Penguin Power!

Why a Penguin?

There came a time when the people said, "We need a mascot for the Linux kernel!" And Linus relented.

Lots were drawn from all the entries thrown into the ring. Linus was asked what he liked, and replied, "A penguin."

When asked why a fat and waddling penguin was the appropriate mascot, he said, "If you think penguins are fat and waddle, you have never been attacked by one running at you in excess of 100mph." More on this story at the bottom of this page.

After the people heard, it wasn't too long before "Tux", originally drawn by Larry Ewing, won the mascot competition. Since then Tux has become the generally accepted Mascot for everything having to do with the Linux operating system.

Again the people spoke, saying "We want penguins!" Not just any penguin, but "Tux". So commissioned many high quality professionally designed and produced Penguin Products. Check 'em out below!

And keep checking back, there are more to come. Suggestions welcome.

You can order a large selection of the promotional items below in a single bundle: the Penguin Power Pack!

Plush, cuddly, collectible stuffed-animal representations of the loveable Tux are available in three sizes: ten inches high, six inches high, and four inches high. The six-inch verison was unveiled at the October 1998 Atlanta Linux Showcase, where they proved so popular that our entire stock of 100 prototype penguins were sold in the first 4 hours of the show. Whether you consider them to be toys, desk ornaments, collector's items, or friends and confidants, these fuzzy fellows make a great gift for your favorite Linux lover, or your favorite animal lover, or your favorite anybody! Safe for children too - read about the safety report on Tux!

Two new, bigger sizes were introduced in March of 1999: eighteen inches high, and a whopping thirty-six inches high. The stuffed penguins are manufactured in China especially for

Let the world know you love Linux and Tux by wearing, using, and displaying any or all of these products, and also giving them away as gifts!

You can put Penguin Power Stickers, inspired by the Linux Sticker Movement. Put them on your computer, your car, your notebooks, wherever you would like Tux the Penguin to reside and add cheer! In addition to fun images of Tux, these stickers include warning decals with instructions for shutting down a Linux system safely, so that you won't lose data to inexperienced or careless users. More sticker details are available here

Wear a Penguin Power T-Shirt with pride that you too are a Linux advocate! A great way to meet people and make friends, as well as start conversations about things you have in common. Even non-Linux people love to wear this great shirt. Our CEO has met many people around the country as he travelled, because they saw him wearing this shirt and approached to talk about Linux! Available in sizes XL, XXL, and XXXL.

One size fits all! This tasteful 1.25" diameter Penguin Power Button looks as good on the lapel of a business suit as on your favorite denim jacket. Retailers take note: it comes pinned to a cardboard backing that's punched to hang on a display rack and has a UPC barcode.

This Penguin Power Bumper Sticker states the message about as plainly as can be. Sold by itself or in bundles like Red Hat Plush with Penguin Power and Red Hat Power Pack.

And while we are at it, don't forget what this is all about! Linux!
Check out the $1.89 Linux CD page at /shop/specials/FreeCD , where you can get em cheap enough to give em away!
The Associate Referral program /program/associate , where you can make money for being a Linux Advocate, and
the Linux Top 40 bestseller list /hotlist/ , where you can find out every month what the most popular Linux Products were.
Finally, Promote your own site and Linux by signing up for the "Linux Used Here" program /program/exhibit .

Why the Penguin; The legend continues:

Submitted by: Tyson Dowd   <>

I read your explanation of the origin of the Penguin for Linux
and must protest -- it is wrong.  I dare say the Linus has never
been to Antartica -- very few people have.  You certainly don't
tend to get to just casually visit folks down there very often.

The penguin in question (the one that bit Linus) actually lived
in a zoo in Canberra, Australia.  Here's the story in Linus' own words:

     From: Linus Torvalds <> 

     Ok, short version:
     I've always liked penguins, and when I was in Canberra a few years
ago we went to the local zoo with Andrew Tridgell (of samba fame). There
they had a ferocious penguin that bit me and infected me with a little
known disease called penguinitis. Penguinitis makes you stay awake at
nights just thinking about penguins and feeling great love towards them.
So when Linux needed a mascot, the first thing that came into my mind
was this picture of the majestic penguin, and the rest is history. 

     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. 

     Final comment:
     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!). 

Product: Tux the Penguin, Further Information


None. You don't even have to know about Linux. You just have to know someone who appreciates cute plush toys. Yourself, maybe.

Further Information:

In addition to being irresistably cute, soft, and cuddly, Tux plush toys are non-toxic, non-allergenic, polyfiberfilled, surface washable, and formally tested safe for all ages.

What makes Tux Tux?

Larry Ewing originally drew the famous "Tux" image now available as both raster & scalable vector versions based on a suggestion from Linus Torvalds, using the GIMP graphics suite (included in most Linux distributions)

Linus Said:

So when you think "penguin", you should be imagining a slightly 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.

[People looking at the penguin] 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?".

- Linus Torvalds

A large 3D version of this image is available here as gif, jpg or tif files.

Penguins can't fly, right?

Well, some intrepid exhibitors at the Linux Pavilion at Comdex Fall/97 ended the flightless penguin era this November.

A person that spoke to Mark Bolzern at's booth saw the penguins and said he would try Linux when Penguins flew. Mark had an idea, and went next door to Red Hat's booth with one. They had a helium tank and ballons.

For the record, 41 helium-filled balloons tied to Tux's wings are sufficient to free him from the confines of gravity at Las Vegas' altitude.

But the guy didn't buy. Some you just can't win.

So Marc Merlin tied a string to Tux, and then Tux flew around above him wherever he want, causing people to ask Marc questions, and giving Marc the opportunity to start more converts down the road of discovery.

Here you can see a picture of "Stuffed Tux 1.0" flying past Jon "maddog" Hall at the Linux International booth at Comdex Fall/97

Later, Linux Journal also ran a picture they took at Comdex of the Penguin flying. Unfortunately instead of telling the real story (more fun), they decided to give Red Hat all the credit!

Then the next Linux Pavilion (Fall/98) was much larger partially due to Tux's flight (both physically and metaphorically). You can see Marc Merlin's report for more information.

Tux takes over San Jose, at LinuxWorld Expo, see more in this report by photojournalist Marc Merlin.

Then the next Linux Pavilion (Fall/99) was actually a show of it's own, now known as the Linux Business Expo, the largest Linux related trade show to date with about 35,000 attendees. It had a major advantage over other Linux shows in being able to draw from the International Comdex crowds. Again Marc Merlin's Comdex Fall/99 report is the definitive work on the subject. Note the new Penguin Power van.

The Linux Business Expo was a personal triumph for CEO, Mark Bolzern, who was in a booth with Bob Young and Patrick Volkerding at the 1994 Comdex, saw what could be done, and then more or less created the Linux Pavilion for Linux International at Comdex and Uniforum shows in 1995. After Linux Pro by WGS won a best of Comdex award from Byte Magazine in 1995, the Linux Pavilion took off doubling every year after that, in 1996 with Caldera, Red Hat and other Linux International members. Mark in 1994, also set a goal that "Linus will be keynote speaker at Comdex within 5 years". That was a bold statement back then as Linux was far from widespread, but his prediction did come true as the result of press tours, and a lot of hard work on Mark's part.

Mark when asked, insisted on also giving credit to others who helped after 1995, "Carlie Fairchild, Kit Cosper, Larry Augustine, and Jon "maddog" Hall who later became Executive director of Linux International. Ted Prindle, Bill Mahan, Bill Sell, Jay Mulhern, and especially Sonny Saslaw of ZD/Comdex were also instrumental."

Another page put together by Steve Baker showing his attempt at compiling a complete history of the development of "Tux" the Linux Penguin. This page also contains a picture taken in's Booth at Comdex Fall/98 with's CEO Mark Bolzern, and a lineup of some of's "Tux" penguins.

So now, wasn't that fun? Get some PenguinPower items for yourself or your friends and let the good times roll on!

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