Art and Linux family trees


For Christmas, Danielle bought me a piece called Starstronaut(s) by local artist Mark Alan Miller. We had gone to an art show one Friday night in December, and the piece had caught my eye, but I left as I always do with the phrase, “I’ll think about it”. Knowing how I work, Danielle went back and bought it for me.

Starstronaut(s) captivated me in a big way. It’s a pencil drawing that appealed immediately to the engineer in me—intricately detailed, with gorgeous straight lines and impossibly small beautiful penmanship, interlaced with subtle humor only a true geek could’ve dreamed up. It’s now hanging on my living room wall, and I’ve literally spent hours staring at it, each time picking up some new nuance or other. (There’s a picture above, but it doesn’t begin to capture it.)

A few Fridays ago, Danielle alerted me to the fact that Mark himself would one of the featured artists in the main room at the gallery where we initially saw Starstronaut(s). I had the kids that night, so we all piled in to the car and drove over to the gallery. Danielle’s tenacity quickly found the executive director, who not quite as quickly found Mark. Sure enough, Mark is a true geek—he was familiar with Linux, and with Debian too. I discussed an idea I had had: That I commission a “Linux family tree” piece, done in the same style as Starstronaut(s) (pencil drawing with much embedded humor), and Mark was instantly up for it.

And, so, I’ll be posting a few sketches over the coming days, drawing from my recollection (and a bit of Googling) on the history and lineage of the Linux distros—crowdsourcing, as it were, to make sure our depiction is indeed accurate.

Mark and I are also considering the possibility of doing a reproduction, so if there would be any interest in having a copy of this Linux family tree, please leave me a comment here or email me at imurdock imurdock com. I know how popular the UNIX family tree has been.

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9 Responses to “Art and Linux family trees”

  1. rm says:

    geekiness and art = the awesome. def will want a print for db,

  2. luis says:

    Probably a useful reference:

  3. Phil says:

    Depending on the outcome and the price, I could very possibly be interested.

  4. Yeesh says:

    I wish Sun contributed enough to *our* household income that we could afford to go out and buy ourselves original artworks.

  5. @Yeesh:

    Who pissed in your cornflakes?

    Communibus Locis

  6. [...] Ian Murdock’s Weblog » Art and Linux family trees [...]

  7. Ian Murdock says:


    I’m sorry to hear you didn’t get anything for Christmas this year.


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  9. I’m in for a repro of the Linux lineage work. Id be glad to spend some time helping in the research too if you need it. I’m sure I wouldn’t be very helpful but I can put some time in on it.



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