The bastard child of Chuck, the
BSD daemon, and
Homer Simpson.
Tux is the official mascot for the Linux Operating System, as
selected by Linus Torvalds. Since at least the early 1.3.x days there has been a tradition for naming kernels after animals ("Greased Weasel" comes to mind), and when 2.x rolled around
the word "penguin" kept popping up. It was at this time that Linus decided that the OS needed a mascot.

Before simply annoying everyone with bad aaview-generated ASCII art, I'll also include an interesting factoid: According to a page on the history of Tux, his name isn't short for "tuxedo," but instead is an acronym for "Torvalds' UniX." Of course, the connotation of a tuxedo suit is there.

On to the bad ASCII "art":

                                  __wwQQQQQQQmgap..                                  
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turist = T = tweak

Tux

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.

--Jargon File, autonoded by rescdsk.

The word tux (not the penguin) is slang for tuxedo. You know a penguin suit. Often worn at weddings, proms, and other formal events.

"Some people have told me they don't think a fat penguin really embodies the grace of Linux, which just tells me they have never seen an angry penguin charging at them in excess of 100mph. They'd be a lot more careful about what they say if they had."

--Linus Torvalds, announcing Linux 2.0 on USENET

TUX is also a kernel patch that brings some web server functionality to the linux kernel. It has superceded khttpd which has fallen into disrepair. TUX will likely be included into the mainstream kernel eventually (though there is no sign of it happening currently). TUX is able to serve static pages straight from kernel space, vastly improving performance over userspace deamons like apache. It can cache dynamic content, which will also increase performance. TUX supports virtual hosting. Anything that TUX doesn't understand how to deal with, it passes to a standard httpd, such as apache.

UPDATE: RedHat has apparently filed for some software patents on parts of TUX, I will get more information when I find it

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