The story behind popular Linux mascot penguin named TUX! Read who, when, and how it was discussed, designed, and released.
One of my blog readers sent me a Penguin picture (of TUX) on messenger and asked how it is related to Linux. So I decided to write this short post about Linux mascot.
This post describes who is a tux, How it was designed, and when it was released as Linux mascot.
Linux official mascot is Penguin named TUX! TUX is an abbreviation for Torvalds’s Unix or Tuxedo (Black dinner suit which you can think of whenever you see penguin). The concept came from obviously none other than Linux’s creator Linux Torvalds.
The mascot was first designed by Larry Ewing in 1996 along with Alan Cox. Further it was finalized by Linux Torvalds. The mascot was discussed and refined on the Linux kernel mailing list. The mascot was first publicly released on GIMP by Larry. It’s said that, it was inspired by one of the penguin images by Nick Park on the FTP site.
Another inspiration said to be disease Penguinitis which Torvalds claims in Linux kernel discussion groups after penguin nibbled his finger in one close encounter. Penguins make you stay awake later in the night thinking about penguins. Some people in the Linux community believe it’s just a story but hey it’s good to have it behind mascot!
The following link has different TUX images from its creator. http://www.isc.tamu.edu:80/~lewing/linux/
There were few Linux logo competitions held too which had a good response. Few logos from these competitions can be viewed here.
There are emails exchanged for this mascot available online. One of Linus Torvalds reply has his idea about mascot penguin. In his own words :
So when you think “penguin”, you should be imagining a slightly overweight
penguin (*), sitting down after having gorged itself, and having just burped.
It’s sitting there with a beatific smile – the world is a good place to be
when you have just eaten a few gallons of raw fish and you can feel another
(*) Not FAT, but you should be able to see that it’s sitting down because
it’s really too stuffed to stand up. Think “bean bag” here.
You can view this email here on the Linux Kernel Mailing List thread. Interesting? You can surf May 1996 and after archives to read interesting conversations emails about Linux mascot. LKML is still an active list and you can see recent mails about Linux kernel development on their website.
So now you know the story behind TUX (Linux logo/mascot)! Now on, you will never see this penguin the way you used to since you know it does have a story, discussions behind its existence!