Hot on HuffPost Tech:

See More Stories
AOL Tech

North Korea's Busted Red Star Operating System Rips Off Windows

North Korea is renowned for many things, including famine, human rights violations, a comically evil leader, and the world's worst arcade. But as far as the IT industry goes, the country does not immediately spring to mind. In a sad attempt to prove itself as the technological equal of its neighbor to the south, the North Korean government has slapped together its own proprietary operating system, named Red Star.

The Linux-based OS was revealed to the world by a Russian blogger named Mikhail who is studying in Pyongyang, North Korea's capital. Among the programs included in the Red Star OS are a productivity suite similar to Microsoft Office, an e-mail client named Pigeon, an anti-virus program named Woodpecker, and games like Minesweeper and Solitaire. The OS also includes a version of Mozilla's Firefox named My Country... which must be very helpful in a nation where almost no one except a select few government officials are allowed to use the Internet. My Country does, however, connect to Kwangmyong, the North Korean Intranet used by the general populace. Without any broadband coverage, however, we imagine all those "We Love Kim Jong-il" message boards take a really long time to load. The operating system's minimum requirements are a Pentium III 800-MHz CPU with 256 MB of RAM, which would have been state of the art in about 2003. According to Mikhail, North Koreans unsurprisingly prefer Windows-based operating systems over the homegrown Red Star.

The OS is only available in the Korean language and costs about $5. It also uses the North Korean Juche calendar, which is based on the birth date of Kim Il-sung, former leader of North Korea and father of Kim Jong-il. Given the way the North Korean government likes to completely control all aspects of its citizen's lives, we wouldn't be surprised if Red Star ends up becoming the ONLY operating system available at all. [From: AOL News]

Tags: censorship, dictatorship, Internet, kimjongil, NorthKorea, operatingsystem, os, red star, RedStar, top