"Some people have told me they don't think a fat penguin really embodies the grace of Linux, which just tells me they have never seen a angry penguin charging at them in excess of 100mph. They'd be a lot more careful about what they say if they had." - Linus Torvalds

Re: Let's name the penguin! (was: Re: Linux 2.0 really _is_ released..)
James Hughes (jamesh@interpath.com)
Mon, 10 Jun 1996 20:25:52 -0400

(T)orvolds (U)ni(X) --> TUX!

From: Linus Torvalds

Ok, short version:
I've always liked penguins, and when I was in Canberra a few years ago we went to the local zoo with Andrew Tridgell (of samba fame). There they had a ferocious penguin that bit me and infected me with a little known disease called penguinitis. Penguinitis makes you stay awake at nights just thinking about penguins and feeling great love towards them. So when Linux needed a mascot, the first thing that came into my mind was this picture of the majestic penguin, and the rest is history.

Slightly more accurate version:
Yes, I was bitten by a penguin, but it wasn't actually very ferocious. It was really just a pigmy penguin about 6 inches tall or something, and it was more of a timid nibble ("is this finger a see before me a small fish, or what?"). Even so, I like penguins a lot.

More down-to-earth version:
All the other logos were too boring - I wasn't looking for the "Linux Corporate Image", I was looking for something _fun_ and sympathetic to associate with Linux. A slightly fat penguin that sits down after having had a great meal fits the bill perfectly.

Final comment:
Don't take the penguin too seriously. It's supposed to be kind of goofy and fun, that's the whole point. Linux is supposed to be goofy and fun (it's also the best operating system out there, but it's goofy and fun at the same time!).

Re: Linux Logo prototype.
Linus Torvalds (torvalds@cs.helsinki.fi)
Thu, 9 May 1996 17:48:56 +0300 (EET DST)

Somebody had a logo competition announcement, maybe people can send their ideas to a web-site..

Anyway, this one looks like the poor penguin is not really strong enough to hold up the world, and it's going to get squashed. Not a good, positive logo, in that respect..

Now, when you think about penguins, first take a deep calming breath, and then think "cuddly". Take another breath, and think "cute". Go back to "cuddly" for a while (and go on breathing), then think "contented".

With me so far? Good..

Now, with penguins, (cuddly such), "contented" means it has either just gotten laid, or it's stuffed on herring. Take it from me, I'm an expert on penguins, those are really the only two options.

Now, working on that angle, we don't really want to be associated with a randy penguin (well, we do, but it's not politic, so we won't), so we should be looking at the "stuffed to its brim with herring" angle here.

So when you think "penguin", you should be imagining a slighly 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 "burp" coming.

(*) 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.

Now, if you have problems associating yourself with something that gets off by eating raw fish, think "chocolate" or something, but you get the idea.

Ok, so we should be thinking of a lovable, cuddly, stuffed penguin sitting down after having gorged itself on herring. Still with me?

NOW comes the hard part. With this image firmly etched on your eyeballs, you then scetch a stylizied version of it. Not a lot of detail - just a black brush-type outline (you know the effect you get with a brush where the thickness of the line varies). THAT requires talent. Give people the outline, and they should say [ sickly sweet voice, babytalk almost ]"Ooh, what a cuddly penguin, I bet he is just _stuffed_ with herring", and small children will jump up and down and scream "mommy mommy, can I have one too?".

Then we can do a larger version with some more detail (maybe leaning against a globe of the world, but I don't think we really want to give any "macho penguin" image here about Atlas or anything). That more detailed version can spank billy-boy to tears for all I care, or play ice-hockey with the FreeBSD demon. But the simple, single penguin would be the logo, and the others would just be that cuddly penguin being used as an actor in some tableau.


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