North Korea imitates Apple’s OS X with latest Red Star operating system

Tori Floyd
February 6, 2014

Based on the photos we’ve of people staring at computers in North Korea, we know that the North Koreans have access to technology, albeit with heavily restricted access to the Internet. A recent post on the blog NorthKoreaTech now gives us an idea of what all those people are looking at.

Red Star OS is the “home-grown” operating system used in the communist country built on the Linux OS, but it’s made to look like some of the more familiar operating system interfaces. The latest version, Red Star 3.0, has been overhauled to look distinctly like Apple’s Mac OS X.

[ Related: Surfing the Intranet: North Korea's authoritarian alternative to the World Wide Web ]

BBC News writes that these screenshots were obtained by American computer scientist Will Scott, who has spent time teaching computer courses at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology. Scott told NorthKoreaTech that the latest version of the operating system was released earlier in 2013.

The prior version of Red Star OS had a distinctly more Windows 98, Windows XP feel, which you can see in this video below:

There are a few quirks, unsurprisingly, that come with using Red Star OS. The year, for example, isn’t 2014: It’s 103, which is the number of years since the former North Korean leader Kim Il-sung was born. There’s also an option to run Windows programs in the Linux environment using Wine, which looks like this on start-up:

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