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Ubuntu finally gets to the end of the alphabet with Zesty Zapus release

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The OS has been released using an alliterative naming scheme for more than a decade

Ubuntu version 17.04 Zesty Zapus

Wiley Werewolf. Hardy Heron. Saucy Salamander. There’s no doubt about it: Ubuntu has the best release names in the business. (Sorry, Android.) Ever since 2004, each new version of the Linux-based OS has come with an alliterative code name, comprised of one adjective and one animal. Now, 12 years after the fun started, Canonical has finally reached the end of the alphabet, releasing Ubuntu version 17.04 Zesty Zapus.

The eagle-eyed among you will have spotted that 17 versions isn’t enough to cover every letter of the alphabet, but the first three releases weren’t in alphabetical order. The first, version 4.10, was named Warty Warthog, followed by versions 5.04 (Hoary Hedgehog) and 5.10 (Breezy Badger). It wasn’t until Ubuntu 6.06 Dapper Drake that the pattern was properly established.

This is a Zapus — a type of jumping mouse found in North America.
Image: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

As Canonical explains, this convention started life as a joke between a pair of developers worried that the software’s first release was going to be pretty unpolished — thus Warty Warthog. Coders working on Ubuntu became known as “hogs” after this, and they tried to keep the tradition going with the next “Hedgehog” release. There’s only so many ‘hogs in the world, though, and they soon moved onto other animals.

The question is, what will the next release of Ubuntu be named? Some think Canonical will swing back around to the beginning of the alphabet, perhaps doubling up each letter to differentiate it from the first run, e.g. “Aalenian Aardvark.” Others have suggested moving onto flowers and plants, like Apologetic Anemone; or rocks and minerals — Anomalous Alexandrite, for example. Either way, the fun will continue.