I really hate that Microsoft pushed giving products "pretty" names rather than functional names (damn those marketing departments).

Windows ME, Windows XP and Windows Vista have become household names, and when someone talks about Windows Vista, people mostly know that Vista follows XP and is before 7. But the only reason they know this is because Microsoft only release OS's every few years and they're incredibly mainstream.

Linux Distro's that now do the same thing (Debian and Ubuntu, I'm looking at you) however are a different story. Did you know that there's a tag that apparently relates to a specific version of Debian?

As someone who is not a Linux person, I find this frustrating because I see these product names and I have no idea if Squeeze is a recent release, or 4 years old.

However, at the same time, I usually have no interest in answering these questions.

tl;dr: To those who actually answer these questions, is it OK to continue to have people use "friendly" names (like squeeze, natty, etc) or should they be using version numbers (like 6.0, 10.4)?

Reason I ask is, as a moderator, if the community decides that version numbers are the way to go, I can re-tag, edit and educate users as to our preferred tagging techniques.


5 Answers 5


The Debian community will know that is version 6 and is 3.1. Similarly the Ubuntu community will know that (natty) is 11.04 and (hardy) is 8.04.

If I asked a question about Windows 6.1.7601 or 6.0.6002 would you know which is on topic ?

The important thing is that their respective communities know what they mean. It's not broken so don't try and fix it.

I did some research

The people over on askubuntu.sx have both sets of tags but prefer the numbers. Checking the ubuntu* tags here on SF we have all the main descriptive tags synonym to numbers already.

Debian is slightly different in that most of the tags are descriptive. There is which should probably be synonymed to and there is which should probably be renamed and then synonymed to

Other stuff to do to make things consistent


This would at least clean things up and make things consistent within the parish of debian who seem to prefer the descriptive names.

  • Fair enough. I guess that's what I'm trying to acertain - if there's anything that needs fixing. Jul 18, 2011 at 20:20
  • @MarkHenderson: There is though some tidying up that needs to be done - see my edit.
    – user9517
    Jul 18, 2011 at 21:40

Like yourself, I'm essentially a Windows admin and therefore also don't know a sqeeze from a broken monkey. However, as it's highly unlikely I'd be able to answer questions with such names and/or tags does it really matter? The way I see it, if you don't know what or when the version is the question is really unlikely to be of much interest to you. On the other hand, those who do deal with those things will (should?) know exactly what they are and I would imagine will have no problem with it.

Let's face it, all Windows releases also have version numbers in addition to the name, yet we don't use those either.

  • this is the correct answer; you should use the most recognizable version name for the community it is targeted to. Doing a Google search should help refine this... Jul 19, 2011 at 5:01

Personally I despise Mac OSX version names, I'm using 10.6 right now and will be moving to 10.7 when it's released, they can call it whatever they like but I'm 'Cat-Blind'.


Personally I share your hatred for the "pretty" names, but also your aversion for Linux questions. I'd rather see tags that are mixed, ie if Acme Rocket Sled is actually version 3.14, then the tag should be

I think this is more applicable to Linux and other software which releases new version more frequently than the typical MS 3 (on-time) to 6 (normal) year release cycle.

  • 1
    I agree that the product name should be in there somewhere. squeeze on itself is meaningless, but perhaps debian-squeeze would make much more sense. I might go tag synonym them now... Jul 18, 2011 at 1:45
  • 1
    I'm not familiar with that particular example, but if all the xyz tagged questions are about a product produced by abc company, then by all means please do retag abc-xyz. That's consistent with what we've been doing anyway.
    – Chris S
    Jul 18, 2011 at 1:55
  • @MarkHenderson: Squeeze isn't meaningless to the community who use it although debian-squeeze is an improvement.
    – user9517
    Jul 18, 2011 at 7:41

Basically, I think version numbers are more usable than code names, at least in the case of Linux distributions, but this is much more true for Ubuntu than for Debian (they had 14 releases while Debian had 4 in the same time).

Nevertheless, I think many questions suck on the tagging side anyway. I see questions tagged with that are only relevant to a very specific version of a specific distribution and on the other hand there are questions tagged with a very specific version that could be answered the same way for about any unixoid OS, from Linux to xBSD to Irix, maybe all the way back to the PDP-11.

So, in conclusion: Version numbers instead of tags are nice, but not too important.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .