North Korea develops its own Linux OS

North Korea has developed its own Linux distribution to take on Microsoft.  The communist country has never been shy about wanting to separate itself from western technology and ideas, so it should come as no surprise that its now selling its own operating system.  

According to Networkworld.com, who translated the page from Russian, the OS was purchased by a Russian student who is currently studying at North Korea's Kim Il-Sung University. 

The operating system, dubbed Red Star, was purchased in Pyongyang for $5.00 and looks like your standard Linux distribution.  One major difference is that the date formatting has adopted the Juche ideology which contends that we are in the year 99 instead of 2010.

The OS included many features out of the box including a word processor, anti virus software (for those devastating Linux viruses), a few games and an email client.  The student who reviewed the OS said that it installed in about 15 minutes and was easy to use but was only available in one language, Korean. The OS requires a computer with a Pentium III 800MHz, 256MB RAM and 3GB hard drive space.

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Hm... I didn't know they used a different year system... Year 99? Interesting...

The OS looks somewhat clean... But are you allowed to charge for a Linux distribution? It says that he paid $ 5.00 for it...

M_Lyons10 said,
But are you allowed to charge for a Linux distribution? It says that he paid $ 5.00 for it...

Free software, software libre or libre software is software that can be used, studied, and modified without restriction, and which can be copied and redistributed in modified or unmodified form either without restriction, or with minimal restrictions only to ensure that further recipients can also do these things and that manufacturers of consumer-facing hardware allow user modifications to their hardware. Free software is generally available without charge, but can have a fee.

Wikipedia, Free software, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_software (as of Mar. 6, 2010, 10:28 GMT).

Oh I'm curious... what operating systems did not originate from the USA? I mean, Bill has Windows, Jobs has Apple, but I always wondered what else there was out there? The Japanese for instance are great with their technology, so I'd assume they made an OS of their own? I'd like to know if one exists, just cuz I wonder how different the functionality/ui/ etc... is :)

Izlude said,
Oh I'm curious... what operating systems did not originate from the USA? I mean, Bill has Windows, Jobs has Apple, but I always wondered what else there was out there? The Japanese for instance are great with their technology, so I'd assume they made an OS of their own? I'd like to know if one exists, just cuz I wonder how different the functionality/ui/ etc... is :)

Japan has been using Windows and Mac OS almost exclusively for at least the last ten years now. It also has somewhat of an open source community among enthusiasts using Linux et al. Going back to the 80s and 90s, there were probably some experimental efforts (small countries with dense populations can get away with putting a LOT on the market), but any modern, maintained OS at this point that's accessible to the consumer? Same as everywhere else.

The final version will have a permanent wallpaper of Kim Jong-il. Also no icons will be able to be placed over his face.

That looks pretty cool, they will need to get away from depending on Microsoft if they want to go a different way from Western society, so this certainly seems like a good starting point.

Gully said,
The "Turn off" button on the logon screen is near- identical to the windows 7 one!
I suppose, but it's really only a combination of the universal power button and the colour red.

Seems a lot of you didn't do their homework. The point of communism is to be self-sufficient with affordable market products (although bad quality ones). This is not meant to take on MS, is to stop depending, little by little, on others. It's a step in that direction. I don't support communism btw, I just understand it.

Nail on the head.

I could also envision this being state sponsored as an effort to exert more control over the N Korean people. This is not going to threaten Microsoft or anybody else, but I'm sure the people in power are more comfortable knowing the general populace are using an OS and apps that they approve of. Speculation, of course...

At least an OS that flows inside their system, economically and technically. Russia did the same thing, they had their own computers, their own clothes, mostly their own food brands (Even their own cameras).

The mere idea of being self sufficient it's not a bad one certainly IF the products deployed are good enough.

I wouldn't be surprised if in the near future we learn that North Korea is developing their own hardware.

Edited by sanctified, Mar 5 2010, 5:49pm :

sanctified said,

I wouldn't be surprised if in the near future we learn that North Korea is STEALING hardware and making it their own.

FIFY

Edited by PeterTHX, Mar 5 2010, 9:27pm :

I wonder if they know there's already another distro with the same name that has been around quite a while :P (Estrella Roja, Red Star in english) http://www.estrellaroja.info/

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. said,
lol kde3.5?

fail.

tbh I would develop a distro that I'm planning to distribute to non linux people using KDE4....it's not ready yet

I used to be all for KDE but ever since the move to KDE4 I prefer to just use Gnome.....maybe eventually it will mature enough and I'll switch back

GP007 said,
Right, but isn't linux "western technology" itself? Linus isn't North Korean last I checked.

Nor was he born in the "West" Findland I believe. But yes, he does now live in the United States.

Hendrick said,

Nor was he born in the "West" Findland I believe. But yes, he does now live in the United States.

Finland (as most people call it) is in the west. It's in Europe. Unless you're defining "west" to mean North America.

Hendrick said,

Nor was he born in the "West" Findland I believe. But yes, he does now live in the United States.

It's as bouncingjohn said. The designations 'west' and 'east' are very old world and originally applied to the different sides of the Eurasian landmass. The Americas are included mostly because they were settled by 'westerners', since it would've been just as easy to draw a pacific-centric world map with Europe on the left and the Americas on the right.

Though my absolute favorite map is an upside-down Australia-centric one! It looks straight out of an RPG.

http://flourish.org/upsidedownmap/hobodyer-large.jpg
(A: What the crap is that?)
(B: I think it's a URL.)
(A: STFU, why doesn't it start with bit.ly then?)
(B: I read somewhere once that in the old days people knew where a link took them even before they clicked on it.)
(A: LOLWUT)

Edited by Joshie, Mar 6 2010, 4:57pm :

Joshie said,

It's as bouncingjohn said. The designations 'west' and 'east' are very old world and originally applied to the different sides of the Eurasian landmass. The Americas are included mostly because they were settled by 'westerners', since it would've been just as easy to draw a pacific-centric world map with Europe on the left and the Americas on the right.

Though my absolute favorite map is an upside-down Australia-centric one! It looks straight out of an RPG.

http://flourish.org/upsidedownmap/hobodyer-large.jpg
(A: What the crap is that?)
(B: I think it's a URL.)
(A: STFU, why doesn't it start with bit.ly then?)
(B: I read somewhere once that in the old days people knew where a link took them even before they clicked on it.)
(A: LOLWUT)

Thank you for the information and the map, however, it confused the hell out of me even though I knew the purpose of it. Nice dialogue too between yourself and some random person, made be giggle. Yes, the good old days which was a few years ago.

Back to the story, the story was interesting and yes it's the KDE GUI. Yes, it is a Microsoft Windows 'Rip-Off' as that's one way the KDE team wants as they think Windows users would be easily be migrated to Linux.

I'm just curious of why a Russian student wants to live and learn in an university in North Korea? I can tell you one thing, he's restricted heavily on where he or she can go and may be watched.

Edited by Kevinul, Mar 7 2010, 3:24am :

There's something so ironic about seeing English words like "system" and "usr" in a North Korean file system. And the fact you can't avoid Adobe and Microsoft, no matter how autocratic / despotic your government is.

esaleris said,
There's something so ironic about seeing English words like "system" and "usr" in a North Korean file system. And the fact you can't avoid Adobe and Microsoft, no matter how autocratic / despotic your government is.

Why do you need Adobe? Photoshop, Reader, Air or Flash? You clearly don't need Photoshop. As for reader and creator (many alternatives). Air... I am not sure the majority care yet. As for Flash, you got me. It is pretty necessary right now, though HTML5 and Silverlight looks promising.

If you are referencing their trademark and patent portfolio, they I agree... you really can't avoid the Adobe licensing.

Hendrick said,
Silverlight is Microsoft.

I know, I wouldn't dream of arguing that you can be successful at a corporate/education setup without some Microsoft products. As for Adobe, I am not sure if the product themselves are necessary.

bluarash said,

I know, I wouldn't dream of arguing that you can be successful at a corporate/education setup without some Microsoft products. As for Adobe, I am not sure if the product themselves are necessary.

With the advent of other PDF readers, and the fact that it's now an open format, you may be right in the future... For now a lot of people still think that PDF IS Adobe... That was probably their biggest technology in business...

webeagle12 said,
oh now Microsoft is in trouble

Don't worry, I am sure that Kim Jong-il has a Windows desktop experience. This product is purely for the people of North Korea.

bluarash said,

Don't worry, I am sure that Kim Jong-il has a Windows desktop experience. This product is purely for the people of North Korea.


You know he has a Mac. And an iPod. And a iPhone.

protocol7 said,

You know he has a Mac. And an iPod. And a iPhone.

You're probably right. I can just picture him in his recliner, watching his 50" Sony HDTV with streaming content from the Apple TV, checking mail on his iphone, with a Coke (or Pepsi) in hand, all the while bitching about the evils of capitalism.

bluarash said,

You're probably right. I can just picture him in his recliner, watching his 50" Sony HDTV with streaming content from the Apple TV, checking mail on his iphone, with a Coke (or Pepsi) in hand, all the while bitching about the evils of capitalism.


you forgot his armani sunglasses.

bluarash said,

You're probably right. I can just picture him in his recliner, watching his 50" Sony HDTV with streaming content from the Apple TV, checking mail on his iphone, with a Coke (or Pepsi) in hand, all the while bitching about the evils of capitalism.

LMAO!