Tux the Penguin is the official emblem of Linux, This eventuated after a logo contest in 1996, during which Linus Torvalds endorsed the idea of a penguin logo in a couple of famously funny postings. Linus explained that he was once bitten by a killer penguin in Australia and has felt a special affinity for the species ever since. (Linus has since admitted that he was also thinking of Feathers McGraw, the evil-genius penguin jewel thief who appeared in a Wallace & Grommit feature cartoon, The Wrong Trousers.)

Larry Ewing designed the official Tux logo. It has proved a wise choice, amenable to hundreds of recognizable variations used as emblems of Linux-related projects, products, and user groups. In fact, Tux has spawned an entire mythology, of which the Gospel According to Tux and the mock-epic poem Tuxowolf are among the best-known examples.

There is a ‘real’ Tux — a black-footed penguin resident at the Bristol Zoo. Several friends of Linux bought a zoo sponsorship for Linus as a birthday present in 1996.