Throughout the IT industry, the familiar cuddly penguin graphic is immediately associated with open source operating system, Linux.
But why a penguin? Well, according to Linus Torvalds, creator of Linux, it's because "Linus likes penguins. That's it."
Emails dating back to May 1996, sent by Torvalds to the Linux kernel mailing list, show that he managed to stop the 'what logo shall we use for Linux?' debate firmly in its tracks by casually mentioning that he liked penguins.
In one mail dated 9 May 1996, Torvalds said: "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'."
He then explains: "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.
"Now, working on that angle, we don't really want to be associated with a randy penguin (well, we do, but it's not politic, so we won't), so we should be looking at the 'stuffed to its brim with herring' angle here."
And so, the familiar cuddly, stuffed-with-herring penguin image was born.
All that remained was for another Linux geek, Larry Ewing, to paint Tux the penguin we know today.
And why Tux? Well, one suggestion is that penguins look like they're wearing tuxedos.
Alternatively, there's the T(orvalds) U(ni)X theory, but most believe that the newsgroup thread just fizzled out and Tux stuck as the name.
The other alternative was "Homer", because according to Linux guru Albert Cahalan, Tux, "... looks too much like Homer Simpson."
There is also a real live Tux, currently living in Bristol Zoo. Apparently a number of UK Linux fans, including Torvalds' right-hand man, Alan Cox, decided to sponsor a real penguin as a birthday present for Torvalds.
The way of the penguin has been carefully documented by Steve Baker and can be seen here.
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