The Penguin Bowl Challenge - InformationWeek
12:51 PM

The Penguin Bowl Challenge

Think you know your Linux trivia? Test your knowledge against the LinuxWorld contest.

Every year at the end of January, two teams of titans square off in an epic contest of wills. These gladiators have trained for years to reach this moment, and on their shoulders rests the pride of an entire community.

The Super Bowl? No, the Golden Penguin Bowl! This contest takes place at the LinuxWorld Expo--held Jan. 30 this year in New York--instead of in some stuffy stadium. The game? A battle of open-source and computer-trivia knowledge, no padding needed. And the contestants? Forget your muscle-bound bone-breakers; the Golden Penguin Bowl pits a squad of "Nerds" against "Geeks."

This year, each team consisted of three open-source experts and a volunteer from the audience. Do you have what it takes to face off against the pros? Sample these actual questions and see:

  1. What company came out of the "Stanford University Network"?
  2. What encryption technology was patented on Sept. 20, 1983?
  3. Originally founded as Quantum Computer Link, what online service now boasts more than 33 million subscribers?
  4. Name that movie: Greetings! You have been recruited by the star league to defend the frontier against XUR and the Ko-dan armada!
  5. Currently, how many books on Perl does O'Reilly publish, within five?
  6. What is Linus' middle name?
  7. What denial-of-service attack was named after an obnoxious cartoon species?
  8. If your light should go out in the maze in Zork, what will you be eaten by?
  9. What prominent British computer scientist killed himself using a poisoned apple?
  10. What species of penguin calls Phillip Island in the southern tip of Australia its home?

In this year's battle, the Nerds just barely managed to squeak out a victory over the Geeks. How did you do?


  1. Sun Microsystems
  2. RSA
  3. America Online
  4. The Last Starfighter
  5. 22
  6. Benedict
  7. Smurf
  8. Grue
  9. Alan Turing
  10. Fairy, Little Blue, or Eudyptula Minor (all the same bird).

0-3 correct: Wimpy. Leave the trivia to the pros, OK? You could get hurt.

4-6 correct: Not bad! Keep studying and you might someday be a Nerd.

7-9 correct: Excellent! You're ready to recompile a kernel or trade barbs with the feistiest trolls on

10 correct: Perfect! But haven't you got some coding to do, Mr. Torvalds?

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