Does 'Club Penguin' have a Linus action figure?

OK, a show of hands, please: Who else read this headline – Disney acquires Club Penguin – and immediately asked themselves what the heck is Disney going to do with a bunch of Linux lovers?

I can’t be the only one.

Honestly, that was my first thought, which only makes sense given that I spend most of my waking hours reading and writing about the tech world, and until this moment had never heard of Club Penguin.

From the story:

The Walt Disney Co. said Wednesday it has bought the popular online kids hangout Club Penguin for $350 million, adding to its portfolio a site that in less than two years has been become a rage among preteens.

Club Penguin offers a mix of games and chatting tools targeting kids ages 6-14. It nearly tripled in usage in the United States over the past year, according to comScore Media Metrix, and executives hope to expand to additional markets abroad and gain even more customers through promotions on other Disney-branded sites.

Who knew?

Of course, my obliviousness to Club Penguin mania may be related to the fact that my kids won’t turn six for a few more weeks. Guess I had better get my head in the game.

And, if the children should express an interest in joining, I would hope that Disney does a better job of protecting the privacy of Club Penguin members than it has done with the Disney Movie Club.

Disney execs assure us such will be the case.

"Club Penguin embodies principles that are of the utmost importance to Disney — providing high-quality family entertainment and fostering parental trust," said Bob Iger, Disney's president and chief executive. "The founders have woven together new technologies and creativity to build an incredibly compelling, immersive entertainment experience for kids and families."

Those technologies? Open source, perhaps?

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Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.