December 6th, 2010

QUOTE: Linus Torvalds once said, "Some people have told me they don't think a fat penguin really embodies the grace of Linux, which just tells me they have never seen an angry penguin charging at them in excess of 100mph. They'd be a lot more careful about what they say if they had."

DESCRIPTION: This file captures what a penguin charging at 100mph sounds like as it overtakes the listener and then zips on by. It is a beautiful sound.

MOTIVATION: I made this short effect because I wanted something pleasant to hear when my Debian GNU/Linux computer boots up. By default the GDM3 login screen plays a sound called "bell.oga" from Freedesktop.org, which is jarring and unpleasant. While perhaps good for alarms, bell.oga is definitely the wrong sound to welcome a person to the most sophisticated, yet robust and strangely charming, herring-scented operating system in the world.

DETAILS: The sampling rate of this sound is 8000Hz for two reasons: Because it doesn't use frequencies higher than the Nyquist frequency (4000Hz in this case) and because that's what the original, public domain Sun A-law file I based this on was sampled at. Oh, and because, at 8kHz mono, Vorbis compressed, this file is small enough to fit on a Commodore 64, with room to spare.

CREATION: This sound is a remix of WoodWordsC3.au which is shipped as one of the default sounds with GNUstep. I remixed it using Audacity and some very simple processing: I added a fading tail because the original sound stops abruptly, dup'd it and reversed it, boosted bass frequencies around C3 (132Hz) and, finally, dropped the pitch of the second half from a C to an A. I think the result is quite lovely, but then I started from great material. I wish I could find the original, now lost in time, author of WoodWordsC3.au as she (or he) was a genius.

FUTURE: I think the only improvement that could be made on this sound is if it was in multichannel theatre surround so you could hear the 100mph penguin approaching from behind you and then blast ahead. I actually did make a version which does that (using sox's "remix" effect), but I might not upload it as I am not yet happy with it.

LICENSE: Because this sound was specifically created to be useful to Debian GNU/Linux, it is available on more liberal terms than the default Creative Commons Sampling Plus license which freesound.org uses. At your option, you may choose to use, modify, and redistribute this sound under the terms of the Creative Commons ShareAlike license version 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or the GNU General Public License version 3 or later (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html).


  • avatar
    TheScarlettWitch89 5 years, 1 month ago

    Your description is very...interesting. Really cool sound, thanks. :)

  • avatar
    ILikePenguins32 5 years, 9 months ago

    This Makes me happy.

  • avatar
    taity66 8 years, 7 months ago

    You wanna make a short film soundtrack for me? I may have a few dollars to throw your way. threesprings66@yahoo.com.au

  • avatar
    marshmelow1 9 years ago

    I had it looping for 5 minutes, something disturbing yet soothing about it.

  • avatar
    alexpovy 10 years ago

    Thank you soooo much!!really beautyful!

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Ogg Vorbis (.ogg)
26.3 KB
32 kbps
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