A couple of years ago, Linus Torvalds was discussing Linux version numbers and said, "I think I will call it 3.11 Linux for Workgroups."
It turns out he wasn't joking. With a release candidate of Linux 3.11 now available, Torvalds has actually named the new version of the kernel "Linux for Workgroups." He even gave it a Windows-themed boot icon featuring Linux's mascot penguin, Tux, holding a flag emblazoned with an old Windows logo. The name "Linux for Workgroups" follows such whimsical past Linux version names as "Pink Farting Weasel," "Killer Bat of Doom," "Erotic Pickled Herring," and "Jeff Thinks I Should Change This, But To What?"
The actual code of Linux 3.11, by the way, comes with improved support for Radeon power management features and support for Intel Rapid Start Technology.
Windows for Workgroups 3.11 was released in August, 1993, about two years after Torvalds created the Linux kernel. An update in 1994 allowed Windows for Workgroups to support TCP/IP networking without a third-party add-on.
"I was part of a Windows system install in 1993 for a mid-sized corporation. At that time, Windows 3.11 was wonderful," one commenter on Hacker News wrote today. "People were amazed by it. There were no writable CDs back then (floppies ruled), but it was being researched and people were excited about the huge storage potential. Things have changed a lot since that time, but some things have stayed the same (red black trees are still red black trees). Microsoft is still a heck of a systems programming shop, but back then, they were God. The Linux name change is a fitting tribute to Windows system programmers everywhere."
Windows 3.11 lived a long life, surviving well after the massively popular Windows 95 and even Windows XP. In November 2008, Ars wrote that "Windows for Workgroups 3.11 is finally, officially, totally dead at the age of 15. ... Long after it was supplanted on the desktop by the likes of NT 4.0 and/or Windows 95, Windows for Workgroups 3.11 lived on in the embedded market, powering various point-of-sale terminals, cash registers, and long-haul entertainment systems in certain Virgin and Quantas jets. All of this has come to an end, and Microsoft will no longer sell embedded licenses for the operating system."