Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

Project Names That Tell a Story

Tomasz Kaczanowski
2 min readNov 1, 2018


Sometimes if you look closer at software projects names you will notice some interesting stuff. This short post is exactly about this — names of projects that are more than mere identifiers.

Let us start with an obvious example of C++. The name indicates that C++ is a successor (a better version perhaps) of C (++ being a increment operator in C).

Take another example: Delphi, by Borland. Do you remember what the Delphi city in the ancient Greece was famous of? The Oracle of course! And Oracle was the biggest database at the time Delphi was born. Coincidence? Definitely not! (And you can check the story here).

Similarly Ruby language is a successor of Perl (also a jewel) yet the etymology of the name is more complicated (check Wikipedia’s entry on Ruby).

The name of popular Java IDE — Eclipse — is also significant if you think about IBM (original founder of Eclipse project) as a rival of Sun Microsystems (RIP).

Things get really interesting when we dive into the area of testing. A bit of history first. Once upon a time there was a company called Mercury (full name: Mercury Interactive Corporation). This company produced testing software. Now, Mercury is also a chemical element (Hg) which is poisonous. Another chemical element — Selenium (Se) — is believed to have protective effect against Mercury. And Tellurium (Te) — yet another chemical element — is chemically related to Selenium.
So, we have three testing tools — one produced by Mercury company, one called Selenium and one called Tellurium. Pure coincidence, of course. 🙂

Also in the testing world, we have great Mockito framework. Even though its name really comes from mojito drink, its name resembles also moskito. This is probably why another mocking framework is called Komarro (komar is how we call moskitos in Poland).

Similarly, Iceweasel is a fork of Firefox.

Thanks God, project names can also symbolize friendship. Take a look at Hansel and Gretel projects. These two coverage tools share some amount of source code and names derived from a popular German fairy tale.

I also like very much the Reactor project accompanied by its Clojure interface called Meltdown. 🙂

There are also less and more — two terminal pager programs well known to *nix system users (see here).

I guess this list could go on and on. Do you know any interesting examples of such project names? Share them in comments, please!