I know I promised to open this a long time ago...

Super User has settled into some ad-hoc, but well-established, conventions for tagging questions about operating systems and their various versions. This post is to discuss the current conventions used for Ubuntu, and see if any change needs to be made.

Currently, Ubuntu tags use the version number, instead of the release codename. Codename tags occasionally get recreated and are usually replaced by hand, or occasionally get batch-retagged. Here's a survey of Ubuntu-related tags in use:

  • Ubuntu: [canonical]
    • [ubuntu], [kubuntu], [xubuntu]
    • [ubuntu-8.04-lts], [ubuntu-8.10], [ubuntu-9.04], [ubuntu-9.10], [ubuntu-10.04-lts]
    • [ubuntu-server]
    • [ubuntu-netbook-remix]

Some people seem to prefer the codename tags, so here are the alternate conventions for version-specific tags I can think of.

  • Version number (current convention):
    • [ubuntu-8.04-lts], [ubuntu-8.10], [ubuntu-9.04], [ubuntu-9.10], [ubuntu-10.04-lts]
  • Short codename (occasionally get recreated):
    • [hardy], [intrepid], [jaunty], [karmic], [lucid]
  • Full codename:
    • [hardy-heron], [intrepid-ibex], [jaunty-jackalope], [karmic-koala], [lucid-lynx]
  • Short codename, Ubuntu prefix (a la Debian):
    • [ubuntu-hardy], [ubuntu-intrepid], [ubuntu-jaunty], [ubuntu-karmic], [ubuntu-lucid]

My aim is consistency, so that SU doesn't end up with 47 different tags that all mean "Ubuntu 9.10". I like the current convention, but I don't care which convention is followed. If the community wants to settle on another convention, batch-retagging the existing questions won't be difficult, and I'll help keep it consistent.

For comparison, here's how tags for Windows, Mac OS X and Debian are currently handled:

  • Microsoft: [microsoft]
    • [windows]
    • [windows-xp], [windows-vista], [windows-7], ...
    • [windows-server], [windows-server-2003], [windows-server-2008]
    • [windows-xp-embedded]

  • Apple: [apple], [mac]
    • [osx], [mac-os]
    • [jaguar], [tiger], [leopard], [snow-leopard]
    • [osx-server]

  • Debian:
    • [debian]
    • [debian-lenny], [debian-squeeze]

5 Answers 5


I am a fan of the current convention. It is clear, concise and pretty universal. Personally, when I think in versions numbers and when I see something like hardy it makes it difficult for me to actually relate that to a version of the OS, having the numbers in the tags makes it very clear which version is being targeted.


The full code names are too hard to remember and aren't publicly branded as strongly by Canonical, and people are less aware of even the shorter code names.

It's much more prevalent to use a common prefix for OSes, and that makes sense to me. Should also be easier for users to discover and search for. (I'd retag the various [jaguar], [tiger], etc. to follow that too.)

The LTS releases don't need that in the name, so [ubuntu-8.04] and never -lts. It's not like there's a non-LTS release of 8.04, and dropping it should be more intuitive for most users.

  • i was thinking the same thing about the OSX codenames when putting this together.
    – quack quixote
    Commented Apr 8, 2010 at 22:53
  • re: LTS... there is some awareness of the differences between an LTS and non-LTS release, so i think the purpose of [..-lts] is to differentiate the LTS releases from normal releases (as opposed to differentiating the LTS version of 8.04 from a non-LTS 8.04). eg: if you know your system runs Hardy LTS, you can look at the tags and know it should be [ubuntu-8.04-lts] and not [ubuntu-8.10]. at least that was the thinking when i merged [ubuntu-8.04] and [hardy] and [ubuntu-8.04-lts] together a few months ago.
    – quack quixote
    Commented Apr 8, 2010 at 22:55
  • @quack: I could be wrong that dropping -lts would be more intuitive for most users, but it's definitely that way for me. :)
    – Gnome
    Commented Apr 9, 2010 at 1:42

The "best" solution for the problem, on the users' side, would probably be to implement "alias tags".

I.e. a set of tags which all have the same meaning:

  • when you enter an alias tag as a tag, the system automatically enters instead the one of that set that has been chosen as "master tag"
  • when an aliased tag is displayed, either below it (smaller?) or onhover appear the other aliases
  • when you search for an aliased tag, all tags of that set are returned, of course
  • 1
    – Gnoupi
    Commented May 10, 2010 at 9:13
  • 1
    – forget it
    Commented May 10, 2010 at 11:47

I say use the version numbers, like [ubuntu-9.10]. I can never remember what the codename is, and I often forget the version. To find the version I just cat /etc/issue and there is it. Consistent across linux flavors. I always need google to remind me that lsb_release -a tells me that 9.10 is karmac.


Like others said, the current convention it probably the best, as people refer to ubuntu by version numbers, usually (as opposed to debian).

I guess the ubuntu-codename (ala debian) could be tolerated, because some people do refer to it like that. Maybe we can add the ubuntu-version to these ones, then.

Besides, I think we should for sure eliminate all tags which are only about the codebase. These ones will get created anyway many times, for the simple reason that many people don't understand how tags work. And they will just type "ubuntu hardy", which results in two tags. These ones should be renamed for sure. (Like we shouldn't leave "vista" tags alive)

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