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North Korea’s Home-Grown “Red Star” Linux OS May Look Familiar to OS X Users

North Korea’s Home-Grown “Red Star” Linux OS May Look Familiar to OS X Users

When you take a look at the screenshots in this article, you may experience some of Yogi Berra’s famous “Déjà vu, all over again.” The latest version of North Korea’s home-grown “Red Star” Linux operating system bears an amazing resemblance to OS X.



Version 3.0 of Red Star Linux presents users with a radical refresh of its desktop design, one that closely resembles Mac OS X. The new look replaces the Windows 7-like desktop that was used in version 2.0 of the software.

The Korea Computer Center (KCC), a major software development center in Pyongyang, began developing Red Star about a decade ago. Version 3.0 appears to have been released in the middle of 2013.


IDG got a look at Red Star thanks to Will Scott, a computer scientist who recently spent a semester teaching at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST).

Scott reports that he bought the OS at a KCC dealer in the capital city, and the screenshots are from the basic version of the software, without any modifications.


Most North Koreans are banned from accessing the Internet, however they do have access to a nationwide Intranet via universities and public libraries. The country’s Intranet offers information and educational materials, such as PDF versions of books and scientific papers, and government propaganda.

Red Star Linux also includes a copy of Wine, the Linux app that allows users to run some Windows software, and also a web browser based on Mozilla.

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