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 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:

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:

If you enjoyed this desktop fun app, you may also like to use the following apps on Linux:

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I'm Vivek Gite, and I write about Linux, macOS, Unix, IT, programming, infosec, and open source. Subscribe to my RSS feed or email newsletter for updates.

15 comments… add one
  • Mariusz Jul 12, 2011 @ 8:35

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

    • 🛡️ Vivek Gite (Author and Admin) nixCraft Jul 12, 2011 @ 10:26

      Thanks for the heads up!

  • Bill W Jul 12, 2011 @ 13:42

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

  • Bill W Jul 12, 2011 @ 14:20

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

  • TryMe Jul 12, 2011 @ 16:58

    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.

    • rexmo Jul 14, 2011 @ 20:36

      I wanna know too!

      • RawShark Jul 26, 2011 @ 10:48

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

    • BoBo Jul 27, 2011 @ 21:45

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

  • archy Aug 8, 2011 @ 15:26

    good job,what a wonderful idea!!

  • dig computer Aug 26, 2011 @ 16:43

    i liked it. i will give a try for xpenguins 🙂

  • tecmobeto Aug 29, 2011 @ 4:10

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

  • Maple Grove MN Geothermal Systems Aug 30, 2011 @ 16:43

    Too awesome. Thanks!

  • Dibyajyoti Sarkar Feb 12, 2012 @ 5:02

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

  • Bill73 Aug 26, 2012 @ 15:32

    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.

  • empleos chihuahua Nov 16, 2015 @ 2:55

    I really like it too, ty so much for this post

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