Newcomers to Linux are often first struck by the strange names given to the various releases of Ubuntu Linux, however, which traditionally has been the most popular distribution for beginners. Most recently we've had "Maverick Meerkat," "Natty Narwhal," and "Oneiric Ocelot," for example; coming up next will be "Precise Pangolin." There's actually a long line of such wacky mascots for Ubuntu releases, in fact, going back to the distribution's first "Warty Warthog" release back in 2004. Want to see the full lineup of all 16, complete with pictures? Then check out my recent close-up look. You won't be disappointed.
Underlying Ubuntu, of course, is Debian, which many consider the granddaddy of all Linux distributions. Though not based on animals, Debian release names tend to exhibit a silliness all their own. Beginning with the inaugural "Buzz" release of Debian back in 1996, other fun examples over the years have included "Potato," "Woody," and "Sarge." Most recently, we've seen "Lenny" and "Squeeze"; coming up next is "Wheezy." Serious software? You bet. Serious names? Not so much.
Fedora Linux may be related to the business-focused Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), but that doesn't mean it has to stick to serious or formal names itself. Cases in point: "Moonshine," "Werewolf," and--coming up--"Beefy Miracle." Why be boring, right?