Tux is a penguin character and the official brand character of the Linux kernel. Originally created as an entry to a Linux logo competition, Tux is the most commonly used icon for Linux, although different Linux distributions depict Tux in various styles. The character is used in many other Linux programs and as a general symbol of Linux.
The concept of the Linux brand character being a penguin came from Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux. Tux was created by Larry Ewing in 1996 after an initial suggestion made by Alan Cox and further refined by Linus Torvalds on the Linux kernel mailing list. Torvalds took his inspiration from an image he found on an FTP site, showing a penguin figurine depicted in a similar style to the Creature Comforts characters created by Nick Park. The first person to call the penguin "Tux" was James Hughes, who said that it stood for "(T)orvalds (U)ni(X)". However, tux is also an abbreviation of tuxedo, the outfit which bears resemblance in appearance to a penguin.
Tux was originally designed as a submission for a Linux logo contest. Three such competitions took place; Tux won none of them. This is why Tux is formally known as the Linux brand character and not the logo. Tux was created by Larry Ewing using the first publicly released version (0.54) of GIMP, a free software graphics package. It was released by him under the following condition:
Permission to use and/or modify this image is granted provided you acknowledge me [email protected] and The GIMP if someone asks.
According to Jeff Ayers, Linus Torvalds had a "fixation for flightless, fat waterfowl" and Torvalds claims to have contracted "penguinitis" after being nibbled by a little penguin on a visit to the National Zoo & Aquarium, Canberra, Australia. joking that the disease "makes you stay awake at nights just thinking about penguins and feeling great love towards them". Torvalds was looking for something fun and sympathetic to associate with Linux, and he felt that a slightly fat penguin sitting down after having eaten a great meal perfectly fit the bill. In 2009, a sign at Canberra zoo said that staff believed the "original Tux" was still resident in the penguin enclosure.
In an interview Linus commented on the penguin bite:
I've been to Australia several times, these days mostly for Linux.Conf.Au. But my first trip—and the one when I was bitten by a ferocious fairy penguin: you really should keep those things locked up!—was in 93 or so, talking about Linux for the Australian Unix Users Group.
Tuz, a Tasmanian devil wearing a fake penguin beak, was the brand character of the 2009 linux.conf.au conference. It has been chosen by Linus Torvalds as the logo for version 2.6.29 of the Linux kernel to support the effort to save the Tasmanian devil species from extinction due to the devil facial tumour disease.
The image was designed by Andrew McGown and recreated as an SVG using Inkscape by Josh Bush, and released under the CC BY-SA license.
For the Linux 3.11-rc1 release, Linus Torvalds changed the code name from "Unicycling Gorilla" to "Linux for Workgroups" and modified the logo that some systems display when booting to depict a Tux holding a flag with a symbol that is reminiscent of the logo of Windows for Workgroups 3.11, which was released in 1993.
In some Linux distributions, for example Gentoo, Tux greets the user during booting with multi-processor systems displaying multiple images of Tux, one for each processor core.
Tux has taken on a role in the Linux community similar to that which Mario holds in the Nintendo community. The character has been featured in open-source look-alikes of other mainstream games, such as Tux Racer, Extreme Tux Racer, Tux Math Scrabble, TuxWordSmith Tux Math, SuperTux, SuperTuxKart, and Tux Paint. See also List of video games featuring Tux below.
Some games that star Tux also include explicitly female penguin characters, allowing the players to play as one of those characters instead of Tux. One such female penguin is Tux's friend "Gown". Gown is variously depicted as being a pink version of Tux (XTux) or as having a somewhat less fat appearance and wearing items of clothing such as a red and white short skirt and a hair bow (e.g. TuxKart and A Quest for Herring).
In SuperTux and SuperTuxKart, there is a different female penguin called "Penny" who is purple and white (SuperTuxKart once had Gown and still has a map called "Gown's Bow"). In the arcade game Tux 2 there is a female penguin called "Trixi", and in FreeCiv the female leader name for the Antarctican civilization is "Tuxette".
Several computer games, mostly free and open-source and/or for Linux, have included Tux, including:
This article incorporates material from the Citizendium article "Tux (mascot)", which is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License but not under the GFDL.
Media related to Tux at Wikimedia Commons
Edited: 2021-06-18 18:47:00