Freebie at A free, limited edition of BeOS 5, the multimedia-oriented desktop operating system from Be Inc. of Menlo Park, Calif., will be downloadable by March 31 from the company's Web site.

The company said the 60M OS, complete with development tools, resides as a file inside Microsoft Windows 9x without any disk repartitioning. A double-click on the file will exit Windows and launch BeOS, which also works on Apple Power Macintoshes but not on newer G3 models, according to the company.

To receive notification of the posting date, send a blank e-mail to Be is naming its BeOS-based Internet appliance software'what else?'Stinger.

Penguin invades China. Linux has been selected as China's official operating system, according to news reports from the World Linux Asia Conference in Hong Kong. The once-closed society selected the open-source operating system, reportedly over forthcoming Windows 2000.

Chinese minister of information industry Wu Jichuan told one Linux advocacy group that the Chinese government could develop its own version of an OS using the Linux kernel.

The Chinese government might develop its own Linux applications to avoid relying on foreign companies for technical support, said John 'Maddog' Hall, executive director of Linux International, an Amherst, N.H., nonprofit group that promotes open-source software.

Hall said that the low price and security of Linux were also factors in the decision.

Language, however, might slow the adoption. Current OS versions do not support the double-byte characters of the Chinese alphabet, but Hall said three projects were working to fix that issue.

Love your Palm? Users of personal digital assistants often get emotionally attached to their devices, buying all sorts of accessories such as a three-in-one pen and stylus. Now, from the Stratus division of TechSpray Inc. of Amarillo, Texas'not to be confused with Stratus Computer Inc. of Maynard, Mass.'comes a PDA grooming kit.

The Resolution kit consists of a screen cleaner-polisher in a pen-shaped brush applicator with two wipes. The white wipe schmears cleaner on the screen, and the yellow wipe polishes it to a smooth, shiny, antistatic luster.

We cannot say how well it prevents scratches, but there's a noticeable improvement in stylus response.

The $9.95 kits are available from PalmGear H.Q. of Arlington, Texas. Go to and click on Screen Enhancements under Accessories.

'Susan M. Menke,;

John Breeden II,;

and Thomas R. Temin,

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