Code Name

What Does Code Name Mean?

A code name is a name given to a hardware, software or other technology that is in development. Code names are often given for practical purposes since a project may not have a defined name for release and production. Code names also sustain an air of mystery about pending technology projects. They have become a source of curiosity in technology culture.


Techopedia Explains Code Name

Typically, a company comes up with a code name to describe a working project. When the project is released, its actual commercial name begins to be used, and the code name becomes obsolete. In quite a few cases, the code name never becomes widely known to the public.

Many code names have been assigned to the many operating systems that have driven personal computer use over the last few decades. On the Microsoft side, some of the operating system code names represent the company’s march through its history of Windows development, for example, code name “Chicago” for Windows 95, “Memphis” for Windows 98 and “Whistler” for Windows XP. Windows Vista was code named “Longhorn,” and Windows 10, the last released operating system, was code named “Redstone” after an element in the Minecraft video game.

On the Apple side, code names were also popularly used for a variety of operating systems and other technologies. For example the OS X operating system used various code names for successive releases, including the “large cat” series such as “Cheetah” for OS X 10.0, “Puma” for OS X 10.1, “Jaguar” for OS X 10.2 and “Panther” for OS X 10.3, as well as additional code names Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard, Lion and Mountain Lion for successive OS X version releases.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.