Was the name ever really onghornlay?

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2006/04/04 19:01 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2006/04/04/568518.aspx


Over on Language Log, Arnold Zwicky posted It's all grammar, one more time. And there was one bit there that I found very amusing towards the end:

As far as I can tell, things like the conventions for composing double dactyls and knock-knock jokes don't make it into the book, but maybe that's just because she hadn't come across any inept double dactyls or ill-formed knock-knock jokes, and nobody had asked her about these forms.  (Let's listen in...  Grammar Hotline: "May I help you?" Caller: "Yes.  When my brother speaks Pig Latin, he pronounces 'stop' as 'topsay', but I say it has to be 'opstay'.  Which of us is right, Grammar Lady?")

It reminded me of the before time, in the long long ago, before the Providers had changed the name of Longhorn to Vista....

You see, we had just shipped Windows Server 2003 a little while ago, a product which had its name changed at the last minute from Windows .NET Server 2003 (as was described here) to Windows Server 2003. I never heard from any authoritative source, but some people claimed the last minute name change cost the company a ton of money since the name string was hard-coded in so many places.

So anyway, to avoid this problem in the future (the expense, not the name changes themselves; just ask anyone who worked on Office XP about those last minute name alterations in products!), some work was done to make sure the name was stored in a more central location.

And to test this, there were several early internal builds that, to test this centralization, had the name of the product (at the time Longhorn Professional) translated into Pig Latin, so that any place that had the name unchanged would be considered a bug.

(as a disclaimer I will point out that none of this is a secret, really -- it was for example discussed on Paul Thurott's site in this article)

Now to why the Language Log post made me think of it -- because the Pig Latinized version of the name was onghornlay rofessionalpay, rather than onghornlay ofessionalpray, as some might expect. :-)

Of course that version (4029 and a few of the surrounding daily builds) are long gone, so it's all a distant memory....

It's too bad no one called in to Grammar Lady to get an official answer on the gramaticality of the fake Longhorn name. :-)


Michael S. Kaplan on 8 Apr 2006 1:12 PM:


referenced by

2006/11/19 Where'd *that* string come from?

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