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5 Feb, 2014 20:54

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

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

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.

Image from northkoreatech.org

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.

Image from northkoreatech.org

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)