About XPenguins

Welcome to the XPenguins home page!

XPenguins was written by Robin Hogan

Ever wanted cute little penguins walking along the tops of your windows? Ever wanted to send an army of cute little penguins to invade the screen of someone else on your network? Probably not, but why not try this program out anyway - it's free (licensed under the GNU GPL).

You need something that runs the X Window System (Linux, Unix etc), and have the ubiquitous XPM library installed.

Microsoft Windows users: install WinPenguins instead!
And please DO NOT ask me when the next version of WinPenguins will be out: I do not maintain this package.

New in version 2.2

  • The squish option: kill toons with your mouse!
  • The themes Bill (images from XBill) and Big Penguins.
  • The ability to run several themes simultaneously.
  • Redraws erased desktop icons.


Most of the default penguin images were taken from the Pingus game. Alternative themes can be selected like this:

xpenguins --theme "Big Penguins" --theme "Turtles"

The xpenguins package includes the themes Penguins, Big Penguins, Classic Penguins, Turtles and Bill. The xpenguins_themes package contains the extra themes The Simpsons, Sonic the Hedgehog, Lemmings, Winnie the Pooh and Worms (distributed separately because the license/copyright situation is unclear).

For usage information type `xpenguins --help' or `man xpenguins'. More themes can be found on the User contributed software page.

Drawing to the correct X window

A number of window managers and desktop environments place a big window over the root window, which programs such as XPenguins must draw to to be seen. Of the WMs and DEs that do this, XPenguins works with KDE 2.0 and 2.1, Nautilus, Enlightenment and a number of simple virtual window managers. On KDE 2.2.1+ you must enable the Support Programs in Desktop Window option under Control Center -> Look & Feel -> Desktop. In KDE 3.3 it is under Control Center -> Window Behavior. Similarly in CDE you should set the backdrop of your workspace with the Style Manager to no-backdrop.

XPenguins GNOME/KDE Applets

The XPenguins GNOME Applet allows you to fill your screen with penguins at the click of a button, as well as being able to change their number and speed on the fly. You must install the basic XPenguins package first. The XPenguins KDE Applet provides a similar service for KDE users.


Designing themes

If you want to create a theme from animated gifs then this gimp script may help. To resize the images of an existing theme try this other gimp script. Send them to me and I'll put them on the User contributed software page.

Development wish list

  • Write a KDE applet.
  • Penguins jump up and down when you get new mail.
  • Penguins talk to each other with little speech bubbles.

My setup at work as of 29 November 1999 (1280x1024) A maze constructed entirely of xterms (1280x1024) I found this at e.themes.org (1280x1024) kmag zooming in on the penguins (1024x768) The XPenguins GNOME applet in action (1600x1200) XPenguins 2.1 and XPenguins Applet 1.0 with four themes in action (1024x768)



XPenguins 2.2 (1 October 2001)

XPenguins GNOME Applet 1.0 (11 June 2001)

For GTK+ version 1.x (e.g. Redhat 7):

XPenguins GNOME Applet 2 (April 2003)

Ported to GTK+ version 2.x by Sebastian Henschel

XPenguins KDE Applet (4 September 2005)

Written by Alex Svetos for KDE 3

XPenguins Themes 1.0 (16 September 2002)

Penguins screensaver 1.0 (25 May 2003)

Older versions   User contributed software


Other root-window amusements

See XPenguins at...

This page is hosted by Simple End User Linux, who also host Pingus. It uses artwork from the APHEX Enlightenment theme by Jedidiah.