SOME DETAILS about North Korea's much rumoured Red Star operating system are slowly starting to emerge.
In late February a Russian blogger purchased and stripped down a copy of the operating system, detailing its features and requirements.
The blogger tells us that Red Star requires a Pentium III 800MHz CPU, 256MB RAM and a 3GB hard drive to run. It is Linux-based, but apes the Microsoft Windows look and feel.
Red Star is not feature rich, but offers an apparent clone of the Firefox web browser, text, video and PDF viewers, image tools, a calculator and a handful of games.
The translation makes the blog pretty much unreadable, but the blogger, called Mikhail, explained that he bought both a server and client version on the street for roughly £3.
Red Star is heavily loaded with Korean imagery, and even its readme information includes this warning, "You must create a system based on the Linux kernel in our [Korean] style."
Today the BBC has reported about a study from South Korea's Science and Technology Policy Institute, which warned that the Red Star software is designed to increase government control over its citizens and their access to technology and the Internet. What? In North Korea?
The release looks to be a continuation of cuddly Kim Jong-il's plans to throw a net over the Internet. In May of last year North Korea's glorious leader strengthened technological defences at the country's borders, and hired roughly 100 hackers, many of whom even had access to computers, to boost its e-war cabinet. Or e-war shoebox. µ
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