World gets first glimpse of the latest North Korean OS

5 Feb 2014

North Korean student at computer. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Not renowned for its technological advances or even basic access to the internet, the Korea Computer Centre’s (KCC) home-grown OS has been shown online for the first time.

Possibly because the company knew no one outside of its borders has probably even heard of Apple, the KCC’s 3.0 version of its Red Star Linux OS appears to be a blatant copy of Apple’s OS X.  

Despite being released to the country’s few computer users, an American computer scientist, Will Scott, has recently returned for a stint at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) where he was lecturing and has shown what North Korean developers have to offer.

The university is one of the few organisations where foreigners are allowed to enter the country, let alone work or teach.

North Korean OS screenshot

Version 3.0 of the Linux-based OS is pre-installed with Wine, a program that allows users to access Windows programs

Reported originally on the North Korea Tech website, he had bought the operating system from a KCC vendor and began to explore the OS and took screenshots of the home screen which even includes a small red star to indicate its North Korean origins.

The previous 2.0 version also bore similarities with Apple’s competitor Microsoft and its older Windows XP, which a student in Russia leaked online in 2010.

Personal computer ownership in North Korea is almost non-existent but residents do have access to their own heavily-censored intranet through public libraries and government offices.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic