Every now and then a major discussion breaks loose in the FreeBSD community about the naming convention of the developement branches. Actually, it’s more like a flame-war than a discussion but luckily with not much effect whatsoever. First, let us recall that the bleeding edge is called HEAD, the products are called RELEASE and the “thing in-between” is called STABLE. And here lies the root of the problem: it’s a naming convention invented/used by software engineers, not by marketing or sales people. For engineers, the head of developement is where new things go in, get stable and finally go out as releases. While everyone seems to agree with HEAD and RELEASE as names, the term stable is heavily disputed. This too arises from what is considered stable by a developement team vs. what it means in common (technical) language. For FreeBSD developers, the suffix STABLE marks that the ABI (resp. API) is not going to be changed anymore. Most administrators on the other hand have a completely different view of what should be considered stable: it simply has to work (better than before). This fundamental disagreement causes much traffic on forums and mailing lists because no one wants to step down from his point of view. (Although there always are some postings which point out that the developement branches could also be called “foo” or “bar”.) And no one wants to let the other side have the last word. The solution from my point of view is quiet easy: keep the nomenclature as it is for the contributors and introduce some fancy code names for the rest of the world.