The Tux Files: A History of the Linux Mascot

The Tux Files: A History of the Linux Mascot

The Tux mascot is the friendly Linux penguin that many computer users have come to know and love over the years. But how did it come about? And what’s it got to do with the name Linux? Read on to learn more about the history of the penguin that adorns your laptop, smartphone, or desktop screen when you use your favorite Linux operating system!

What is Tux?

Tux is the official mascot of the Linux kernel. He was created by Larry Ewing in 1996, and has been used as a symbol of Linux ever since. His name, according to the creator, comes from Tucows and an abbreviation for Linux. Originally, he had no distinctive features (he was often shown with plain black fur). It wasn’t until 1997 that he was given his iconic look – a round body with four feet, large oval eyes, whiskers and sharp teeth. In 2001, Red Hat Software acquired permission to use him on their products; they redesigned him slightly and added him to their logo. Ever since then, Tux’s popularity has skyrocketed.

You can see him as the main character in games like SuperTuxKart and Rayman Raving Rabbids 2. You can also purchase merchandise featuring Tux, including plushies, stickers, buttons and mugs. The mascot will continue to be around for years to come!

Most interestingly, Tux is available for purchase through ThinkGeek as a vinyl sticker, which you can place anywhere you’d like – your laptop or desktop monitor, your car window or even your refrigerator. He’s available in two sizes – 5 inches tall and 6 inches tall. That might not seem very big… but I’m sure it will remind you of how important Linux really is every time you catch sight of him there!

Early days

Tux is the official mascot of the Linux kernel, created by Larry Ewing in 1996. He has since become an icon of the free software movement. The Tux symbol originally came from a Finnish online irc chatroom where programmers would go to discuss the new operating system called Linux that Linus Torvalds was developing at the time. They called themselves TUX-users and soon after someone said TUX loves you! – and thus Tux was born! In the early days, Tux was often drawn as a penguin.

But over time he started looking more like a puffin because most people don’t know what penguins look like (fun fact). After this change happened there were two types of images for Tux: one with him being white with black or yellow eyes and one with him being brown with yellow eyes. For many years these two versions competed against each other but eventually, the white version became the default image on Linux distributions.

Current status

Tux is the official mascot of the Linux kernel and is one of the most recognizable mascots in the open source community. He was created by Larry Ewing in 1996 and has been featured in countless works of art, videos, and software over the years. Today, Tux remains an enduring symbol of the power and flexibility of open source software. There are many variants of Tux that have cropped up over the years, each with their own unique features. One variant, drawn by Jinny Beyer for the Open Clip Art Library (OCAL), gained popularity due to its availability as a pre-made design for banners and posters.

Another popular variant is known as Robotic Tux or Dapper Dan, which replaces Tux’s face with a robotic head based on Big Bot from Quake 3 Arena, a game whose development was led by John Carmack of id Software who donated his shareware royalties to charity.

Future prospects

When Linus Torvalds first announced Linux, he needed a mascot. He chose a little penguin named Tux. Tux has been the face of Linux ever since. In 1998, Torvalds acknowledged that Tux was not exactly in the tradition of great mascots like Mickey Mouse, but noted that he’s kind of grown on people. More recently, in 2015, when asked about his favorite part about being the head figure for one of the most widely used software projects in history, Linus said that I think it’s cool to have created something that has made people happy.

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