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Jerry McAllister jerrymc at
Sat Jul 24 18:59:46 UTC 2010

On Sat, Jul 24, 2010 at 06:01:07AM +0400, Victor Skovorodnikov wrote:

> Hi!
> This may sound strange but I have a question about logo.  Why such a 
> logo for BSD?  What is the 
> meaning of that logo?

Do you really mean the logo kind of a round ball with points?
Or do you mean the mascott - the little guy with sneakers and 
a trident?   Probably the latter.

It has little to do with religion.   
It has to do with the UNIX concept of helper programs what hang
around in the OS and take care of tasks.  Some of these are sshd
that answers remote ssh requests or lpd that handles printer requests.
There are lots of them.   UNIX most basic concept really is that 
each utility or program has a specific task and does it when needed
and then goes on to wait for the next one.  In general, the OS is
mostly made up of a bunch of these utilities just waiting to go to 
work, plus a kind of management program that is the kernel.

In ancient lore there was a bunch friendly characters who hung
around out of sight and waited for a being - human being mostly -
to need help.  One of those creatures would slip in and somewhat
mysteriously do little things to help - not necessarily fix the
whole problem, but place something in the human's way that can help
them solve the problem.  These merry creatures were called daemons
- pronounced  day-mohn.   I guess they are sort of like friendly 
sprites of elves.

As with any myth, the myth of daemons points to some truth beyond
the mere physical aspect of the stories and images.   In this case,
somehow in life, ideas and successes come that we cannot completely
explain by what we knew before.  This is playfully represented by
helpful daemons taking care of things behind the scene.

Some people amused themselves by coming up with images that graphically
represented the UNIX concept of an OS.  Kirk McKusick, one of the early 
and continuing,BSD developers, came up with a sketch of a little creature 
that lightly dashed around (thus the sneakers) and used its special tools 
(represented by the trident) to make the good things of the OS happen - with 
almost all of the work being done behind the scenes.   I don't know how the
pointy tail got added.  Maybe it just filled out the caricature.

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

Again, it is not religious.   People who get weighed down by that thought
are usually not well informed about either ancient history or early
Christian imagery.

Actually I have used the FreeBSD mascot image in church, where I am very 
active.  The uses have been mostly in stuff from the office that had the 
Powered by FreeBSD tag.  No one even noticed.
> Have you considered changing it to something else?  Doesn't have to be 
> an angel, but perhaps 
> something neutral ;-) ?

This has come up on this list a hundred times.   Far better to educate
those who are poorly informed than to roll over to prejudice and


> Thanks,
> Victor.
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