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Tux the Linux Penguin

Tux is the official Linux mascot — a satiated, happy, chubby penguin. The idea of the Linux mascot being a penguin came from Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux kernel.

It is sometimes (but probably apocryphally) reported that the name was derived from Torvalds UniX, a name suggested by James Hughes, as opposed to the explanation that penguins look vaguely like they are wearing a tuxedo.

Tux was designed during a contest to determine the best Linux logo. Pictures of some of the other logo contestants can be found at The Linux Logo Competition site. The original design for Tux was done by Larry Ewing in 1996 using the GIMP, a free software art package, and he has released it under the following terms and conditions:

Permission to use and/or modify this image is granted provided you acknowledge me and The GIMP if someone asks. [1]

According to Jeff Ayers, Linus Torvalds had a "fixation for flightless, fat waterfowl" and Torvalds claims to have contracted penguinitis after being gently nibbled upon by a penguin. "Penguinitis makes you stay awake at nights just thinking about penguins and feeling great love towards them." Torvalds' supposed illness is of course a joke, but he really was bitten by a little penguin on a visit to Canberra[1]. Torvalds was looking for something fun and sympathetic to associate with Linux, and a slightly fat penguin sitting down after having had a great meal perfectly fit the bill.

Tux has become an icon for the Linux and Open Source community, with one British Linux user group adopting several penguins at Bristol Zoo. He is much more famous than his big friend, GNU, a peaceful and shy gnu that represents the GNU Project, another Open Source Project.

Tux is the star of a Linux game called Tux Racer, in which the user guides Tux down a variety of different icy hills on his belly, trying to catch herring and beat the time limit.

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