At KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America last week, we welcomed Hazel the Hedgehog and Linky the Lobster to the Phippy and Friends family, thanks to the Helm and Linkerd project teams. Hazel and Linky not only represent the hard work and imagination of the maintainers, they help illustrate the concept of Helm Charts and Service Mesh. Next time you’re breaking down these concepts for folx who don’t share your background knowledge, how about using Linky and Hazel? In fact, you can even borrow pages from the Cartografos Group’s new book: Admiral Bash’s Island Adventure with Phippy and Friends. 

Are you a maintainer on a graduated project? Want to donate a character? Learn more here and fashion a Phippy!

Jumping through Jargon

Cloud Native computing is an incredible space, but it’s often tricky to explain in ways that non technical folx can grasp. Even experienced engineers find it challenging sometimes. The CNCF exists not just to advance the cloud native ecosystem, but to help folx from all backgrounds embrace technology, get excited about the possibilities it offers, and to ultimately join #TeamCloudNative. 

We know that tech is becoming more and more diverse — which is fantastic —  but we want to keep encouraging more folx from all walks of life to consider a cloud native career. After all, there is so much evidence that shows how diversity, equity and inclusivity (DEI) in open source impacts positively on society as a whole. A BCG study of more than 1,700 companies around the world revealed that diversity boosts innovation by expanding the range of a company’s ideas and options, leading to better financial performance. Together we are stronger, faster, better, and more innovative.

One way we can continue to boost DEI is to improve our technical communications. When we talk about tech in an accessible, straight-forward manner, we open the doors to more folx than ever before — folx who might think that tech is far too complicated.

In come Phippy and Friends

In 2016, Deis (now part of Microsoft Azure) platform architect Matt Butcher was looking for a way to explain Kubernetes to technical and non-technical people alike. Inspired by his daughter’s prolific stuffed animal collection, he came up with the idea of “The Children’s Illustrated Guide to Kubernetes.” Together with Karen Chu, and Bailey Beougher, he created Phippy, the yellow PHP application giraffe, and set her off on her first adventure.

In 2018, Phippy was donated to the Linux Foundation and today, the Phippy characters are free to use to teach others about cloud native computing. 

Phippy’s mission

From a humble PHP app, Phippy has gone on to help thousands of folx take their first steps to understanding cloud native computing — from containerisation to automation. Today, Phippy and Friends’ mission is to demystify cloud native computing and explain complicated concepts in a compelling, engaging and easy-to-understand manner, through books, presentations and even Twitter threads.

It’s not just for bedtime stories, you’re free to use the Phippy and Friends characters in your day-to-day work, especially when you’re tasked with explaining your team’s projects and products to folx who don’t share the same technical background. 

Phippy Collateral 

The Phippy and friends characters (Phippy, Goldie, Captain Kube, Zee, Hazel and Linky) are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY), which means that you can remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially. If you use the characters, please include the text “” to provide attribution (and online, please include a link to

You can download images of the Phippy characters in the CNCF artwork repo, in svg, png, and ai formats, in color, black, and white.

Don’t forget — there is also Phippy and Friends swag available, including hard-copies of Phippy’s books, including the brand-new book Admiral Bash’s Island Adventure, and plush toys, on the CNCF store