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We call the code that users can actually interact with (even code that's deployed to a web server on the other side of the world) "production" because that's what factories called it when they started producing something. It doesn't make much sense when you think about it either, but I also can't think of anything better to call it.

You're totally right. I think the intermediate step was that software houses producing software prior to online distribution becoming mainstream would refer to software as being 'in production' when it was sent to the factory for CD replication and distribution. Literally being 'in production' at the factory. I believe the term has persisted from this.

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