Do You Like Tux the Penguin?

by Susan Linton - Aug. 18, 2011Comments (7)

LinuxIn another episode of Open Ballot, TuxRadar is now asking its readers "Does Tux help or hinder Linux?" They concede that penguins are cute, but is Tux a good mascot for an operating system?  "Would a more conventional logo make us look more professional?"

Well, I think Linus Torvalds' view is germane to the debate. According to Wikipedia, he chose the penguin as the mascot after being nipped by a penguin at a zoo and contracting penguinitis. Wikipedia writes, "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."

I've always loved Tux. I've had Tux coffee mugs, a keyring fob, a clock, stuffed Tux animals, Tux t-shirts, computer case emblems, and others. I even saw a cigarette box on Ebay the other day with Tux on it and I was tempted to bid on it despite not really needing a cigarette box. But that wasn't really the question. The question is: does Tux make a good logo for Linux? I think so. And Linus said somewhere something to the effect of that penguins are cute until you mess with them, then they can be brave and ferocious. Does that describe the mentality of Linux and its developers?

Well, according to answers to the question we find feelings are mixed. One respondent said that the Linux logo is childlike and not suitable for the corporate and professional world. Another said maybe Tux "should be replaced with a Cheetah, Puma, Jaguar, Panther, Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard or a Lion." Adam Griffiths called Tux a "fat bastard." He elaborates, "Microsoft: Sleek stylized font, flying a flag for it's OS. Apple: Fruit, healthy, perhaps with the bite out of it a reference to Adam's descent from Eden - tenuous. Tux: Fat bastard cartoon character." He thinks Tux should be put on a diet. Another going by the moniker Inspector Gadget said he "never has liked Tux." Several others agreed that Tux is too childish and cartoon-y.

However, heiowge said, "I'd like to see the windows logo try and beat up tux! Or the apple try and bite him. It just wouldn't work. But we see plenty of Tux smashing windows wallpapers don't we?"

Towy71 says, "Tux for ever, I'm sure that Tux is a good thing and will outlast us all ;-)"

Martin Greaney is on the positive side saying, "As a logo, Tux is perfect: neat, bold, compact. It stands out well in the logo lineups in e.g. hosting adverts."

The rest of the comments are all over the spectrum. It actually appears there are more cons than pros. There is no argument that Tux is the face of Linux, but perhaps he could use an update. What do you think?

John Mark Walker uses OStatic to support Open Source, ask and answer questions and stay informed. What about you?


Tux is the best thing since sliced bread.


...and we could always use 'fat bastard' as a nickname.

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Interesting remark about the Windows logo . . . I've always been of the opinion that it bears a striking resemblance to a swastika.

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I love it. I got Ubuntu and 'Powered by Linux' tags on my netbook, notebook and desktop.

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This whole article makes no sense. 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 mascot and not the logo. In the largest and most final contest he polled only 541 votes compared to 785 for the winning design by Matt Ericson. The official linux logo can be found at

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Tux Rocks!!! But there again does he matter???

Most distro's don't show Tux. Mandriva, Mephis, Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, SuSE, et. all, have their own logo's, boot splashes, icons, etc.

To me Tux needs to be the centerpiece of all of the distro's. They need to wear it as a badge of courage.

Tux is the symbol of computer freedom. The freedom to have your computer be your computer, not what someone else wants it to be. I don't want to take anything away from the BSD's, Lord knows I also love the FreeBSD's devil, but Just that moment I first saw Tux boot in front of me in the mid 90's will always be one of my best memories, maybe 2nd to the birth of my

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Although personally I quite like Tux, there is a frivolity about such a choice of Mascot. I see nothing wrong with that. Indeed it spells exactly the approach that I feel Linux has...not so serious, not too competitive, a little carefree etc. which might well not suit more serious would be marketeers with their different agendas.

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NO !

Why a cheap dumb ugly plastic toy as testimonial for a great idea ?

It looks like the Linux world has a special ability to put itself down.

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