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

Posted on in Categories Linux, Linux desktop last updated July 12, 2011

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.


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

Big Penguins
Classic Penguins

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

Sample outputs:

Sonic the Hedgehog
The Simpsons
Winnie the Pooh
Big Penguins
Classic Penguins

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:

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. He has worked with global clients and in various industries, including IT, education, defense and space research, and the nonprofit sector. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+.

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  1. 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 How can I do that? My best guest is either install xpenguins on or do some trick with ssh -X option.

  2. Bodhi Linux can run selected Xpenguins as a ‘gadget’. They can be switched off or can run automatically at start – up, The Xpenguin website 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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