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Announcing Octez

21 June 2021
Nomadic Labs

Rome the city, Rome the ideal

There’s a powerful scene in the film the Gladiator where the Emperor Marcus Aurelius explains that Rome is both a physical installation of bricks and mortar, and also it is the idea of Rome — an ecosystem of standards and laws by which the people lived and a city was built.

In other words: Rome is a city, and an ideal.

When you download Tezos, you are actually downloading code that runs on a machine and in so doing embodies the idea of Tezos.

In other words: Tezos is an implementation, and an ideal.

We at Nomadic Labs are proud to have played a role in the coalition of programmers that wrote a Tezos implementation which is now widely used in the community. Historically, this was the first complete implementation of Tezos, which was used to activate Tezos Mainnet (the live blockchain) back in 2018. You can download this implementation from the open source repository https://gitlab.com/tezos/tezos/, where it is actively maintained today.

However, we were so excited by this at the time that — much like the Romans — we neglected to distinguish linguistically between the ideal, and the implementation of that ideal. This may be forgivable for world-spanning preindustrial empires, but we modern software developers should be more precise. So …

The implementation is Octez; the standard is Tezos

We are happy to announce that the bundle of concrete code files maintained at https://gitlab.com/tezos/tezos/ now has a name: Octez.

Octez’ is a portmanteau of octopus and Tezos, a pun which draws inspiration from this big picture of Tezos.

The big picture

Octez’ is also a portmanteau of OCaml and Tezos (OCaml being the main programming language used in Octez), and a pun on ‘octet’.

Octez, in more detail

Octez is an implementation of a suite of Tezos-related software. It lives in this GitLab repo: https://gitlab.com/tezos/tezos/.

Octez includes:

  1. a Tezos node (which you may know as tezos-node);
  2. a Tezos client for this node (tezos-client);
  3. an implementation of the environment for the economic protocol;
  4. daemons (baker, accuser and endorser) for protocols which are active on Mainnet;
  5. a remote signer (tezos-signer);
  6. and further tools, such as an encoder-decoder for Tezos data types (tezos-codec); tezos-protocol-compiler; and tezos-validator.

Everything in the big picture above is Octez, except for

  • the Network (underneath the legs),
  • the Explorer (bottom right), and
  • the economic protocol (the green bit with PROTOCOL written in it) — though Octez is distributed with the economic protocols of Mainnet for convenience.2

Origin of the implementation

Octez was created by a coalition of teams including Nomadic Labs, Tarides, Tocqueville Group, Obsidian Systems, Tweag, and Metastate (non-exclusive list).

The work is coordinated by the merge team (list of members here), and the name Octez was proposed to and approved by them. This reflects the decentralized nature of Tezos: Octez is a decentralized implementation, and the name itself was chosen in collaboration.

Why Choose a Name Now?

When we release a new version of https://gitlab.com/tezos/tezos/ we may say something like

version 9.2 has just been released

This invites the question: Version 9.2 of what? The answer is

Version 9.2 of the Tezos implementation that lives at https://gitlab.com/tezos/tezos/,

which is a bit of a mouthful. So henceforth we can write

Version 9.2 of Octez,

with a clear conscience, complete precision — and our SEO officer would feel better about it too, if we had one.

Thanks for reading … and keep an eye out for a future post titled “Releasing version 10.0 of Octez”!

  1. See for example the files for the Florence economic protocol, which is what Mainnet is running at time of writing.