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.

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