How software projects got their name

Amit Merchant on October 08, 2017

Sometimes, it's kind of interesting to know the origins of the products/projects we love. Here's a collection of such products/projects and the s... [Read Full]
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This is absolutely awesome. The Ruby programming language is inspired by perl and that's why it was narrowed down to other stones. And Crystal takes on the same legacy, though it was unclear from their AMA how much of a role that played.


I'd also like to know how got its name. Can you shed some light on it?


The C programming language was meant to replace the B programming language, so they just choose the next letter in the alphabet. (There was also a later language called D, though that hasn't caught on nearly as much as C.)

less, a unix tool for reading text files, replaced a similar (though less powerful tool) called more. It's a play on the term "less is more".

The language Ada is named after Ada Lovelace, the first person to publish a computer algorithm and possibly the first to realize, that computers could be used for much more than just calculations.

WINE is a recursive acronym, standing for "WINE Is Not an Emulator". It's also a backronym, since of course the word "wine" existed before the tool did.

The programming languages Haskell and Curry are both named after the American mathematician and logician Haskell Curry. The programming technique currying is also named after him.

V8, the JavaScript engine used in both Google Chrome and Node.JS, is named after the V8 engine. That was supposed to symbolize, how fast it was.

To quote from the MongoDB glossary: "“MongoDB” derives from the word “humongous” because of the database’s ability to scale up with ease and hold very large amounts of data."

The LucasArts adventure game engine SCUMM (short for Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion) is a play on the word scum. That wasn't enough though, it also played host to the INteractive Streaming ANimation Engine (INSANE) and some other tools such as FLEM, CYST, BYLE and MMUCUS. Later they switched to GrimE for 3D stuff, the name being inspired by both the first game they used it for (Grim Fandango) and the term grime. ScummVM, a later project for playing those old adventure games on newer systems, was named after the SCUMM engine. That and GrimE then inspired ResidualVM, with ResidualVM being for those games that ScummVM doesn't cover and grime being a type of residue.


And Debian, from Wikipedia:
"Debian was first announced on August 16, 1993, by Ian Murdock, who initially called the system 'the Debian Linux Release'. The word 'Debian' was formed as a portmanteau of the first name of his then-girlfriend Debra Lynn and his own first name."


Wonderful article!

I can't proof this, but I believe Composer was named Composer because.. well.. you need a composer to compose a Symfony. ;)

It does make sense, however, since the motivation behind early Composer was to make it easier for phpBB and Symfony to install bundles/plugins/extensions.


Why the name "Delphi"?
As explained in the Delphi Museum article, project codenamed Delphi hatched in mid 1993. Why Delphi? It was simple: "If you want to talk to [the] Oracle, go to Delphi". (because of the temple of Delphos)


Firefox had to be renamed from Firebird, because of the already database server with this name (

It came to be with the split of the Mozilla suite into two independant products, the other one is the mail software Thunderbird.


Great article! Love this list.

I remember learning about "Ubuntu" (the philosophy) at a school talk and assumed it was complete coincidence that it was also the name of an operating system.


Great article!

It's really cool to see the origins behind programming languages, especially if they have unique stories.


Awesome Job, Amit-
Passing this on as a quiz for Devs who are job hunting.

This should be a real kick to their ego when they fail the test. ( I get to negotiate a lower pay scale) haha


The first name of Symfony was Sensio Framework, from which became the initials sf. Sensio (Labs) is me company behind the framework.

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