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Android phones are well known for their operating system versions being named after sweet treats, the latest being Version 9.0 – Android Pie. Other systems have similar naming conventions; some more captivating than others.


Starting with the most well-known, Google’s Android operating system has had versions named after sweet treats since its release. The names have been in alphabetical order, starting with version 1.5 Cupcake in 2009. The reason for starting at the letter C? Alpha and Beta testing versions were used for development before the wide public release. However, these have been affectionately been assign the corresponding code names of Apple Pie and Banana Bread. The versions up until the current Android 9.0 Pie are as follows:


Apple Pie [Alpha] (1.0)

Banana Bread [Beta] (1.1)

Cupcake (1.5)

Donut (1.6)

Éclair (2.0)

Froyo (2.2)

Gingerbread (2.3)

Honeycomb (3.0)

Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0)

Jellybean (4.1)

KitKat (4.4)

Lollipop (5.0)

Marshmallow (6.0)

Nougat (7.0)

Oreo (8.0)

Pie (9.0)


Android currently controls over 75% of the market share for mobile worldwide. The graph below from shows just how far ahead of the competition Android is.

StatCounter Global Statistics for Mobile Operating Systems 2018


Apple has followed a similar convention but changed its strategy in 2013. Beginning with OS X 10.0 Cheetah, big cats were the inspiration for naming for the Mac OS versions. However, with the limited number of feline names available, Apple moved to landmarks in their home state of California; Yosemite; El Capitan; Sierra etc. These are the public codenames, but internally there have been equivalents for development. At first, wines were used though the most recent versions have been named after mountains. The only exception being OS X 10.11, codenamed after the gala variety of apple. This is the full list of names covering big cats and Californian landmarks, as well as the corresponding internal codenames:


Cheetah (10.0)

Puma (10.1)

Jaguar (10.2)

Panther (10.3) [Pinot]

Tiger (10.4) [Merlot]

Tiger (10.4.4) [Chardonnay]

Leopard (10.5) [Chablis]

Snow Leopard (10.6)

Lion (10.7) [Barolo]

Mountain Lion (10.8) [Zinfandel]

Mavericks (10.9) [Cabernet]

Yosemite (10.10) [Syrah]

El Capitan (10.11) [Gala]

Sierra (10.12) [Fuji]

High Sierra (10.13) [Lobo]

Mojave (10.14) [Liberty]


Moving away from the most well-known systems, arguably more interesting codenames are assigned. Linux based Ubuntu has versions with codenames alliteratively made up of an adjective and an animal. These have been in cyclic alphabetical order since version 6.06 LTS.


Warty Warthog (4.10)

Hoary Hedgehog (5.04)

Breezy Badger (5.10)

Dapper Drake (6.06 LTS)

Edgy Eft (6.10)

Feisty Fawn (7.04)

Gutsy Gibbon (7.10)

Hardy Heron (8.04 LTS)

Intrepid Ibex (8.10)

Jaunty Jackalope (9.04)

Karmic Koala (9.10)

Lucid Lynx (10.04)

Maverick Meerkat (10.10)

Natty Narwhal (11.04)

Oneiric Ocelot (11.10)

Precise Pangolin (12.04 LTS)

Quantal Quetzal (12.10)

Raring Ringtail (13.04)

Saucy Salamander (13.10)

Trusty Tahr (14.04 LTS)

Utopic Unicorn (14.10)

Vivid Vervet (15.04)

Wily Werewolf (15.10)

Xenial Xerus (16.04 LTS)

Yakkety Yak (16.10)

Zesty Zapus (17.04)

Artful Aardvark (17.10)

Bionic Beaver (18.04 LTS)

Cosmic Cuttlefish (18.10)


German open-source operating system openSUSE is Linux-based and is mostly sponsored by SUSE Linux GmbH for distribution. Although they have codenames for their release versions in the same way seen in other systems, those for open SUSE seem to have no common link. The only similarity is that a number of the codenames are shades of green. If you can see a correlation in the following names, tweet us @SeaBroIT.


Prague (10.0)

Agama Lizard (10.1)

Basilisk Lizard (10.2)

Emerald (11.2)

Teal (11.3)

Celadon (11.4)

Asparagus (12.1)

Mantis (12.2)

Dartmouth (12.3)

Bottle (13.1)

Harlequin (13.2)

Malachite (42.1)

Tumbleweed (Rolling)


Perhaps the most thought-provoking of all operating system version codenames is that for Linux distribution Fedora. The codenames have a simple rule – they must relate to the previous name, but not have the same relation as a previous version. Therefore, that is how the following names are linked.


Yarrow (1) – Before using hops, the yarrow plant was used to flavour beer.

Tettnang (2) – Tettnang is a Germany city famous for its production of hops.

Heidelberg (3) – Heidelberg is also a city in Germany, as well as a distribution brand of beer.

Stentz (4) – Another distributor of alcohol is French winery Andre Stentz.

Bordeaux (5) – As well as being a wine producing region in France, Sasha Bordeaux was a DC comic book character.

Zod (6) – General Zod is also a DC character, with Zod being the name of an independent record label.

Moonshine (7) – Not only is Moonshine the name of an independent record label, it is also the name of a 1918 movie.

Werewolf (8) – Werewolf was the name of a film from 1995. Werewolves have a negative reaction with contact with silver – death.

Sulphur (9) – In contact with silver, sulphur causes a negative reaction (tarnishing). Sulphur is a city in the USA.

Cambridge (10) – Cambridge is a city in the United States, and also a ship in the US Navy.

Leonidas (11) – A ship in the United States Navy was named Leonidas, the name of a Spartan King.

Constantine (12) – Constantine was a leader of the Roman Army, with Rocket Scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky sharing the name.

Goddard (13) – Robert Goddard is considered one of the founding fathers of modern rocketry and astronomic, alongside Tsiolkovsky. He was a professor of physics.

Laughlin (14) – Robert B. Laughlin was a professor of physics at Stanford University, and Laughlin is a city in the American state of Nevada.

Lovelock (15) – Lovelock is also a city in Nevada, approximately 655 Km from Laughlin. James Lovelock was a futurologist.

Verne (16) – Jules Verne was also a futurologist.

Beefy Miracle (17) – Beefy miracle was originally suggested for Fedora 16, being the mascot used on a Red Hat Linux installer page. It is something that has never been observed in the real world.

Spherical Cow (18) – Spherical cow is a thought experiment subject, and therefore has never been observed in the real world.

Schrödinger’s Cat (19) – Schrödinger’s Cat is also a thought experiment, relating to an entity existing in two possible states at once until studied.

Heisenbug (20) – A term for a software bug which appears to alter its behaviour when studied.


Linux-based Debian is a system which has a more quirky naming system. Bruce Perens was working at the Pixar Films studio when helping Debian founder Ian Murdock at the system’s origin. Perens was working on the design for the Toy Story films and so the characters’ names were used to identify the different versions.


Buzz (1.1)

Rex (1.2)

Bo (1.3)

Hamm (2.0)

Slink (2.1)

Potato (2.2)

Woody (3.0)

Sarge (3.1)

Etch (4.0)

Lenny (5.0)

Squeeze (6.0)

Wheezy (7.0)

Jessie (8.0)

Stretch (9.0)

Buster (10.0) [In Development]

Sid [Unstable Testing]


And finally, how can we miss maybe the most well-known version name list of all? Microsoft’s Windows operating system is, in theory, a simple numerical system, though there is some confusion caused by the naming.


Windows 1

Windows 3.1

Windows 95

Windows XP

Windows Vista

Windows 7

Windows 8

Windows 8.1

Windows 10



Operating systems have long been given code names to make the current version more memorable and relatable for consumers and developers alike. These conventions are set to continue into the future, especially with more technological products entering the market.


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Written by
Fraser S
in News. Staff Articles.

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