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I've got a few, quite silly, non-technical questions about giving codenames to Debian releases.

Each Debian release has its unique codename, which is (so far) a characters' name from Toy Story movies by Pixar.

Here is list of all assigned codenames so far:

  • release 1.1 is buzz (Buzz Lightyear) - the spaceman,
  • release 1.2 is rex - the tyrannosaurus,
  • release 1.3.x is bo (Bo Peep) - the girl who took care of the sheep,
  • release 2.0 is hamm - the piggy bank,
  • release 2.1 is slink (Slinky Dog) - the toy dog,
  • release 2.2 is potato - Mr. Potato,
  • release 3.0 is woody - the cowboy,
  • release 3.1 is sarge - the sergeant of the Green Plastic Army Men,
  • release 4.0 is etch - the toy blackboard (Etch-a-Sketch),
  • release 5.0 is lenny - the toy binoculars,
  • release 6.0 is squeeze - the name for the three-eyed aliens,
  • release 7.0 is wheezy - the name of the rubber toy penguin with a red bow tie,
  • release 8.0 is jessie - the name of the yodelling cowgirl,
  • release 9.0 is stretch - a purple rubbery octopus toy at Sunnyside Daycare (currently stable).

List of upcoming major Debian releases' codenames after jessie:

There are also:

  • special codename sid (Still In Development) which is symbolic link to codename which is currently unstable,
  • stable which is symbolic link to codename which is currently stable,
  • testing which is symbolic link to codename which is currently testing.

The list of Toy Story characters is quite robust but at some time, there will be no more characters' names to assign.

My questions are:

  • What codenames will be assigned if we run out of characters' names?
  • Who decides what is codename of next release (please don't answer ambiguously like: 'community')?
  • How many releases' names are planned ahead?

BTW: Interesting quote from debian.org/doc/manuals:

The decision of using Toy Story names was made by Bruce Perens who was, at the time, the Debian Project Leader and was working also at Pixar, the company that produced the movies.

Debian releases development Infographics by Claudio Ferreira Filho (@filhocf) (license: CC BY-SA 4.0).

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    If it were me, I'd just continue picking characters from other Pixar movies. Humanity will probably go extinct before we run out. Let the aliens worry about carrying on the naming convention after that. :D – Joseph R. Aug 11 '15 at 3:43
  • Running out of Pixar characters. Yea, that won't happen anytime soon. That may be one of the reasons the team went for this naming schedule in the first place. – Mast Aug 11 '15 at 11:57
  • Debian, in not “Linux Debian”, is is sometime referred to at Debian Gnu/Linux” (at least when it uses Linux). – ctrl-alt-delor May 21 '17 at 14:02
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    One other fun fact not already mentioned anywhere else here in the question or answers: 'experimental' is a companion repo to 'unstable' for packages not quite ready for 'sid'. Like 'sid' ('unstable') it also has toy story character name; 'rc-buggy' (named after Andy's remote control toy car). – Jeremy Davis Feb 13 at 0:40
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I'll answer your questions out of order: the release team chooses code names (see their task description), two releases ahead; the next three releases are Buster (Debian 10, scheduled for the second quarter of 2019), Bullseye (Debian 11), and Bookworm (Debian 12); and I don't think we're worried about running out of names yet...

As pointed out by eyoung100, Stretch is the octopus in Toy Story 3, and Buster is Andy's dog. As you mention in your updated question, Bullseye is Woody's horse. Bookworm is the intelligent, flashlight-wielding worm toy from Toy Story 3.

Also, Sid is the name of the next-door kid who breaks all his toys. "Still in development" is a backronym.

21

You already have a good answer for most of it. But for interest I thought I would play into the math of running out of names:

It has been 19 years since the first codenamed release (Buzz 1996). So far 13 character names are used.

Toy Story has 40ish potential names, assuming no more movies.

If we assume that names continue being used at the same rate -- I suspect they will be used slower, as releases are not happened as often as they once did (image from wikimedia):

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/timeline/1aea1ee0d1b542b4b731bc28de752e84.png

But ignoring that, and assuming linear:

13/19=0.68 names used per year. Thus to use 40 names it will take, 40/0.68 = 59 years. Which will bring us to 1996+59=2055.

If we assume that Moore's law continues, (which to be fair, seems unlikely) then the number of transistors per CPU by the time Debian runs out of names will be 2^(59/2) = 759,250,125 times that it was when Debian began using this naming scheme. Or 1,048,576 times that of today. This will be a very different world in computing. Today a high end CPU has 4 billion transistors (like a Xeon), and a super computer might have 10,000 of them (like Tianhe-2), so the supercomputer has 40,000,000,000,000 transistors. An iPhone 6 CPU has 2,000,000,000 transistors. The smartphones of 2055, when Debian runs out of names will have 25x as many transistors as today's best supercomputers. It is hard to say if Debian will still be a functional OS for such computers.

It does however seem highly unlikely that Moore's law will continue up to that point. In which case, computing will likely go somewhere far weirder. Quantum, optical, or other technologies which haven't been conceived of.

In short, Debian does not have to worry about running out of names. The computing world is likely to be so different by the time it does, that such worries make no sense.

7

Counting from Toy Story to Toy Story 4 (planned to be release 2017), there are less than 8 years between movies, on average. Using @Oxinabox's estimate of less than a release per year, that would require less than 8 new characters per movie (in fact, 22 years/3 movies*0.68 debian releases/year=about 5 new characters per movie), to keep going forever.

I imagine, in practice, if they were to run out (or before), they'd select a new movie franchise.

  • if that would happen, i.e. they run out of the names from Toy story that would add mystique to the Debian ecosystem. I do hope to be around till they run out of names, i.e. 55 years from now and also assuming that Toy Story doesn't make any more movies :) – shirish Feb 14 at 9:44

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