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Did Microsoft plunder Linux for the Popfly logo?

While Microsoft maintains that Popfly isn’t a Google or Yahoo copy, the same can’t be necessarily be said for the Popfly pink duckie logo, which has some strong conceptual similarities to the Linux Tux penguin logo.

Microsoft has already admitted that it called in consultants to come up with the name “Popfly”, obviously realizing it wouldn’t be able to come up with a cool Web2.0 name on its own. The company even jokes about its lack of creativity on the Popfly website:

“Well, left to our own devices we would have called ‘Microsoft Visual Mashup Creator Express, May 2007 Community Tech Preview Internet Edition’, but instead we asked some folks for help and they suggested some cool names and we all liked Popfly”.

Perhaps this lack of creativity has also filtered into the process by which the Microsoft developed the Popfly logo.

There are some striking similarities between the two logos:

  • First of all, they obviously look similar, though of course the Popfly logo is a 3D rendered image, while the Tux logo is a drawn image.
  • Second, they both feature birds (yes, the penguin is a flightless bird).
  • Third, both logos are unbearably cute, which is a defining characteristic of the Linux Tux logo.

No doubt the creative geniuses who came up with the Popfly logo would have looked at other logos in the IT arena for inspiration, and it appears that may have been too strongly inspired by the Tux logo.

The copyright holders of the Linux Tux logo, Larry Ewing, Simon Budig and Anja Gerwinski, have been contacted for comment, as has been Microsoft.

Given the ongoing tension between Microsoft and the open source community, I personally think the Popfly logo is too similar to the Linux Tux logo. It should be changed.

I would suggest that the creative geniuses who came up with the Popfly logo should have looked a little further than Linux for inspiration.