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Etymology of an Open Source App/Project

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The natural extension of the “Etymology of a Distro” blog would be delving deeper into Open Source project’s etymologies. Indeed many readers already suggested that. Here are 20 Open Source applications and the interesting (and not so interesting) stories behind their names:

The popular desktop environment originally stood for GNU Network Object Model Environment. The acronym was proposed by Elliot Lee, one of the authors of ORBit and the Object Activation Framework. It refers to GNOME’s original intention of creating a distributed object framework similar to Microsoft’s OLE. This no longer reflects the core vision of the GNOME project and some members of the project advocate dropping the acronym and re-naming “GNOME” to “Gnome”.

The name KDE was intended as a word play on the existing Common Desktop Environment, available for Unix systems. The K was originally suggested to stand for “Kool”, but it was quickly decided that the K should stand for nothing in particular. Additionally, one of the tips in certain versions of KDE 3 incorrectly states that the K currently is just meant to be the letter before L in the Latin alphabet, the first letter in the word Linux.


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