From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Penguicon Starfleet Tux.jpg
Tux visits the Penguicon Consuite
Status Active
Genre Science fiction/Linux User Group
Venue Westin Southfield Hotel, Southfield, MI (2014)
Location(s) Southeastern Michigan
Country United States
Inaugurated 2003
Attendance 1,377 (2014)[1]
Organized by Penguicon Staff

Penguicon is a convention in the midwestern United States designed originally to mix the communities of science fiction fandom and Linux User Groups.[2] In addition to educational panels on science fiction in the media, attendees participate in professional and beginner-level panels on Linux and Open-source software.

Penguicon expanded its focus over the years to include panels and events for foodies, cosplay, filk music (the folk music of science fiction fandom), gaming, and makerspaces.[3] Along with the panels, the convention hosts a "geek prom", a film room, swordfighting demonstrations, a masquerade dance, OpenCola (open source soda making),[4] live action role-playing game, computer, board and cards.[5]

Working alongside local makerspaces i3Detroit and All Hands Active, Penguicon has offered instruction in learning to solder electronic components, which allowed attendees to create their own LED badges.[6]

Over a thousand participants have attended past conventions, which have featured Guests of Honor from Neil Gaiman[7] and John Scalzi[8] to Jon "maddog" Hall and Eric S. Raymond.

Recent Events[edit]

For the 2014 convention, Penguicon's Tech track will focus on privacy and cryptography,[9] with panels on installing cryptographic software, GPG encryption, and setting up a physical firewall on your home network.[10] Cory Docotorow is returning[11] as a Guest of Honor Emeritus to talk about privacy in a post-Snowden world.

Guests of Honor (2014)[12][edit]

Recurring almost guest of honor[edit]

Wil Wheaton has been a guest of honor over multiple years, and has had to cancel each time. In 2009, he had to cancel the morning of the convention, and wrote an apology letter which was read aloud at Opening Ceremonies.[13]

Featured Guests[edit]

Every year, Penguicon invites a dozen or more people (authors, hackers, and entertainers) who are not full Guests of Honor, but are celebrities in their own right, and calls them Featured Guests (formerly "Nifty Guests"). They also invite former Guests of Honor as "Guest of Honor Emeritus". In 2010, this included author Jim C. Hines, musician Tom Smith, and open source advocate Eric S. Raymond.[14]

Tron Guy[edit]

Jay Maynard is known for his self-made electroluminescent Tron Guy costume, which he says debuted at Penguicon in 2004.[15] After submitting photos of himself to Slashdot, he ended up doing regular reporting segments, in costume, for Jimmy Kimmel Live.[16] He has also been on America's Got Talent and a commercial for Duck Brand duct tape. He says he "hasn't missed a Penguicon, and doesn't intend to."

In the Media[edit]

A Science Channel show, Outrageous Acts of Science, replayed a video from Penguicon 2006[17] in which Guest of Honor Howard Tayler recorded people dumping the remains of a dewar of liquid nitrogen into the hotel pool.[18] In 2010, Howard Tayler came back to Penguicon and hosted a second video involving liquid nitrogen and a pool.[19]


Penguicon is held in the spring in the Detroit, Michigan metropolitan area. The venue, a hotel, changes from year to year. This year's hotel is the Westin Southfield Hotel in Southfield, Michigan.[20]


Penguicon announced that the organization E-Nable the Future would be their 2015 Guest of Honor[21] and official sponsored charity for 2015.[22] Along with collecting donations, they are working with E-Nable to provide a 3d-printed limb to a local person in need during the 2015 convention.

Penguicon was listed as a Guardian of Wildlife[23] at the Detroit Zoo in 2013 for donating to symbolically adopt a penguin. Penguicon's logo is a penguin on a rocketship.

In 2013, Penguicon listed the New Beginnings Animal Rescue as their official charity, and Penguicon members donated $700 and 123 pounds of food during the convention weekend.[24]

They also sponsored MHacks III,[25] a weekend-long hackathon held in Detroit in late January that was expected to have up to 1,200 student programmers.[26]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]