The image on the cover of Fedora Linux is a cowboy roping a calf. In the Old West, horseback cowboys entrapped and retrieved fugitive cattle with the help of a lasso, or lariat, a rigid noose that could be tossed over a wayward animal's neck and easily tightened with a pull of the rope. The stiffness of the rope ensured that the noose maintained its wide aperture in midair.
Today, this activity is an official rodeo event called tie-down roping, sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. In this competition, a calf is released from a narrow holding pen, referred to as the bucking chute, into the rodeo arena. After giving his conquest a brief head start, the cowboy chases after the calf on his specially trained horse and attempts to rope it as quickly as possible. He then must expeditiously tip the animal on its side, a maneuver known as flanking, and use another tiny piece of rope, the pigging string, to bind together any three of its four legs. If the calf is unable to break free from its fetters in six seconds or less, the cowboy's attempt is a success, and his official time is registered. Leading professional ropers can ensnare and immobilize a calf in approximately seven seconds.
The cover image and chapter opening graphics are from the Dover Pictorial Archive. The cover font is Adobe ITC Garamond. The text font is Linotype Birka; the heading font is Adobe Myriad Condensed; and the code font is LucasFont's TheSans Mono Condensed.