Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

North Korea's Own OS, Red Star

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the linux-is-sometimes-for-communists dept.

Censorship 316

klaasb writes "North Korea's self-developed computer operating system, named 'Red Star,' was brought to light for the first time by a Russian satellite broadcaster yesterday. North Korea's top IT experts began developing the Red Star in 2006, but its composition and operation mechanisms were unknown until the internet version of the Russia Today TV program featured the system, citing the blog of a Russian student who goes to the Kim Il-sung University in Pyongyang."

cancel ×

316 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Yes! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31351116)

If you're a true lover of freedom, this distro is just for you!

Re:Yes! (4, Funny)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351234)

The Red Star is based on Linux

*ducks*

Re:Yes! (5, Funny)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351260)

Personally I wonder if the Blue Screen of Death is replaced with a Red Screen of Dissention.

Re:Yes! (3, Insightful)

Elektroschock (659467) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351352)

It is just the smart thing to do. I expect more nations to switch to Linux as their desktop operating system to save the dependency on "Red Mond". I mean, monoculture is dangerous for their national security. Linux is very strong in Latin nations for egovernment purposes. The nation to switch first is able to create a very sustainable Linux eco system and it is able to get the Microsoft political benefits as well. Win!

Re:Yes! (1)

svtdragon (917476) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351552)

No, *penguins.*

Re:Yes! (1, Flamebait)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351968)

I have to say I'm pleased and surprised that an hour has gone by since this story was posted about North Korea and nobody has yet mentioned the U.S. President, health care reform or "climategate".

I guess the people who would normally make those type of comments haven't gotten home from their Geek Squad jobs, yet. Commodore64_love and WyattEarp must still be on the bus.

...can't...stop...myself... (-1, Redundant)

eflester (715184) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351122)

in North Korea, computer system operates you!

Re:...can't...stop...myself... (4, Funny)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351156)

In Democratic People's Republic of Korea, computer back door removes you!

Re:...can't...stop...myself... (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351232)

Or, in that case...

Better Red than Dead!

Re:...can't...stop...myself... (4, Insightful)

umghhh (965931) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351534)

and I cannot stop myself of thinking - this russian student in NK that revealed the secret to the evil world - what happens to this poor soul? I mean either he was f.g silly, the regime told him to do it or the regime is already falling apart and everybody (in NK) can see it. Well I personally opt for silliness.

Re:...can't...stop...myself... (5, Interesting)

Skillet5151 (972916) | more than 3 years ago | (#31352144)

I doubt they're going to murder him for leaking information about their non-secret software if that's what you mean. Apparently North Korea still gets a fair number of Russian tourists and would probably like to not piss off the Russian government.

I ran across a bunch of pictures from a Russian tourist a while back with translated captions. I found them pretty interesting.
http://www.enlight.ru/camera/dprk/index_e.html [enlight.ru]

Re:...can't...stop...myself... (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351576)

In Korea, only old people operate computers.

Now imagine a Beowulf cluster running on this distro. They could call it "red galaxy": Lots of red stars.

2010: (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31351130)

The year of the linux desktop has finally come, to North Korea.

Re:2010: (5, Interesting)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351324)

And they still had to make it look like Windows:

The Red Star is based on Linux, a free and open software operating system, but looks a lot like the Microsoft Windows on display. It also has a similar user interface.

The desktop display of Red Star is almost identical to that of MS Windows.

A Red Star logo is shown on the lower left corner of the screen where MS Windows has a start button. It has most of the basic MS Windows icons such as a Trash Bin and My Computer. Only, the names of the icons are slightly different from the Korean version of MS Windows.

Application programs such as a Web browser and a word processor which also resemble MS products come in separate discs.

Re:2010: (3, Funny)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351868)

As long as there is a grownup OS underneath does it really matter?

Re:2010: (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31351876)

Yeah, and I'm sure that the cars in N. Korea have a wheel to steer, pedals on the floor for accelerator, clutch and brake, and a lever to shift gears... Just like a Chevy.

So what?

Re:2010: (4, Funny)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351642)

In Korea, only old people use Windows. Then they get arrested for promoting capitalism.

Re:2010: (1)

trytoguess (875793) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351898)

Cute I guess, but you've mixed up your Koreas. Joke makes as much sense as claiming America loves watching football while having tea and crumpets.

Re:2010: (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#31352010)

[quote]
In Korea, only old people use Windows. Then they get arrested for promoting capitalism.
[/quote]
If that's what it takes to get LOTD, don't kvetch!

Re:2010: (3, Interesting)

wintercolby (1117427) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351652)

Damnit! Now all the Windoze Fanboiz are going to say there's evidence that Linux and FOSS are communist.

Re:2010: (5, Funny)

aztektum (170569) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351656)

Shouldn't it be GNU/Red Star Linux?

Re:2010: (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351866)

Only if you're a commie....

The unanswered question... (5, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351146)

Is that a 2-bit or 8-bit operating system?

Re:The unanswered question... (5, Funny)

absurdist (758409) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351672)

An 8-bit operating system for a 2-bit country?

Re:The unanswered question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31351816)

wait, when did they get to the bit? i thought they were pre-bit

Re:The unanswered question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31352042)

Well, when they don't talk to the rest of the world about what they're dong in there, you never really know what they dong....

Re:The unanswered question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31351758)

I'm guessing it's made out of wood.

Re:The unanswered question... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351878)

The original Apple I [geekculture.com] case was made out of wood.

Re:The unanswered question... (1)

SilverHatHacker (1381259) | more than 3 years ago | (#31352182)

Let's find out. Where did I put that duck?

So, when (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351150)

can we start expecting contributions to the kernel?

And how will they check them in?

Re:So, when (5, Funny)

Michael Kristopeit (1751814) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351170)

ICBM

Re:So, when (5, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351820)

I hear the patches will be real killers.

Re:GPL (5, Insightful)

Phrogman (80473) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351190)

Does it count as fulfilling the obligations required by the GPL if you make your source code freely available and downloadable but your entire country is behind a firewall and no one can access it? :)

A firewall is the least of the problems (5, Insightful)

name_already_taken (540581) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351218)

Does it count as fulfilling the obligations required by the GPL if you make your source code freely available and downloadable but your entire country is behind a firewall and no one can access it? :)

Most of North Korea doesn't even have electricity. I'm not sure they need a firewall.

Re:A firewall is the least of the problems (4, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351264)

Most of North Korea doesn't even have electricity.

Lies! All North Korean citizens have personal fusion reactors to power Dear Leader's triumph over Western aggressors.

Re:A firewall is the least of the problems (3, Funny)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351394)

Without electricity they could use the firewall to keep warm in the winter.

Re:GPL (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351254)

Considering you only need to make it available to your users and all their users are behind the same firewall, it probably does.

Re:GPL (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351792)

Yeah, and good luck to the FSF when they go over and try to enforce it...

Re:GPL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31351902)

How do we know they aren't distributing the code to everyone the OS is available to?

Re:GPL (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31352040)

Does it count as fulfilling the obligations required by the GPL if you make your source code freely available and downloadable but your entire country is behind a firewall and no one can access it? :)

Since North Korea is a sovereign nation, I dont think that they have to abide by US copyright laws...

Re:So, when (2, Funny)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351474)

can we start expecting contributions to the kernel?

Sorry comrade, it is now called "the Colonel".

Oh... (3, Interesting)

DavidR1991 (1047748) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351152)

I'm guessing said news program didn't consider the potential consequences for the student? (Especially if a) he's still there and b) If they consider this project to be some kind of 'national secret' which they probably do given security / the likelihood of 'cyber warfare')

Re:Oh... (1)

jandoedel (1149947) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351570)

wasn't this already mentioned on slashdot a couple of months ago?

I knew it! (0, Redundant)

Nick Novitski (1637177) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351154)

2010 really is the year of Linux on the desktop!

Re:I knew it! (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351380)

The same year that we can pronounce the Desktop is dead.

So, not a new operating system, just YAGLD (4, Informative)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351174)

Yet Another GNU Linux distro.

With a skin that resembles windows, and rebranded apps.

Here's an article with a bit more of information

http://techie-buzz.com/linux-news/red-star-os-linux-distro-north-korea.html [techie-buzz.com]

The "My Country" browser is just firefox.

Interesting is, they are in violation of the GPL. But then again, It's North Korea ...

Re:So, not a new operating system, just YAGLD (2, Interesting)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351292)

Interesting is, they are in violation of the GPL. But then again, It's North Korea ...

It's kinda hard to violate nonexistant copyright laws. OTOH, we're free to copy anything coming from North Korea as well. Not quite sure how much is worth copying.

Re:So, not a new operating system, just YAGLD (3, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351522)

OTOH, we're free to copy anything coming from North Korea as well. Not quite sure how much is worth copying.

Our govt is desperately copying their civil rights laws...

Some of our corporate-govt propaganda is about as bad as their govt propaganda...

Re:So, not a new operating system, just YAGLD (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351814)

They aren't violating the GPL if they aren't distributing it (which i don't believe they are yet)...

I might have had something to say but... (5, Funny)

maeka (518272) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351178)

The article in its entirety:
Russian student back from North Korea had purchased a $5 OS disc and a $10 application disc. Based on Linux, looks like Korean version of Windows.

Nothing else.

.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

crickets

Re:I might have had something to say but... (5, Informative)

maeka (518272) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351210)

Ahh Ha!
An actual article exists!
With photos!
http://rt.com/Top_News/2010-03-01/north-korea-cyber-weapon.html?fullstory [rt.com]

Re:I might have had something to say but... (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351376)

Thanks a lot for that.

Incredibly enough, I find the logo to be quite spiffy, and the CDs' artwork rather fine - considering the distro generated in a country where large parts of the population live (and die) in concentration camps, and yet other large parts of the population starve to death.

On the box for Red Star Linux they might have just written "Beloved Leader, thank you for using Red Star - we hope you enjoy it!"

Re:I might have had something to say but... (3, Interesting)

RocketRabbit (830691) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351520)

We have a greater percentage of our population in prison than North Korea does.

Re:I might have had something to say but... (5, Insightful)

bertok (226922) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351582)

We have a greater percentage of our population in prison than North Korea does.

Their entire country is a prison.

Re:I might have had something to say but... (5, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#31352032)

Ya, executions do tend to keep the prisoner count low...

Re:I might have had something to say but... (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351734)

Incredibly enough, I find the logo to be quite spiffy, and the CDs' artwork rather fine - considering the distro generated in a country where large parts of the population live (and die) in concentration camps

Why is that relevant. Zend has a nice logo, and they created PHP in a country with similar conditions.

Re:I might have had something to say but... (0, Troll)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351424)

Teehee! Their OS is clearly broken, since all the text is unreadable!

Re:I might have had something to say but... (1)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351730)

  1. Doesn't look like Windows at all. Looks like KDE.
  2. Really funny that it comes with a chemical composition game and an engineering calculator. This is for the typical desktop!
  3. Wouldn't trust it either way.

Re:I might have had something to say but... (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 3 years ago | (#31352064)

Thanks for the link.

It's fascinating... You know, if this OS somehow contributes in any way to open up that country a bit, maybe nominating Linus, the kernel devs, and FSF for Nobel Peace Prize might not be the most preposterous thing in the world. Actually, not at all, compared to some recent recipients...

Re:I might have had something to say but... (1)

edelbrp (62429) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351536)

There's a little bit more info in the article, albeit not a lot. Seems very odd that they would spend 4 years trying to hack an interface onto a Linux base to make it sort of look like Windows (what a role model for UI design!).

For that matter, why not just hack Windows to begin with? I guess maybe the answer is that they probably already do and it's not as newsworthy as a 'New' OS which actually isn't new after all. ... And, Perhaps with an open-source base to work from they can put in their own controls for restricting/monitoring what the user does. The Russian student should release disc images of what he has so people can pour through the code to see what's going on under the hood.

If you stop using it, does it threaten you? (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351182)

Or are you advised by fearless leader to just try and eat it as "food substitute?"

A wager... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31351186)

I can't get to the article, but I'm going to take a swing and guess that their "self-developed" operating system is a re-branded version of Fedora with a bunch of backdoors punched into it.

Ironic (5, Insightful)

orkysoft (93727) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351192)

Ironic how super-strict North Korea uses Free Software, while South Korea is totally in thrall to Microsoft.

Re:Ironic (4, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351228)

Not necessarily. Free Software can be easily customized to fit the whims of a dictatorship. Proprietary software requires the cooperation of the developer and (presumably) payment to that developer.

Re:Ironic (4, Funny)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351298)

Well, the obvious joke would be... "Communist country, communist OS."

Sorry. Couldn't resist. Some jokes are just too easy.

Re:Ironic (1)

doug (926) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351500)

Easy: yes, Funny: not so much

Re:Ironic (5, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351304)

Well, they both fell for the propaganda that Free Software is communist.

Re:Ironic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31351346)

That's because the GPL and Stallman fit perfectly in with communist ideology.

Re:Ironic (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351914)

Yes, but the north korean government doesn't really fit with communist ideology at all...

Re:Ironic (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351444)

Does North Korea actually provide any of the software freedoms to its users though?

Eagerly awaiting (0)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351220)

Eagerly awaiting cheap shots at MS being intrinsically a bunch of communists, where as Linux isn't. Don't know how this will be pulled of, but it will, undoubtedly.

I'm all strapped down with a bucket of popcorn, waiting to enjoy the ride.

Re:Eagerly awaiting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31351810)

You communist.

Re:Eagerly awaiting (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351830)

I'm all strapped down with a bucket of popcorn

Pervert.

Glorious Leader has truly given us a blessing (5, Funny)

Kyru (836008) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351236)

I'm surprised there isn't a press release telling us Kim Jong-Il programmed the majority of the OS himself in his spare time, it is the type of thing the Glorious Leader usually does.

Re:Glorious Leader has truly given us a blessing (5, Funny)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351458)

I'm surprised there isn't a press release telling us Kim Jong-Il programmed the majority of the OS himself in his spare time, it is the type of thing the Glorious Leader usually does.

Only the majority? You don't seem to know Kim Jong-Il very well. Considering he has his people tell us he is a world-record golfer, an avid fighter pilot (in spite of being afraid of flying), and capable of memorizing entire phone books, they wouldn't stop at majority. They would tell us that he gloriously wrote the entire Linux kernel, which he then selflessly shared with Linus Torvalds.

And then they would go back a step further and say that he is also the original author of Unix itself. By the end of the week he would also be the father of the transistor and semiconductor.

Re:Glorious Leader has truly given us a blessing (2, Interesting)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#31352116)

The people of N. Korea are so fucked. I feel sorry for them. One day reality will come crashing down on them like Thor's hammer and either cause mass suicide, violence, or both.

Re:Glorious Leader has truly given us a blessing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31351486)

Shut your filthy mouth before you slander Dear Leader further. Dear Leader programmed all of Linux by himself one evening.

Slightly more info... (4, Informative)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351238)

Not at all a surprise (2, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351564)

After all, North Korea is not known for its high technology or modern infrastructure. Well, as I'm sure the Mozilla team can tell you, developing a high quality modern browser is not a trivial task. Takes a lot of work and a lot of expertise. They have that, and have many years of code to build on. NK doesn't. So, what do they do? Rip off someone else, of course! That way they can have their own high quality browser with a minimum of effort. There's also little risk of their citizens finding out it is a ripoff and not original work because of course they have almost no access to the outside world.

If any one was actually expecting a real, home grown, innovate OS the were kidding themselves.

Will it be... (1)

Captain Centropyge (1245886) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351240)

...splashing down into the Sea of Japan, too?

Interesting... (2, Funny)

stakovahflow (1660677) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351332)

Do they have the goofy M$ search assistant dog?

Just curious there...

--Stak

Re:Interesting... (1)

Erinnys Tisiphone (1627695) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351390)

Only at lunchtime, stakovahflow.

LOL (-1, Troll)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351364)

Red Star cannot be called modest in terns if system requirements. You will need at least a Pentium III 800 Mhz with 256 Mb RAM and astounding 3Gb hard drive space!

Oh noes! Not a PIII 800 mhz and all of 256 megs of RAM!!! zOMG SUCH HUGE REQUIREMENTS!! Oh and 3 whole gigs of HD space? Golly how will I ever be able to fit that even on my ancient 80 gig hard drive that just sits collecting dust!

Re:LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31351854)

We're talkin' North Korea here, where the only running water is tears.

Re:LOL (2, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#31352022)

North Korean standards of "new". It takes their engineers a decade to completely remove all of the NSA and Chinese backdoors from the hardware.

Want to get a copy of Red Star? (1)

ivanwyc (1649687) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351402)

To get a copy of "Red Star", download the source code of redhat, and s/redhat/Red Star/i

It's based in GNU Hurd . . . (3, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351426)

. . . but the only app is Duke Nukem Forever.

Re:It's based in GNU Hurd . . . (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351784)

. . . but the only app is Duke Nukem Forever.

Ah, that's where North Korea got the plans for the atomic bomb from!

Born on a rainbow star (5, Funny)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351496)

Falling from the heavens like a rainbow star, the operating system appeared as a spirit of the people, willing itself into being to fight the evil west and spread true communist freedom to all people.

uhm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31351622)

But does it run red-starcraft? I mean it's korea after all.

Re:uhm (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31351682)

South Korea is the one with all the Starcraft players, numbnuts.

National competetion (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351964)

Instead of peering at each other through binoculars across the DMZ, the two countries could now clash in an epic StarCraft competition. :)

Re:uhm (1)

oatworm (969674) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351766)

No, but it does run Command & Conquer and its descendants. Curiously, you're only allowed to play as Nod.

Distributed Denail of Service (1)

paxcoder (1222556) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351752)

I bet Slashdot just DDoS'd North Korea.

Their file-sharing is Peer-to-Leader (1)

VennData (1217856) | more than 3 years ago | (#31351794)

...but not the fastest.

Anybody think we'll see pirated copies? (1)

guygo (894298) | more than 3 years ago | (#31352004)

What a concept. A Chinese pirated copy of a "North Korean" OS. The article does note that the system requirements to run this OS is "fairly heavy." Yeah, like electric power. And a user who can read. Oops.

Security?? (1)

AmigaHeretic (991368) | more than 3 years ago | (#31352020)

I'm sure this thing is really secure. Sends data back to N. Korea in real time.

Only thing worse would be running Chrome on it!




//this is a joke chrome fans

LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31352218)

Dear Leader is LOL at western socialists.
Really? They so stupid to give away the source code for nothing?
Let's pack a few suit cases of our best counterfeit dollar and donate to those open source guys.
Maybe they'll give us blueprints of ICBM, stealth fighters ... everything.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>