Red Star OS

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Red Star OS
Red Star OS bootsplash cut.png
The desktop of Red Star OS 3.0, localized with North Korean terminology and spelling
Company / developer Korea Computer Center, North Korea
OS family Unix-like
Working state Current
Latest release 3.0
Marketing target Workstations, servers
Available in Korean (North Korean standard)
Platforms i386 (x86)
Kernel type Monolithic (Linux)
Default user interface KDE 3

Red Star OS (Chosŏn'gŭl: 붉은별; MR: Pulgŭnbyŏl) is a North Korean Linux-based operating system. Development started in 2002 at the Korea Computer Center. Prior to its development, computers in North Korea typically used English versions of Microsoft Windows.[1] Version 3.0 was released in the summer of 2013, but as of 2014 version 2.5 continues to be more widely used. It is only offered in a Korean language edition, localized with North Korean terminology and spelling.[2]


Red Star OS features a modified Mozilla Firefox browser titled Naenara used for browsing the Naenara web portal on the North Korean intranet network known as Kwangmyong. Other software includes a text editor, an e-mail client, audio and video players, and games.[3] Version 3, like its predecessor, runs Wine, a piece of software that allows Windows programs to be run under Linux.[4]

Red Star OS 3.0, like its predecessors, uses a KDE 3 desktop (specifically, Red Star OS 3.0 uses the KDE 3.5.1 desktop, the fact of which can be confirmed by running kde-config in terminal). However, 3.0 more closely resembles Apple's OS X whereas previous versions more closely resembled Windows XP; current North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was seen with an iMac on his desk in a 2013 photo (though how he obtained the computer is not known), indicating a possible connection to the redesign.[3][5][6]

Media attention[edit]

The Japan-based, North Korea-affiliated newspaper Choson Sinbo interviewed two Red Star OS programmers in June 2006.[1] In February 2010, a Russian international student at the Kim Il-sung University in Pyongyang purchased a copy and posted about it on his LiveJournal account; Russian television station RT then picked up his LiveJournal post and translated it into English.[3] English-language technology blogs, including Engadget and Osnews, as well as South Korean wire services such as Yonhap, went on to repost the content.[2][7] [8] In late 2013, Will Scott, who was visiting the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, purchased a copy of version 3 from a KCC retailer in southern Pyongyang, and uploaded screenshots to the internet.[4]


  1. ^ a b Kim, Chi-yong (2006-06-21), "〈민족정보산업의 부흥 -상-〉 《우리식 콤퓨터조작체계(OS) 》의 개발과 도입", Choson Sinbo (in Korean), retrieved 2006-03-03 
  2. ^ a b Nam, Hyeon-ho (2010-03-03), "北, 독자적 컴퓨터 운영체제 '붉은별' 개발", Yonhap News (in Korean), retrieved 2013-01-23 
  3. ^ a b c "North Korea’s “secret cyber-weapon”: brand new Red Star OS", RT, 2010-03-01, retrieved 2013-01-23 
  4. ^ a b Williams, Martyn (January 31, 2014). "North Korea's Red Star OS Goes Mac". North Korea Tech. Martyn Williams. Retrieved July 23, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Apple's Mac OS X imitated in latest North Korea system". BBC News. 2014-02-05. 
  6. ^ "North Korean computers get 'Apple' makeover". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  7. ^ Holwerda, Thom (2009-03-04), "North Korea Develops Its Own Linux Distribution", OSNews, retrieved 2013-01-23 
  8. ^ Flatley, Joseph L. (2009-03-04), "North Korea's Red Star OS takes the 'open' out of 'open source'", Engadget, retrieved 2013-01-23 

External links[edit]