October 22, 2003

A Linux Distro for Barbie?

Making a bid for a piece of the emerging desktop Linux market, Mattel, Inc. announced the immediate availability of downloadable beta ISOs for
BarbieOS 0.99, and said it hoped the final 1.0 retail version would be on store shelves in time for Christmas. The new OS was created by Mattel to
power the upcoming revision of its popular B-Book line of laptops for girls between the ages of four and eleven. The original B-Book laptop, which
ran a modified version of PalmOS, was a huge hit with consumers last holiday season, so much so that many stores had trouble keeping them in stock.
This year, Mattel is upping the ante by making the B-Book into a full-fledged desktop replacement targeted specifically at toddler through preteen
girls who are currently Windows users but may be seeking alternatives, possibly due to increasing licensing fees or out of a desire to break free of
vendor lock-in.

BarbieOS, based on Debian Linux, had been in private beta for more than six months prior to yesterday's public release. Initial reaction to the
company's announcement has been mixed, as some analysts have claimed that the desktop Linuxmarket is already over-saturated given its current size, as
other major players such as Lycoris Desktop/LX, Xandros Linux, and LindowsOS are already competing for the rather small percentage of home desktop
users willing to try a non-Microsoft OS. Still, Mattel says it is confident of the potential of BarbieOS 1.0 to find a niche market of young girls
under thirteen who are dissatisfied with current Microsoft offerings and are looking toward maybe asking mom and dad for a full-powered Linux laptop
running BarbieOS this Christmas.

Link: qrxx.4t.com


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