North Korea's Red Star OS takes the 'open' out of 'open source'

Updated ·1 min read

You know, Tux always seemed so harmless... little did we know that he is actually a Che Guevara-type figure who's been traveling around the world, fighting the good fight on any number of fronts. First, Cuba announces its national Linux variant, Nova, and now? Red Star is North Korea's very own Linux-based operating system, featuring a desktop very similar to Windows -- but for the red star that replaces the Start button. It first came to light when Mikhail, a Russian blogger living in Pyongyang, picked up a copy for $5 near Kim Il-sung University. The install disk apparently features a quote from Kim Jong-il about the importance of an operating system "compatible with Korean traditions," and the system requirements are a Pentium III 800MHz with 256MB RAM and 3GB hard drive space (North Korea's version of Minesweeper must take up a lot of room). Of course, this bad boy has Firefox -- except here it's called My Country, and it will only connect you to something called "My Country BBS," a web portal on North Korea's own (restricted) version of the Internet. Where will the plucky penguin turn up next? We don't know, but we bet it'll be one hell of a ride.