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Kim Jong Jobs: New North Korean OS goes all Mac - report

Published time: February 05, 2014 20:54
Edited time: February 05, 2014 22:18
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The club of Mac OS X lovers has gained an unlikely member: North Korea. The country's new operating system has been stylized to look like Apple’s software, leaked screenshots have revealed.

Reports suggest that only a handful of North Koreans have access to the latest IT technologies. But when an American computer scientist who lectured at Pyongyang University took a stroll to an official retailer in the capital to get himself a copy of the country’s operating system (OS), he noticed it had a striking similarity to Apple’s Mac OS.

Will Scott had probably known that the software, developed by the Pyongyang-based Korea Computer Center (KCC), is based on the open-source operating system Linux and that its desktop had resembled Windows 7. A Russian student studying at Kim Il-sung University reviewed the Red Star OS in 2010 and shared it with RT.

However, to Scott’s surprise, the latest version of the North Korean software now appeared very different. At first glance, it looked like a copy of Windows’ rival – Mac OS.

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North Korea tech blog posted some screenshots made by Scott, who confirmed the system was still based on Linux. The custom makeover could have been done in the same manner, as KDE desktop software allows the re-skinning of Unix-like systems.

Yet speculations arose as to why the sudden change in appearance has taken place in the home-grown software, reportedly used only in some universities and state-run industries for accessing Kwangmyong, the restricted North Korean intranet.

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A photo of the country’s ruler, Kim Jong-un, re-surfaced in the media, claiming to explain the reason. Kim is seen sitting at his desktop next to what looks like an Apple iMac. According to the South China Morning Post, not only Kim, but also Kim’s father and former leader Kim Jong-il was an avid Mac user and used a Macbook Pro as his “computer of choice.”

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. (Reuters / KCNA)

Comments (15)


Randy Dallaire 07.02.2014 05:25

Yeah, that's linux...


Peter Jennings 06.02.2014 14:52

If you believe the BBC and US media this country is so backward that they are pulling their buses with bullocks. What nonense we are fed about the world by our entertainment junkies posing as news media.
Most of the reporters have a hidden agenda and do a lot of cutting and rehashing to satisfy their paymasters. I say reporters but you know what I mean.

North Korea seems to doing alright without western intervention and they are well advised to do it in-house and look at any western gadget or offer of help with a generous dollop of sceptisism and mistrust.


Yuki Fuyui 06.02.2014 11:07

To be honest, it looks more like OpenBSD with silver look to it than Mac OS X.

View all comments (15)
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