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INQUIRER Top 10 Greatest Ever Technology Names

Windows Server 2008 not included
Fri May 18 2007, 15:59
NOW THAT Windows Server 2008 has been officially named, the codename Longhorn will retreat to being just another future slab of steak, one more leather jacket.

That's a shame because Longhorn is an outstanding name. It's evocative, American, masculine, muscular, traditional, rural. It's a name that communicates with the solar plexus like Sibelius's second or the sudden glimpse of a mountain when mist clears.

Unlike Windows Server 2008, although to be fair to Microsoft, it recognises its essential dullness in a mockumentary video.

Why do companies ditch these powerful codenames? It's a shame because there have been some corkers, so let's recall them as part of our Top 10 Greatest Ever Technology Names.

10. Compaq's Wildfire. Wildfire was the codename for a range of Alpha-based servers. Good name, except for INQUIRER founder Mike Magee, who, in another plaice, was on the receiving end of a cease-and-desist letter from Messrs. Sue, Grabbit and Run suggesting the moniker could wreak havoc with a similarly named brand.

9. IBM's Butterfly. Think of the butterfly, a delicate, silken-winged haunter of English country gardens. A lovely name for lovely notebook PC and apt too, as it evoked the keyboard that would open out when the screen was lifted. But IBM decided to call the shipping product the ThinkPad 701C and the product didn't sell. However, so beloved by connoisseurs was the Butterfly, that a kaleidoscope of web sites pays tribute to the ill-fated, tragic even, one-season wonder.

8. NBI. This company made an early Windows wordprocessor called Legacy that was licensed to WordStar. Some said its name was short for Nothing But Initials, No Bloody Idea or the fuel used in Star Trek's Starship Enterprise.

7. Webside Story. The web analytics company took its great name from a fabulous pun on Bernstein's great musical then changed it to, ulp, Visual Sciences.

6. Lantastic. The hugely popular peer-to-peer networking software had a lantastically daft name. At the same time, there was also LAN-In-A-Can. With basic cabling and floppies in a box, it did exactly what it said on the tin.

5. Sun. Named after Stanford University Network, Sun and sub-brands such as Java and Jini are wonderfully short and headline-friendly names for journalists.

4. Apricot. Nobody else in the company was overly fond of the name but, as they didn't come up with a better one, the UK computer legend's founder Roger Foster stuck with the codename. For some reason, fruit and animals work well in names. Think of Tadpole Technology, for example.

3. Pink. Named after the colour of cards used to scrawl down feature ideas, this was the codename for an Apple OS. Apple later flirted with lawyers by using Dylan (after Bob) and Sagan (after Carl) for codenames. Then of course there's the Apple Macintosh and Lisa but you've already heard all those stories.

2. Twain. Stumped for a name for its universal scanner driver the inventors jokingly called it Twain and said it stood for Technology Without An Interesting Name.

1. HAL 9000. Arthur C. Clarke famously used the letters before IBM for his computer in 2001. µ

See Also
INQUIRER Top 5 Wrong Tech Rebrands

 

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