Computer software, and sometimes also other computing-related systems like computer hardware or algorithms, is called vanilla when not customized from its original form, meaning that it is used without any customizations or updates applied to it. Vanilla software can become a widespread de facto industry standard, widely used by businesses and individuals.
As one of the earliest examples, IBM's mainframe text publishing system BookMaster, provides a default way to specify which parts of a book to publish, called "vanilla", and a fancier way, called "mocha".
The term "vanilla" is sometimes also used for hardware components. For instance, in the 1990s non-upgraded Amiga home computers were called "(plain) vanilla"; similarly, it was later also applied to PC parts.
For Unix-based kernels, a "vanilla kernel" refers to a kernel that has been unmodified by any third-party source. For instance, the vanilla Linux kernel is often given a Linux distribution–specific "flavour" by being heavily modified.
In PC games, the term "vanilla" is often used to describe the original version of a game, which has not been modified with third-party addons, developer updates, downloadable content (DLC) or patches. It can also refer to the original game engine when source ports or expansion packs are available. For example, World of Warcraft could refer to either the original game or one of the four expansion packs, so users may refer to the original as "vanilla" to distinguish it from the subsequent versions.
- "What is vanilla?". techtarget.com. September 2005. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
- Hilden, Katri; Robinson, Tim; Currie, Lee; Hutchinson, Emma (2006). Iced: 180 Very Cool Concoctions. Murdoch Books. p. 15. ISBN 978-1-74045-818-4. Retrieved 4 April 2013. "Vanilla has become a synonymous with 'plain'- perhaps most vanilla ice cream is flavoured with fake vanilla extract"
- vanilla /adj./ "[from the default flavor of ice cream in the U.S.] Ordinary flavor, standard." from the Jargon File
- Gary Richtmeyer (2002-05-01). "B2H User's Guide (HTML 3 version)". AT&T. Retrieved 2013-10-16. "Conditional sections (.cs) and BookMaster's "vanilla" DVCF macros (.CONFIG and .WHEN) are supported, but not BookMaster's "mocha" DVCF macros (e.g. .USING, .INCLUDE)."
- EGS Spectrum 28: True Color Graphics for the Amiga
- How to upgrade your color graphics card. from Compute's Getting Started with Power Computing (Buyers Guide) by Steven Anzovin
- "Re: What is the vanilla kernel?". lkml.indiana.edu. 2005-10-10. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
- "Ubuntu Kernel vs. Vanilla Kernel". ubuntuforums.org. October 2009. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
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