A small Internet phenomenon on Futaba Channel, the OS-tan (OS for Operating System, and the Japanese "-tan" (たん)
which is an overly cute mispronounciation of, specifically a child's slurring of, "-chan" (ちゃん), a
diminutive honorific for a person) or simply OS Girls
are the personification of several OSes, most famously Windows,
by various amateur Japanese artists. A pure fan creation, the appearance of each character is generally consistent across
artists. OSes are almost always portrayed as women, the Windows girls usually as sisters, despite sometimes seeming the same age.
On Futaba-derived image boards, "tan" is sometimes used as a generic term for any such personification.
The concept is reported to have begun as a personification of the common perception of Windows Me as unstable and prone to frequent crashes. Discussions on Futaba Channel likened this to the stereotype of a fickle, troublesome girl. The personification became expanded, with the creation of Me-tan (dated to August 6, 2003) followed by the other characters.
A large collection of these Downloads can be found here. Some of the comics have been translated by readers on 4chan and idlechan. They have been archived at Trouble Windows Translations, along with the japanese counterparts. There are still many raw comics left and new translations or corrections of previous ones are always welcome.
A collection of avatar Downloads based on the OS-tan characters has been created by members of the Megatokyo forums, which are available here.
There also exists a Macromedia Flash Animation showing a possible intro to a hypothetical, but highly unlikely, anime show, Troubled Windows (とらぶる．ういんどうず). A fansub of this has been created, and can be found here. The music is Sakuranbo Kiss (さくらんぼキッス～爆発だも～ん～), by KOTOKO, which was originally the opening theme from anH-game called Colorful Kiss (カラフルキッス～１２コの胸キュン！～),
released by GIGA. An ending theme called OS-Pittan also exists. The music is Futari no
Xenopittan(ふたりのぜのぴったん), a remix version of Futari no
Mojipittan, a song from the PS2 word puzzle game Mojipittan. The song was made for a game based on Mojipittan called Xenopittan,
which features Xenosaga characters and vocabulary. It is found on the Xenosaga fan disc Xenosaga Freaks.
It can be heard at the end of the medley found
here. The song was
sung by Shion Uzuki (CV: Maeda Ai), KOS-MOS (CV: Suzuki Mariko), M.O.M.O. (CV: Shishido Rumi). Also, as a satire, Bill Gates was mentioned in the credit of this hypothetical anime (after about 50 seconds).
Breast Size, Hunger, and Memory
It has been suggested from time to time, that the breast sizes of the individual OS Tans represents their RAM size. Because Windows XP is considered a "memory hog" due to its increased resource consumption, XP-tan is incredibly well endowed (and she has no qualms for getting "upgraded" from time to time). 2K-tan normally rates as a close second given her network server functions, whereas the DOS pair are at the distant end of the spectrum.
Another theory states that the breast size of an OS Tan represents the overall "fanciness" of their graphical user interface. Since XP was designed with bells and whistles, she has the largest breasts, but DOS, being no more than a command prompt, is at the other extreme.
An alternate method of displaying memory or resource requirements in general is through the character's appetite. XP is often seen eating ridiculous amounts of food (yet never gaining an inch except perhaps her bust) because of her heftier demands on hardware.
Often the Windows girls are seen carrying scallions. This is a pun: a popular Japanese firewall program (NEGiES) sounds like their word for "scallion" (negi) so the OS-tan carry scallions around as shields or weapons.