The Gnu IS a Real Creature

by Joey deVilla on January 26, 2009

After winning the auction for the Free Software Foundation plush gnu, I hung out in the hotel lobby, checking my email. I talked with some passers-by, and occasionally Richard Stallman, who sat at the couch across from me, cracked the occasional (and very painful) pun.

In these conversations, I was approached by no less than three people who asked me if the gnu – the animal mascot of the Free Software Foundation — was a real creature or a mythical one.

Doesn’t anyone watch Animal Planet, nature shows or The Great Space Coaster (starring Gary Gnu) anymore?

A gnu running through the veldt

They’re real. Here’s the first line of their Wikipedia entry:

The wildebeest (plural wildebeest or wildebeests), also called the gnu (/gəˈnuː/ or /ˈnjuː/), is an antelope of the genus Connochaetes. It is a hooved (ungulate) mammal.

Maybe it’s time to organize a bus trip of geeks so that we can all go to the zoo.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 freeman January 26, 2009 at 7:08 pm

Gnu is a Real creature while GNU is a Real culture

2 Digital Camera Price Finder January 27, 2009 at 12:11 am

Woah… that thing looks scary – wouldnt’ want to be on the wrong side of it!


3 Andy Brice January 27, 2009 at 6:13 pm

Gnus are pretty geeky, awkward looking things. So I guess they are quite an appropriate mascot for software types.

I started my company, Oryx Digital, not long after being on safari in Namibia. An Oryx is a much more impressive animal IMHO.

4 Kakurady March 20, 2009 at 1:53 pm

That’s why we need more hackers to become furries as well.

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