A Complete History of Tux.
(So Far)By Steve Baker.
[Tux] "...looks too much like Homer Simpson"
After several attempts to draw Penguins in various poses, someone suggested a Penguin holding up the world. Here is the famous email from Linus - in response to Dale Scheetz' efforts to produce a such an image:
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.
Umm.. You don't have any gap to fill in.
"Linus likes penguins". That's it. There was even a headline on it in some Linux Journal some time ago (I was bitten by a Killer Penguin in Australia - I'm not kidding). Penguins are fun.
As to why use a penguin as a logo? No good reason, really. But a logo doesn't really ave to _mean_ anything - it's the association that counts. And I can think of many worse things than have linux being associated with penguins.
Having a penguin as a logo also gives more freedom to people wanting to use linux-related material: instead of being firmly fixed with a specific logo (the triangle, or just "Linux 2.0" or some other abstract thing), using something like a penguin gives people the chance to make modifications that are still recognizable.
So you can have a real live penguin on a CD cover, for example, and people will get the association. Or you can have a penguin that does something specific (a Penguin writing on wordperfect for the WP Linux CD, whatever - you get the idea).
Compare that to a more abstract logo (like the windows logo - it's not a bad logo in itself). You can't really do anything with a logo like that. It just "is".
Anyway, go to "http://www.isc.tamu.edu/~lewing/linux/" for some nice examples..
Well, thanks Linus - without your help, I'd be writing a video game about a triangle with "Linux 2.0" written inside it!
Larry grants permission to use and/or modify the Tux image - but he requires you acknowledge him <email@example.com> and The GIMP "if someone asks".
The title of the game
is "A Quest for Herring."
This 3D Tux was generated by digitizing Tux's profile from Larry Ewing's painting, that was then rotated through 360 degrees to generate a volume of revolution.
The flippers and feet were hand-built and the beak is a cone which has been squashed from end-to-end and from top to bottom. The texture map also derives from Larry's original painting, but I had to fill in the background with solid black, remove the feet and turn the beak into separate texture map. Since I needed to use Tux in my 3D game, it was necessary to reduce the resolution of the image so that it would not consume too much texture memory.
|The version in the game has better feet, a head that turns, and a beak that opens and shuts. It also sits in the same pose as in Larry's painting.|
Let's name the penguin! (was: Re: Linux 2.0 really _is_ released..)
Henning Schmiedehausen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
10 Jun 1996 16:18:56 +0200
email@example.com (Linus Torvalds) writes:
> Ok, I took the plunge, and Linux-2.0 is out there on the normal
> sites. I even got the energy to write some inane announcement
> about it on cola, so it's too late to chicken out any more.
So it's the 'Electrified Penguin on Cola' release? ;-)
Anyway: Congratulations for this great achievement.
Let's start the 'We name that penguin while Linus is not around' contest.
I vote for 'Homer' (Of course) :-)
The next reply seems to be the first use of the name "Tux":
Re: Let's name the penguin! (was: Re: Linux 2.0 really _is_ released..)
James Hughes (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mon, 10 Jun 1996 20:25:52 -0400
(T)orvolds (U)ni(X) --> TUX!
A number of UK Linux fans - lead by Alan Cox - and the Linux World magazine decided to sponsor a live Penguin at Bristol Zoo as a birthday present for Linus. The following individuals contributed:
Phil Copeland, Alan Cox, Martin Houston, Alun Jones, Richard Hughes Alec Muffett, Andrew Pagett, Dick Porter, Chris Samuel
You can see the letters from
Bristol Zoo (in South-West England) - and some photo's of
the Penguins at the Zoo.
According to the Zoo, Tux is a Black-Footed (Jackass) Penguin - but the pictures of the Penguins at Bristol don't have the same markings as the 'classic' Tux images.
As open source software by definition cannot be controlled by any one person, it is perhaps fitting the most recognized face in the Linux world belongs not to its creator, Linus Torvalds, but to its mascot, Tux.
From: Linus Torvalds
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.
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!).
|And now the world has gone nuts for Tux - his image is used in dozens of magazines, adverts, Tee-shirts - you can get cuddly-Tux plush toys in sizes from four inches to thirty six inches - and if you have $999 to spare, you can be the proud owner of a wearable Tux costume!.|
...in January 1999 I decided (entirely sober even!) to get Larry Ewing's beautiful image tattooed on my upper left arm.
However, Linus seems to have asserted his desires and today, there is no doubt that Tux is by far better known and more widely used than others that figured highly in the competition. To be fair (and with a nod to democracy), we should perhaps call Tux the "Linux Mascot" - and leave the term "Linux Logo" for Matt Ericsons' image.
I agree with Linus' argument:
.-. /v\ L I N U X // \\ >Phear the Penguin< /( )\ ^^-^^...which was devised by David Navarro.
##### ####### # # # #" #" # Linux ##vvvvv## Rules! ## vvv ## # ## ## ## ### ### +++##### ##++ ++++++# #++++++ +++++++# #+++++++ +++++#######+++++ +++ +++...which nobody seems to claim ownership of.
||There are certain Linux supporters who don't like the penguin. Yes, I know that's hard to believe. For example, Alan Mackey promoted a Fox as an alternative mascot - there were quite a few supporters of that idea - but Tux is now pretty much universally accepted and the unnamed fox is no longer a contender.|
Once again, Linus has words for these people: