Originally Published: Saturday, 7 October 2000 Author: Brian Richardson
Published to: enhance_articles_hardware/Hardware Articles Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

Tux Noir & The Maltese Hardware

Another day, looking for the answers to people's Linux questions. Just another day in the life of Tux Noir, Linux Detective.

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It was another day in the city. Overcast, drizzling and grey. But then, every day is grey when you're a penguin ... we don't see in color. I look down from my office window at the people waddling to work, waiting for the day to unfold. Another day, looking for the answers to people's Linux questions. Just another day in the life of Tux Noir, Linux Detective.

A knock sounded on the frosted glass of my office door. "Come in," I mumbled while clearing the herring doughnut from my throat. The door opened, and a woman entered the room. She was a radiant vision of the female form, the kind of woman who makes a man want to sit on an egg. I knew she was different from all the rest. Don't ask me why, she just was ... when you're a penguin, you know these things.

She sat down. After a moment of awkward silence, she spoke.

"Are you Tux Noir, the Linux Detective?"

"That's right, doll. I suppose my reputation precedes me?"

"Not really", she said, "I got your number from a key chain bottle opener at Linux World Expo."

As usual, a true geek couldn't turn down a free trinket at a trade show. "Well, madam, what can I do with you ... er, for you today? Need a Samba configuration file? Perhaps you're looking for a mirror site for Debian?"

"No Mr. Noir, I have a much harder problem. I need to find drivers for these."

She turned her purse upside down over my desk and opened the latch. Dozens of peripherals fell onto the desk ... network cards, video capture, modems, 3D video cards, 1394, USB ... it looked she had robbed a CompUSA. I was a bit surprised.

"Lady, that's some handbag. But this could get a little expensive. Got any money in there?"

"No, I don't." She daintily put a handkerchief to her face as a small tear rolled down her beak. "These are parts for the computer auction at the orphanage. We have to get them all working by the end of the week or the kids don't get their sardines this month."

God, not the orphans. I have a soft spot for orphans ... well, orphans, and that one dame who waits on tables at The Pink Penguin, but that's another story.

"Okay lady, I've got another way to help. But you'll have to do most of the leg work. There's a few places I know on the Web that will give you the info you're looking for."

So I opened my black book and gave her the low down. I told her about the hardware list at linux.com, where penguins from around the world give links to drivers. There's also http://www.linuxhardware.net/, which searches newsgroups for the latest dirt on hardware support. They also host Driverbase,a driver search engine. The professionals at Linux Tested show results of their certification testing, and give links to test and benchmarking tools they use on the job.

Many Linux sites are dedicated to specific types of hardware. There's The Linux 1394 Project and Linux ATA Development, just to name a few. There's also an extensive Linux on Laptops guide for the penguin on the go.

As new hardware comes out, penguins will give you the skinny on how it performs. Linux Lookup and Linux Tests are among many sites that review hardware without resorting to Windows.

I closed the book and looked at her across the desk. "There's lots more places to look on the Web for the help you need, but that should get you started."

"Thank you Mr. Noir. I don't know how I can ever help you."

I would have bitten my tongue, but birds don't have teeth. I spoke after filtering out a few of the more honest responses.

"Please miss, call me Tux. I never got your name."

"Marilyn. Marilyn Galapagos."

"Well Marilyn, we can get a drink and talk about what you do when you're not helping orphans."

As Marilyn and I headed towards the elevator, I heard the soft sounds of a saxophone in the background. Man, I hate it when they play Kenny G over the music system. But that's just one of the problems you face on the mean streets of the city. But that's just another risk in the life of Tux Noir, Linux Detective.

Brian Richardson hopes Garrison Keillor doesn't find out his "Guy Noir" skit just got ripped off by a 28-year-old computer programmer. Those public radio types are pretty mean.

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