Open Ballot: Does Tux help or hinder Linux?


Penguins are cute, right? Pretty much everyone agrees with that, but whether a penguin makes a good mascot for an operating system - that's open to debate. On the one hand, Tux's cheerful face and relaxed posture could be the perfect way to express what we love about Linux. It's not too corporate, it's fun, and it's happy to welcome anyone into its fold. But on the other hand, it could be argued that such a toy-like mascot stops big business from taking the community seriously. Would a more conventional logo make us look more professional? How about a different, more powerful sort of animal?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and we'll read out the best in our podcast. (If you are an actual penguin, please note that in your message, and we will put on the appropriate voice.)

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Your comments

NO! It Should Stay!

(I am a real penguin :D)

I think, Speaking for all penguinkind, that it should stay! the reason for this, is that this mascot, is the only mascot of a big libre project (that we can find), that is a penguin!

Hydrocephalus is no laughing matter.

His head is too big.

Keep him!

I'm relativity new to the Linux world, but must say I like Tux! Even before I thought of trying Linux, every time I saw a penguin in a store I thought Linux.
I can't say the same thing whenever I see a window or an apple.

Now having said that, while looking into different distros to try, I don't recall seeing Tux on any distros website.
I seem to only find Tux on Linux news/review websites, which is fine by me, but I think it would help if the different distros adopted Tux somehow into their logos.

It doesn't say much for a business to dismiss an operating system purely based on a logo/mascot.

I also disagree about him seeming childish. People were constantly saying Windows XP was too Fisher Price like when it first came out, but in the end it became one of (if not the) most popular Windows OS around.

Leave The Penguin Alone

Hands off the penguin.

I forgot...

If there is a LINUX logo/mascot that needs changing, it is XFCE.

I get the idea of it being small, hence the mouse, but mice are vermin. There are plenty of other small, swift creatures out there that do not evoke mental images of women standing on chairs (in 50's sitcoms, as Douglas Adams suggested), New York Subways, nor the movie "Willard".

How about a ferret? They could use the acronym "eXtensible Ferret Computer Environment"...

Acronyms aside, I would like to see just a logo, like KDE...

I love Tux the Tux

For me, Tux was one of the things hich led me to Linux. It is a great symbol!

Better than an apple on the back of my netbook

Having one of your tux stickers on my red coated lenovo
netbook certainly adds to the geek factor.
Half of the people I meet think it's cute, the other really
knows what it stands for (mostly other non-linux geeks).

nuh uh

I have been looking into Linux for a bit now and am excited about it all. I know almost nothing about it but hope to join the fray.

When I see the ubuntu logo I get excited and interested.

But I have always thought Tux was awful looking.

More penguinery

The problem with Tux representing Linux is:

1 (S)he's fat, which suggests sluggish.
2 Penguins are birds that can't fly, so living a Walter Mitty existence.
3 They mostly live in Antarctica, a continent not renowned for technical leadership.
4 "Tux" is short for "tuxedo" in American (dinner jacket to speakers of English), so either SHE is a cross-dressing American or HE is an elitist American.

So, a good symbol if you approve of a sluggish, deceptive, elitist and low-technical-innovation-level symbol.

But he's still better than the Windows windows.

Tux is Linux

Normal people (group 1: users, administrators) use applications.
Applications (group 2: app developers) use operating system.
Operating systems and drivers (group 3: OS/driver developers) use Kernel.
Kernel (group 4: Kernel developers) uses Hardware.

The first group is the most important for the future of Linux-based solutions. But why should any of them care about Kernel? Normally, all their problems should be solved (and questions answered) by group 3. Maybe there are cases when there's something specific, but that kind of puts them in to the group 2.

If admins want Linux, they should stop talking about it. They should choose and talk about Debian, Red Hat, SuSE or whatever, but apparently they're not in need of Linux kernel alone, they're in need of full-blown OS.

By the way, if Kernel developers in MS decided to have a childish kitty mascot, they could (and who knows, maybe they have their mascot on their intranet pages, parties, t-shirt and anywhere else). But MS obviously wouldn't put it on the box--they're selling OS, not Kernel.

So the answer is: No. Don't blame Tux. Tux is not here to "sell" (or "help distribute") Linux. It's responsibility of OS (or "distro") maintainers to make their product (look) good enough, same Microsoft holds for Windows.

Tux is good

Whenever I see a penguin, in print, in the zoo or on TV, I think of Linux. To me, Tux stands for Linux and I wouldn't be surprised if that accounts for other people as well. It is never wise to change a mascotte. People associate the product with it. Did Microsoft ever change the flag? Did Apple ever change the apple?
They didn't. Linux and Tux are a set.


Tux is an excellent mascot, everybody already recognizes Tux as the mascot, so why change it?

This may or may not be biased since I do have a Tux tattoo. :-)

Yes! Tux has been great,

Yes! Tux has been great, and has established a singular identity, which is what we need to counter all the FUD around Linux fragmentation. There are plenty of non-serious logos and corporate names that haven't gotten in the way of profits - consider Google, Yahoo!, and GoDaddy. Besides, he's already formally dressed - what more could the C-suite want?

I vote for Tux. He has that

I vote for Tux. He has that warm fuzzy, non threatening, inviting look. If you want a penguin with macho, check out Their mascot is chips. He's the mascot for the linux EMC project. Now there's a penguin with BUFF!
Chips has a micrometer in on fin and a sledge hammer in the other. Sadly, they took him down on the home page, but you can still view him in the upper right hand corner if you click the wiki tab.

Losing Tux would possibly turn people off

It all depends on individual taste I suppose, but on the whole, when many advertisements sport animals, cartoon, puppets or otherwise, like the Meerkats, I think that Tux is quite in tune. A more serious mascot might even turn many people off.

If Tux may be seen as childish by some, who may be too serious for their own good, he could also be seen as signifying that Linux is childs-play, easy to operate and user friendly as well as accessible. Of course it can get more complicated as well, but as long as the experts who love working at the terminal face are helpful and welcoming to newbies who need to stick to the graphic interface, this need not be too much of a problem.

I think what may really put some corporates off Linux is the simple fact of their ignorance of it, combined with the hold that Microsoft has on the market. Linux has not done itself many favours though in the past by sometimes getting a bit too complicated as I found it to be when I first put my big toe into the water to try it some years ago. However nowadays it has developed much further and with a little investment of time in getting familiar with it, it can stand tall against Windows any day, at least as long as developers do not introduce "improved" interfaces prematurely so that they are more trouble than they are worth, as I have sometimes found.

As others have said, not all distros have Tux within their logos and so the corporate person looking into Linux has plenty of more serious logos to look at. In the end, I think that once the message about Linux gets out and the brainwashed millions cotton on that there is life outside Windows, the discovery that Linux can even be more versatile than Windows and free ought to win hearts and minds.

I love watching Alexandr Orlov the Meerkat humorously encouraging me to check the market. When so much else is so unhappy and serious, he cheers me up and so does Tux. I most enthusiastically vote "yes" to keep him - simples :-)


I always thought that Tux may be well stabilished among Linux circles, but does not help make it to look like a serious enough software for the less technical or open-minded ones.

A logo doesn't need to feature a powerful animal or complex design. Just look at Apple, Ubuntu, Toyota, HP, and even Windows.

I'm a developer and now a Linux enthusiast, after over a decade using Windows. During these years, I once in a while paid some attention to Linux world, and every time I saw Tux, it made me think: 'software being pulled up by kids'. Terribly wrong perception, I know and I knew it back then, but I couldn't help but notice it that way.

If I were to give a solution, I'd keep Tux as an "inside" logo, more community oriented. Where more open publicity takes place, I'd use something more polished, serious-looking.

Nothing is permanent

Loved and voted for it back in the day, but a new cool modern penguin design would be very welcomed.

"We should not complain about impermanence,
because without impermanence, nothing is possible." ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Tuxedo Junction

Please Save Tux!
Linux is such a blessing and a curse: it is both remarkably powerful, and exasperatingly balkanised. With all these disparate factions, Tux is a needed anchor, a hope of harmony, cooperation and continuity. Tux needs a new manager.

Get Tux some decent press

Right, Hands Off the Penguin; unless you can get him some decent press. How's that going to happen when every distribution has its own logo? Not sure, but it is your duty. He belongs on every retail hardware box, for example, right next to to Mac and PC logos.

Here's an idea: Give Tux a voice. When you release your new hardware, choose the two most popular distributions to print under Tux:
Caption his image to clue in the masses:
"Linux Compatible, including Ubuntu, Mint and many others."

He's going to get badly stressed out when Windows 8 arrives: M$ is doing their level best to exclude him from your next NTFS volume. And yes; I am voting twice.
Now do your duty.

Enterprise does not get it

Now come on....

do you really think enterprise does not take it serious and professional because it is a draw and cartoon-y?

They just do not understand the whole thing. It is simple as that.

Tux should continue being the LINUX KERNEL MASCOT.

An apple with a bite and a rainbow inside looks pretty professional right? Come on....

Penguin is good. Tux is not.

I agree with Mike K. Penguin is a great animal. It just needs to be depicted right.

tux is epic

Tux is epic, esp tin foil hat and hardened tux. If I wanted another slick and shining focus group created product I would stop using linux. I do not think for a second apple is any less kiddy and the windows logo is just gay. Stop trying to make linux something it's not.

How come no one mention linux is the number 2 most used os on the planet? Seems some people don't feel a logo is the deciding factor.

If a company won't use a product based on it's logo then it should probably get out of the economy before it's retardation spreads and messes up my portfolio. If it is based upon the product not meeting their needs is another thing all together.

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