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The Alphabet Lists

2013-10-28 2 min read Alphabet Lists marco

Kubuntu made it to Saucy Salamander, the release starting with an ‘s’ and formally named 13.10 (after the year and month of the release). The previous one was 13.04, code-named Raring Ringtail, with the letter ‘r’, which is one before ‘s’. The next release will be named after another animal living in South Africa (where Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Ubuntu, lives) who name starts with ‘t’. Also, there will be another adjective in ‘t’ to alliterate with that.

The use of alphabetical sequences of names is fairly common (even here in my beloved Pacific Beach, whose North-South streets are named alphabetically after people you’ve never heard of). This has good reasons: it’s easier to remember words than numbers (at least for many people), the words can be chosen to have a theme that reminds you of what they stand for, and you can honor something or someone that means and matters.

Not all those naming conventions are well-thought-out. For instance, when I worked at Yahoo!, the IT department thought it funny to give developer workstations the names of infectious diseases. Then, when they’d talk amongst themselves, they’d say things like, “Marco is the guy that has (the machine named) syphilis.” That was quite offensive, especially because they didn’t allow you to change names.

But that got me thinking: how about I create a central repository of such lists? You can send me yours, and I’ll add them (make sure there is nobody else’s copyright attached, and by sending such a list, you set the copyright of your lists to Creative Commons).

Here are the rules for the lists:

  1. A single, unifying theme
  2. One-word entries only, so that nobody has to deal with restrictions on spaces or special characters
  3. Only the 26 characters of the Latin alphabet in English allowed
  4. If multiple entries are available, the more well-known (to an American audience) is preferred
  5. If multiple entries are available and all are about equally known (or unknown), the shortest is preferred
  6. Same as above, the easiest to spell is preferred
  7. Hard to find letters (Q, X, Y) are typically omitted, or a less qualified entry allowed

Here is the link to the list of lists.