. Which got the tinkle bells in my head ringing, so I stole a letter "n" from "analysis" so that it would become lesbian instead of lesbia. I am working on it so ever slowly, especially that I am struggling with writing a byte-code generator.

  3. Isn't it possible that "Go ogle" could have been the originally thought name or even used as a project code? Like, they wanted to provide a portal where people could go and ogle the internet. But when people asked "what does "google" stand for?", they must have gotten cold feet because trying to explain "goOgle" would have been a marketing disaster. So they might have simply made up the excuse that they mis-spelt googol.

Blessed Geek
I realise that if my project ever gets released, it would be a nightmare getting thro firewall and decency filters. I still recall that ancient years ago, for a couple of weeks we could not access Sybase helpdesk site which was called sybasexpress, which the filters must have gotten it as syba sex press.
Blessed Geek

Noone has mentioned Ubuntu code names?

  • 4.10: Warty Warthog
  • 5.04: Hoary Hedgehog
  • 5.10: Breezy Badger
  • 6.06: Dapper Drake
  • 6.10: Edgy Eft
  • 7.04: Feisty Fawn
  • 7.10: Gutsy Gibbon
  • 8.04: Hardy Heron
  • 8.10: Intrepid Ibex
  • 9.04: Jaunty Jackalope
  • 9.10: Karmic Koala
  • 10.04: Lucid Lynx
  • 10.10: Maverick Merkaat
  • 11.04: Natty Narwhal
Lie Ryan

mongoDB: "Mongo" is a colloquial way to address mongoloid people in German. In other words, "mongoDB" means "Mongoloid Database".


when working for a governmental organization we had a project named


soon after the project had begun our company started another project for the government called


sissy and franzl are both characters from a (in germany) popular romantic film see .

so ... when we built or development domain we needed a name and have chosen an abbreviation of these two names ... in germany these names are "sissy und franzl" (sissy and franzl) so it became:

suf (its german for i think "boozing")

it sounded really funny when we told others our domainname :D


When I worked at Adobe on PostScript printers, I had a project that the customer codenamed "COPS" (Cost Optimized PostScript), whereas internally at Adobe, it was called Freddy (Kreuger) for being a price slasher.


The debugger that came with Watcom C/C++ was called WVIDEO, the worst backronym ever: Watcom Visual Interactive Debugging Execution Overseer.

Graeme Perrow

Slightly different but quite amusing - I once worked for a client who named all there servers after Star Wars characters