Tux4Ubuntu is an initiative to include the Linux penguin TUX to the OSes he powers. But what’s the story about Tux? Why do Linux have a penguin as its mascot?

Why a Penguin?

Legend has it that it all started at the National Zoo and Aquarium in Canberra, Australia, 1993. It is believed that Linus Torvalds, the creator of the operative system Linux, was bitten and therefore smitten by a mystical disease called “Penguinitis” which makes you stay awake at night thinking about penguins and feeling great love for them. [1], [2] True or not, Linus had a great love for them which can be seen in his early notes regarding the Linux mascot:

“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.” ~ Linus Torvalds 1996-05-09 [3]

Later for the announcement of Linux 2.0 Linus when the penguin now was the official logo Linus continues to expand the view of the TUX:

“Some people have told me they don’t think a fat penguin really embodies the grace of Linux, which just tells me they have never seen a angry penguin charging at them in excess of 100mph. They'd be a lot more careful about what they say if they had.” ~ Linus Torvalds 1996-06-19 [4]

The name and the drawings

The name TUX were explained by James Hughes that is stood for T__orvalds __U__ni__X. It’s also an abbreviation of TUXedo, the outfit often associated with penguins. [5] TUX was first drawn by Larry Ewing using the first publicly released GIMP version 0.54 [6].

Actual screenshot

It has since then been redrawn by Sergey Smith (also known as the FoxyRoit) [7][8] which is the version Tux4Ubuntu uses today.

Tux Classic Flat Look 3D

The Team behind Tux4Ubuntu

Josef Norlin (Tuxedo Joe) have since his youth questioned why the Linux Penguin TUX were so alienated from the Linux flavors he used. As he grew older he decided to be the change and starting with Ubuntu he created the Tux4Ubuntu project. Add him on Twitter @josefnorlin or check out his website at https://josefnorlin.com.

Tux joined the team early in the process. He read about Tux4Ubuntu’s first release on OMG! Ubuntu (his absolut favorite news source regarding Ubuntu) and decided to join the team. He then handpicked the themes, games and more that was going to be included in today’s Tux4Ubuntu package. Follow him on Twitter as @realTux.