From OS-tans.moe Wiki

An OS-tan (OSたん) is a female moe personification of an operating system. However, the term is also often seen by metonymy to refer to characters of a broader or similar type such as moe personifications in general or mascots of a technology product or company. Some may in contrast restrict its use to exclusively design the Futaba Channel and sometimes the Madobe Family OS-tans.

Etymology and Origin

The term OS-tan is formed from the abbreviation of operating system, and the Japanese -tan (たん) suffix, an altered and even more affectionate version of the -chan (ちゃん) suffix that is usually used to designate girls. Who exactly coined the term or when it first appeared is unknown.

"Me-tan Icon"

Many sources indicate that the whole OS-tan concept likely started in 2003 with Me-tan, a personification of Windows Me created in the Futaba Channel. Me-tan was portrayed as a clumsy anime girl to represent the fact that Windows Me was notoriously unstable. The character probably inspired others from the Futaba community to create more characters for other OSes, some of the well known ones are XP-tan, 95-tan, or Mac OS 9-tan.

But if not taking the strict Futaba Channel only characters definition, female moe personifications of an OS were published well before Me-tan, like Win-chan or Magical Toko, who debuted in 1998 and 1999 respectively.


It can be said that there are as many OS-tan worlds as there are artists.

User Shinjuku via Cool.ne.jp, 2004[1]

The OS-tan community originated from Japan, then expanded worldwide. A Flash animation, the Trouble Windows Opening, possibly contributed to the international spread. Though, it nowadays remains a niche and sparse community.

In a similar fashion as the definition of the term OS-tan, the community is not driven by any central authority, whether if it's an individual or group. Though the Futaba OS-tans were among the first and most popular, their work is merely one among others, and the same remark can apply to the Madobe Universe, or any other popular OS-tan series that might someday be created. With that being said, there is no one true, definitive way to portray an OS-tan, since interpretations may vary from person to person.

Everyone can take part in the community and enjoy the others' creations, research and analyze them, or expand themselves the OS-tan richness by creating and sharing their own original OS-tan characters, stories, or reinterpretations of existing ones.

Notes and References