Linux Desktop Fun: Summon Swarms Of Penguins To Waddle About The Desktop

by on July 12, 2011 · 14 comments· LAST UPDATED June 11, 2012

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XPenguins is a program for animating cute cartoons animals in your root window. By default it will be penguins they drop in from the top of the screen, walk along the tops of your windows, up the side of your windows, levitate, skateboard, and do other similarly exciting things. Now you can send an army of cute little penguins to invade the screen of someone else on your network.

Install XPenguins

Open a command-line terminal (select Applications > Accessories > Terminal), and then type the following commands to install XPenguins program. First, type the command apt-get update to tell apt to refresh its package information by querying the configured repositories and then install the required program:
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install xpenguins

How do I Start XPenguins Locally?

Type the following command:
$ xpenguins
Sample outputs:


Be careful when you move windows as the little guys squash easily. If you send the program an interupt signal (Ctrl-C) they will burst.

Themes

To list themes, enter:
$ xpenguins -l
Sample outputs:

Big Penguins
Bill
Classic Penguins
Penguins
Turtles

You can use alternative themes as follows:
$ xpenguins --theme "Big Penguins" --theme "Turtles"
You can install additional themes as follows:
$ cd /tmp
$ wget http://xpenguins.seul.org/xpenguins_themes-1.0.tar.gz
$ tar -zxvf xpenguins_themes-1.0.tar.gz
$ mkdir ~/.xpenguins
$ mv -v themes ~/.xpenguins/
$ xpenguins -l

Sample outputs:

Lemmings
Sonic the Hedgehog
The Simpsons
Winnie the Pooh
Worms
Big Penguins
Bill
Classic Penguins
Penguins
Turtles

To start with a random theme, enter:
$ xpenguins --random-theme
To load all available themes and run them simultaneously, enter:
$ xpenguins --all

More links and information:

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This entry is 4 of 5 in the Linux / Unix Desktop Fun series. Keep reading the rest of the series:
  1. Terminal ASCII Aquarium
  2. Steam Locomotive
  3. Let it Snow On Your Desktop
  4. Summon Swarms Of Penguins To Waddle About The Desktop
  5. Text Mode Box and Comment Drawing

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mariusz July 12, 2011 at 8:35 am

You missed something ;)
–> $ sudo apt-get install xpenguins

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2 nixCraft July 12, 2011 at 10:26 am

Thanks for the heads up!

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3 Bill W July 12, 2011 at 1:42 pm

To exit the theme: press Ctrl-c. But who wants to???

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4 Bill W July 12, 2011 at 2:20 pm

I really love it!!! So cute and fun. Thanks!

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5 TryMe July 12, 2011 at 4:58 pm

Now you can send an army of cute little penguins to invade the screen of someone else on your network.

How do I do that? Say I want to send an army of penguins to invade the screen of friend who is running Ubuntu desktop at 192.168.1.100. How can I do that? My best guest is either install xpenguins on 192.168.1.100 or do some trick with ssh -X option.

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6 rexmo July 14, 2011 at 8:36 pm

I wanna know too!

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7 RawShark July 26, 2011 at 10:48 am

It can’t be done – don’t know how the author decided it could be.

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8 BoBo July 27, 2011 at 9:45 pm

@All, I think it was a *Joke*.

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9 archy August 8, 2011 at 3:26 pm

good job,what a wonderful idea!!

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10 dig computer August 26, 2011 at 4:43 pm

i liked it. i will give a try for xpenguins :)

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11 tecmobeto August 29, 2011 at 4:10 am

I really love it!!! So cute and fun. Thanks!

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12 Maple Grove MN Geothermal Systems August 30, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Too awesome. Thanks!

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13 Dibyajyoti Sarkar February 12, 2012 at 5:02 am

But it stop the programme as I close terminal. How Can Linux start xpenguins by itself at stratup ?

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14 Bill73 August 26, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Bodhi Linux can run selected Xpenguins as a ‘gadget’. They can be switched off or can run automatically at start – up, The Xpenguin website xpenguins.seul.org seems to be down though so I have no idea how the switching on/off works, except through Terminal. Glad to hear from anyone who knows the answer.

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