I. Histoire

Nous sommes en 1996, une discussion, que dis-je, un débat, commence sur la mailing list linux-kernel à propos d'un logo, d'une mascotte pour Linux.
Beaucoup de propositions ont été suggérées, notamment, des parodies des logos des OS existants ou des animaux grands, forts et rapides tels que des aigles ou des requins. Puis, un jour, Linus Torvalds a annoncé qu'il aimerait bien un manchot. Cela a directement mis fin au débat.

Après plusieurs tentatives de dessins de manchots, quelqu'un a suggéré un manchot portant le monde sur ses épaules. Voici l'e-mail de Linus en réponse à cette personne :

Re: Linux Logo prototype.
Linus Torvalds (torvalds@cs.helsinki.fi)
Thu, 9 May 1996 17:48:56 +0300 (EET DST)

Somebody had a logo competition announcement, maybe people can send their
ideas to a web-site..
.
Anyway, this one looks like the poor penguin is not really strong enough to
hold up the world, and it's going to get squashed. Not a good, positive logo,
in that respect..
.
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.
.
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.
.
So when you think "penguin", you should be imagining a slighly 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.
.
Now, if you have problems associating yourself with something that gets
off by eating raw fish, think "chocolate" or something, but you get the
idea.
.
Ok, so we should be thinking of a lovable, cuddly, stuffed penguin
sitting down after having gorged itself on herring. Still with me?
.
NOW comes the hard part. With this image firmly etched on your eyeballs, you
then scetch a stylizied version of it. Not a lot of detail - just a black
brush-type outline (you know the effect you get with a brush where the
thickness of the line varies). THAT requires talent. Give people the
outline, and they 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?".
.
Then we can do a larger version with some more detail (maybe leaning
against a globe of the world, but I don't think we really want to give
any "macho penguin" image here about Atlas or anything). That more
detailed version can spank billy-boy to tears for all I care, or play
ice-hockey with the FreeBSD demon. But the simple, single penguin would
be the logo, and the others would just be that cuddly penguin being used
as an actor in some tableau.
.
Linus

Pour les non-anglophones, Linus voulait simplement un manchot un peu grassouillet qui serait assis en l'attente d'un rot (à cause d'un excès de poisson). Il ne faudrait pas trop de détails, qu'il donne l'impression qu'il s'agit d'une petite peluche que les enfants voudraient acheter (enfin faire acheter à leurs parents) :)


II. Pourquoi un manchot ?

La grande question... Elle a été posée à Linus et voici sa réponse :

Re: Linux Logo
Linus Torvalds (torvalds@cs.helsinki.fi)
Sun, 12 May 1996 09:39:19 +0300 (EET DST)
.
Umm.. You don't have any gap to fill in.
.
"Linus likes penguins". That's it. There was even a headline on it in
some Linux Journal some time ago (I was bitten by a Killer Penguin in
Australia - I'm not kidding). Penguins are fun.
.
As to why use a penguin as a logo? No good reason, really. But a logo
doesn't really ave to _mean_ anything - it's the association that counts.
And I can think of many worse things than have linux being associated
with penguins.
.
Having a penguin as a logo also gives more freedom to people wanting to
use linux-related material: instead of being firmly fixed with a specific
logo (the triangle, or just "Linux 2.0" or some other abstract thing),
using something like a penguin gives people the chance to make
modifications that are still recognizable.
.
So you can have a real live penguin on a CD cover, for example, and
people will get the association. Or you can have a penguin that does
something specific (a Penguin writing on wordperfect for the WP Linux CD,
whatever - you get the idea).
.
Compare that to a more abstract logo (like the windows logo - it's not a
bad logo in itself). You can't really do anything with a logo like that.
It just "is".
.
Anyway, go to "http://www.isc.tamu.edu/~lewing/linux/" for some nice examples..
.
Linus

En gros, "Linus aime les manchots et c'est tout" :)
Plus sérieusement, Linus a été mordu par un manchot en Australie et il trouve ça marrant (allez trouver le rapport) :) Bref, il dit (à juste titre) que le logo en lui-même importe peu, c'est l'association de ce logo et de ce qu'il représente qui est important. Par exemple, vous pouvez voir un vrai manchot sur un CD, vous ferez tout de suite le rapprochement avec Linux.
De plus, il est préfèrable d'avoir un logo dans ce genre, qui est très facile à modifier, à transformer en fonction des besoins (du genre ajouter un accessoire, voici des exemples) plutôt qu'un logo "texte" qui ne peut se modifier (du genre le logo windows).

C'est finalement le manchot de Larry Ewing qui l'emporta.


III. Pourquoi est-il appelé Tux ?

Voici à nouveau le mail d'origine :

Re: Let's name the penguin! (was: Re: Linux 2.0 really _is_ released..)
.
James Hughes (jamesh@interpath.com)
Mon, 10 Jun 1996 20:25:52 -0400
.
(T)orvolds (U)ni(X) --> TUX!

Je pense que je n'ai pas besoin d'en dire plus à ce sujet :)


IV. Petite controverse

Une petite controverse a fait parler à cette époque. Nous avons vu que c'était le manchot de Larry Ewing qui fut adopté par les linuxiens. Hé bien, pas tout à fait...

En fait, pour désigner un logo, un concours fut organisé. Et figurez-vous que ce n'est pas notre manchot préféré qui fut désigné à l'origine. En effet, voici le logo qui l'emporta :

Ce logo, dessiné par Matt Ericson l'emporta avec 785 votes contre 541 pour le manchot de Larry Ewing. Voici l'avis de Linus :

"Compare that to a more abstract logo (like the windows logo - it's not
a bad logo in itself). You can't really do anything with a logo like
that. It just 'is'."

C'est ce que j'expliquais ci-dessus, aucune modification ne serait possible avec ce logo. C'est donc pour cela que Tux fut adopté par la plupart des linuxiens.

Voila, j'espère que vous avez apprécié cette petite présentation.
A bientôt :)

(courage...)