I still need the reassurance of a familiar brand before it's a real story - Tony Maddox, CNN senior VP
THE GLORIOUS NATION of North Korea has leaked a recent version of its Red Star operating system (OS).
The state sanctioned Linux derivative is sporting a new look for this version that owes more than a little to Apple's Mac OS X. This will come as a bitter blow to Microsoft, which saw Windows copied in earlier editions, emphasising that no one even wants to rip off the company any longer.
The heavily censored operating system first came to light in 2013 when a Russian student attending university in Pyongyang posted screen shots. Included is a locked down version of open source browser Firefox with access to a limited number of state approved websites, as well as productivity and Email software.
The North Korean Tech Blog tells of lecturer Will Scott who taught at the same university at the end of 2013 was able to take screenshots of Version 3, which has seen the Windows aping style replaced by something that Mac users will find hauntingly familiar.
Despite appearances, however, the system remains based on Red Hat Linux, and includes a program called Wine, which allows Linux systems to run Windows programs.
As well as the limited access for the end user, the peppering of pro-government propganda and doubtless a raft of government installed surveillance spyware, the Red Star OS calendar tells users that the year is 103, that being the number of years since the "Eternal Leader" Kim Il Sung and grandfather of premier Kim Jong-Un was born.
Reports that the recently ignored Microsoft is looking to the Red Star OS for ideas that it can use to boost flagging sales of Windows 8 are unconfirmed. µ
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