BSD logo

Chad Perrin perrin at
Sat Jul 24 06:26:36 UTC 2010


I do not represent the FreeBSD project in any way, shape, or form.  I am
certain any such people would be much nicer and more polite about this
than me.  I'm sure I would be much nicer and more polite about it if I
became a representative of the FreeBSD project at some point in the
future.  Because I am not officially affiliated with the project at all,
though, I feel free to be brutally honest.

On Sat, Jul 24, 2010 at 06:01:07AM +0400, Victor Skovorodnikov wrote:
> This may sound strange but I have a question about logo.  Why such a
> logo for BSD?  What is the meaning of that logo?

It's a reference to "daemons", a type of software that runs in the
background "listening" for connections.  The term "daemon" has ancient
roots in Greek mythology and has nothing to do with more recent Christian
notions of "demons".  In short, mythological "daemons" are basically just
supernatural beings of lower power and stature than the pantheon of Greek
gods, and computer "daemons" are helpful programs.

> I have always been thinking of trying FreeBSD but as a Christian I get
> deterred by its un-Christian logo.

Good grief.  Are you referring to the cartoon character?

It's a cartoon character.  It's not an attempt to lure your children to
join Satan's armies.  There's no reason to be "deterred" from giving
FreeBSD a try just because of a friendly cartoon character.

People who value their wool socks should not be deterred from using MS
products because of the stupid moth mascot used by MSN, and those who
dislike arctic climates shouldn't be deterred from using Linux-based
systems because Linux uses a penguin as its mascot.  By the same token,
the notion that a red cartoon character with horns should deter a
Christian from using FreeBSD is kind of silly.

I was a member of a military unit known as the Red Devils years ago.  I
did not feel like I was being corrupted by Evil.  Perhaps you would be
deterred from being my friend because of this, nonetheless.  If that is
the case, though, I think I'm better off without you.

While I normally prefer to take an inclusive approach to dealing with
people who run into obstacles in their approach to thinking about OSes,
there are cases where I simply feel the urge to throw my hands in the air
and giving up on someone.  Such cases are those where it seems likely
that some kind of closed-minded idolatry (which is exactly what this is:
taking a cartoony mascot as some kind of Manifest Presence of a
supernatural, superhuman Force, Principle, or Being) is going on.  Either
you will get over it, or you will not, and it is only a very faint hope
that pointing out the ludicrousness of your objection that compels me to
respond at all.

If you're talking about the weird sex toy thing that has become the
new(er) official FreeBSD logo, however, it seems the FreeBSD project
simply can't please some people.  I'm pretty sure that was made so
ambiguous and largely meaningless specifically because of fear of
negative reactions from those who cannot imagine going through life
without being offended -- and it still isn't working, if that's the
reason for your complaint.

It may be "un-Christian", but if so it's "un-Christian" like a penguin or
a moth is "un-Christian", and not like a burning cross would be (and I'd
call that "anti-Christian" instead, anyway).

> Have you considered changing it to something else?  Doesn't have to be
> an angel, but perhaps something neutral ;-) ?

I hope the logo doesn't change because of silly requests from those who
cannot have religious beliefs without also being reasonable human beings.

This whole thing reminds me of a conversation I had in the early '90s
where someone told me that a Nine Inch Nails song called "God's Money"
was blasphemous.  Of course, there is no Nine Inch Nails song by that
name, and the song the person was talking about ("Head Like A Hole")
doesn't have the words "God's money" in it at all.  The guy had misheard
something and leaped to an erroneous conclusion without bothering to
consider the possibility he was just a reactionary idiot.

Someone's sure to call me intolerant or abrasive as a result of this
email, but frankly, I don't care.  Guilty as charged: I am not tolerant
of intolerant, willfully ignorant fundamentalists, regardless of what
fundamentalism infects them.

It's not like you couldn't look up the answer to your question about the
meaning of the cartoon mascot character on the Internet fairly easily
anyway, assuaging your fears of eternal damnation by choosing the wrong
OS.  The desire to be outraged appears to be stronger than the desire to
educate oneself.

When this is the way someone starts a "discussion" about wanting to use a
new OS, I tend to believe there is no genuine interest in using the OS in

Chad Perrin [ original content licensed OWL: ]
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