Friday, September 7, 2012

How the Chromebox and Series 5 550 Got Their Codenames

Bill Richardson is a Google engineer working on Chrome OS and the guy who originally put Ubuntu on Chromebooks (I just automated his work with a script and hosted image). He recently shared some really cool insight into how Chrome OS devices got their nicknames. For reference, the Samsung Series 3 Chromebox is know to engineers as Stumpy and the Series 5 550, Lumpy:

That name has a little history. Our cubicles have name plates on them. As a joke, someone added nameplates to the hardware lab door with the names of the seven dwarves from Snow White.  A couple of us were trying to remember all the names without looking, when the chief hardware guy stopped by to talk about the new desktop form-factor chromebook. He wanted to pick a clever project name, and since it was short and squat and we had similar-sounding names on our minds, I suggested Stumpy. He liked it, so it stuck. Then we wanted the laptop version to sound similar, and to keep them straight we started it with 'L' for "Laptop", which gave us Lumpy.

Some folks had a similar reaction to yours, but the thing to remember is that many engineers still have a childlike "playing with toys" enthusiasm. In our techno-geek culture, giving a silly or fun project name to something is an indication that we like it.

After the fallout from Apple's BHA project [link added by me] in the mid-90's, a lot of big companies stopped letting the engineers pick the names, which I think takes a lot of fun out of it.

I'm not sure why but the idea of a bunch of Google engineers sitting around trying to name off the seven dwarfs makes me laugh. 

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