March 20, 2001, 10:18 AM —
It wasn't easy. I followed several paths that did not lead to nirvana. But now there is peace and harmony. My HP ScanJet 5200C is a tamed beast. The scanner is not only docile and compliant, but it speaks fluent USB. You may recall that in a recent column, I described my frustration with trying to get the scanner working. It had worked once -- though only partially and ever so briefly. But after I reinstalled everything so I could faithfully take notes and report my experiences in the column, I was unable to make the scanner work again.
My quest led me to try multiple versions of the kernel: from 2.2.18-x to test releases of 2.4. When they didn't bring relief, I changed distributions. I switched from Red Hat 7.0 to Debian Potato to SuSE 7.0 to Mandrake 7.2, to no avail.
But after receiving clues and inspiration from my local LUG's mailing list, I finally realized I had been looking in all the wrong places. It's the hardware, stupid, not the Linux kernel or the distribution. A bad motherboard. A very bad motherboard.