Report: North Korea develops own Linux distribution

Russian student posts screenshots, review of North Korean Linux distribution

North Korea has reportedly developed its own version of the Linux operating with a graphical user interface that closely resembles Microsoft Windows.

A copy of the North Korean Linux distribution, called Red Star, was purchased in Pyongyang for US$5 by a Russian student named Mikhail, who then posted a brief review of it on his blog using the Russian embassy's Internet connection, according to the English-language Web site of Russia Today, a Russian television news channel.

Mikhail, who described himself as one of two Russian students at North Korea's Kim Il-Sung University, posted several screen shots of the operating system, including a system clock with a date based on North Korea's calendar, which considers 2010 to be year 99 of its Juche ideology -- with his review.

Although the operating system is still considered stable, it was easy to set up, taking around 15 minutes to install, Mikhail wrote, adding that it came with a single language option: Korean.

The desktop interface shown in the screenshots closely resembles Windows, and appears to be based on a recent version of the K Desktop Environment (KDE). The Red Star browser, which Mikhail said was called My Country, is based on Mozilla's Firefox browser, and allows users to access North Korea's closed network , called My Country BBS.

Other features of Red Star include a word processor, an e-mail client, antivirus software, multimedia players for audio and video, as well as several games.

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