Let penguins take over your desktop!

Xpenguins: what?

Xpenguins is a vintage application for Unix systems, showing penguins running, flying, falling etc. on the desktop, using windows as run paths. It was created by Robin Hogan. Often is is mentioned next to xsnow as an application that does not behave well on modern Linux desktops.

After completing xsnow (well: a thing like xsnow is never completely completed ...) I thought it is a good idea to adapt xpenguins also. Robin Hogan also liked the idea, so here it is! Switch over to downloads if you want to download and try it.


  • 2021-02-15: Added a menu.
  • 2021-02-27: version 3.2.0: added double buffering


Since 2021-03-07, xpenguins is accepted in Debian, thanks to Micheal Waltz.


Like xsnow, the original version of xpenguins used the root window to draw it's drawings. That works fine for desktops like FVWM, but on KDE, Gnome and the like, that does not work. Attemps were made to find a window to draw in, but the problem is that xpenguins is fighting against the desktop software to paint someting on the desktop.

I learned in the xsnow project how to create a transparent, click-through window. I followed an example, based on gtk3. Interested reader should have a look at 'transwindow.c'. I suppose it should also be possible using plain X11, but I don't knwo how. So, again I use gtk3 in xpenguins, which inspired me to create a gui as well.

Have fun!