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Although it could be argued that your average fanboy has already got the present they wanted this xmas in the continuing growth of Linux in terms of both actual deployment and media popularity, or maybe the arrival of the Linux server for Unreal Tournament 3 or even the fact that the BBC iPlayer is now Linux compatible. But no, believe me, when they see the dancing plastic penguin that announces the arrival of new email all that will change.

Anyone into weird and wonderful geeky gadgets will probably recall the manic WiFi rabbit that was Nabaztag and which could tell you when you had new email by waggling his ears or read you the contents of a live newsfeed for example. Well now Linux users have got their very own version in the shape of the Tux Droid which promises to kick some robotic robot ass.

Tux Droid is essentially an open source version of Nabaztag so there are no subscription fees, and the software used is totally customizable should you wish to make it do pretty much anything you like. Oh, and as the name suggests, this is no manic rabbit but rather a large and intelligent plastic version of the Linux mascot, Tux, itself.

Suitably enough, the Tux Droid does not work with Windows so you'll need to be a Linux fanboy already and have a free USB slot to stick your small plastic fish in. This is getting a little surreal now, but yes the wireless transmitter does resemble a small plastic fish I am afraid. Once that's done, the real fun begins as you can configure Tux to dance when your email arrives, or operate as your VoIP phone (just don't let anyone see you talking to a penguin.) Get your hands dirty with the open source Python software included and you can code your own applications to exploit the sound or touch inputs, the blinking and flashing eyes, swiveling base, flapping wings and so on.

Tux is rechargeable, supports Linux Kernel 2.4 or later, and incorporates Atmel AVR RISC microcontrollers (code is compiled with GCC and AVR-LIBC) with 4Mbits flash memory for onboard sound. It comes complete with an integrated microphone, infrared receiver, light sensor, switch sensors in both wings, and even a 3.5mm mono audio socket but I am not telling you where…

As Editorial Director and Managing Analyst with IT Security Thing I am putting more than two decades of consulting experience into providing opinionated insight regarding the security threat landscape for IT security professionals. As an Editorial Fellow with Dennis Publishing, I bring more than two decades of writing experience across the technology industry into publications such as Alphr, IT Pro and (in good old fashioned print) PC Pro. I also write for SC Magazine UK and Infosecurity, as well as The Times and Sunday Times newspapers. Along the way I have been honoured with a Technology Journalist of the Year award, and three Information Security Journalist of the Year awards. Most humbling, though, was the Enigma Award for 'lifetime contribution to IT security journalism' bestowed on me in 2011.

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