Last week, the voting for the Fedora 18 release name was opened, along with an announcement that the board is considering whether or not to continue the practice. Undoubtedly, this is a reaction to some of the hand-wringing over naming Fedora 17 “Beefy Miracle.” Yes, Beefy Miracle is a silly name. Yes, it is likely to be forgotten shortly after the release.
My own position is somewhat ambivalent. The naming process is democratic, and represents the Fedora Project as a whole. The fact that names will sometimes be silly or offensive to a cultural group is part of life in a democracy. The naming process provides a little bit of fun near the end of the release cycle when life gets hectic for contributors. Perhaps the most important aspect of the name is that it provides a theme around which artwork and release announcements can be crafted.
On the other hand, if the release names go away, I can’t say that I’d really care. Release names tend to be forgettable for most distributions (Ubuntu and Debian releases are the ones I’ve ever heard people refer to by name in conversation), and I don’t think it would be any loss to the Fedora community or product if naming went away. To be honest, I’ve already forgotten how I voted in that poll. Whatever the community decides is fine, so long as we continue to remain a community.