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Remembering tuxlink: A Tribute

by Paul Arnote (parnote)

Sadly, we lost a much beloved member of our PCLinuxOS family on February 20, 2024. Michael A. Duffy, who sometimes went by Mick and more commonly known as tuxlink, passed away after a brief hospitalization. He leaves behind a wife, Therese, a daughter, Shannon, and a son, Michael. tuxlink was 65 years old, and lived in La Verne, California, a suburb of Los Angeles.

tuxlink 2016

tuxlink 2019

tuxlink joined the PCLinuxOS forum on May 14, 2015. Over the years, he made almost 1,700 posts in the forum. He also wrote several articles for The PCLinuxOS Magazine, as well as being featured in this magazine's PCLinuxOS Family Member Spotlight article series. His screenshots were frequently featured in the magazine's Screenshot Showcase most months, due to the high quality of those desktop screenshots.

He was a frequent visitor to the pclinuxos-magazine and #chimpbox chat rooms on PCLOS-Talk. There were many conversations covering a very wide range of topics. He probably spent most of his time in the #chimpbox chat room, where he and YouCanToo (a.k.a. The_CrankyZombie) spent many hours building and nurturing their friendship. He and YouCanToo became great friends, and they would also talk either via text messages or phone calls, as well as in the chat room. One of the things that brought tuxlink and YouCanToo together was their mutual interest in photography.

tuxlink was born in Dublin, Ireland, and in his own words, “In the late 1980's, I literally won the opportunity to go live and work in the United States of America. In 2005, I became a Naturalized Citizen of the United States.”

He worked for 22 years as a postal carrier for the United States Postal Service in Southern California, until issues with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) forced him into early medical retirement.

tuxlink was a frequent visitor to the PCLinuxOS forum, and he doled out assistance frequently to users having issues. He also took a great deal of pride in creating many PCLinuxOS themed wallpapers, and then sharing them with his forum family. But, he is also well known for his humor, injecting humor into many situations and conversations at exactly the right time. He timed his humor injections no less skillfully than the world's best standup comic.

tuxlink 2020

tuxlink 2020

Any time anyone interacted with tuxlink, they were left with feeling like they had a friend for life. His laid back demeanor and constant sharp wit, coupled with his impeccable and unpredictable sense of humor, meant that you NEVER knew what turn the conversation(s) would take next.

As the editor of this magazine, I read a LOT of posts in the PCLinuxOS forum. I never saw tuxlink make hurtful, angry or malicious comments. Instead, I was always thinking that if I had lived closer, I would have *loved* to hang out with him for a while. I was certain, in my mind, that every moment had the possibility of being an epic and uncharted adventure that would be remembered for a very long time. One of my last interactions with tuxlink was asking him for a picture of Texstar he had “embellished,” for Texstar's birthday salute in the February 2024 issue of the magazine (the one with Texstar's birthday cake on his “portable” table). As always, the conversation with tuxlink was cheerful, friendly and humorous.

tuxlink's charisma touched everyone, all the way to the “top dog” of PCLinuxOS. Upon learning of tuxlink's passing, Texstar said, “Tuxlink was such a positive force on the forum. I will never forget him. I loved his humor. His artwork was outstanding. He was just a beautiful soul with a kind heart.”

tuxlink black-and-white

Meemaw's favorite part of the Family Spotlight interview was the “How Old Are You” section, which illustrated his sense of humor. In typical tuxlink fashion, you never get a straight answer until the very end of his answer to the question. In a nutshell, tuxlink tried to find or create fun in everything he did.

Being close friends with tuxlink, YouCanToo wrote out his sentiments to his recently departed friend:

To my Friend

Go n-éirí an bóthar leat
Go raibh an ghaoth go brách ag do chúl
Go lonraí an ghrian go te ar daghaidh
Go dtite an bháisteach go mín ar do pháirceanna
Agus go mbuailimid le chéile arís,
Go gcoinní Dia i mbos A láimhe thú.

May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields
and, until we meet again,
may God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

Thank you for always being there and being my friend. I will forever miss you, more than any words can say.

People like tuxlink don't come around very often in our lives. And, when they do, you must sit up and take notice. Without you ever realizing it, they touch your life in ways that you just can't comprehend or appreciate at the time. Rest in peace, our dear friend. You will be missed … a lot!

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