N.Korean Copycat OS Switches from Microsoft to Apple

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, North Korea's computer operating system Red Star 3.0 bears witness to a switch of allegiance from Microsoft to Apple in the Stalinist country.

Since the early 2000s, the North has been using its own software on computers found mostly in libraries and schools. Its predecessors, Red Star 1.1 and Red Star 2.0, were modified versions of Linux with background screens and menus copied from Microsoft Windows.

But Red Star 3.0, according to the BBC on Thursday, bears a close resemblance to the Apple Mac OSX program, from the way users can set background images to how icons have been placed on the main window.

The latest version of North Korean computer operating system Red Star /North Korea Tech The latest version of North Korean computer operating system Red Star /North Korea Tech

Replacing the Apple logo in the top left hand corner of the screen is a red star.

The calendar does not say 2014 but 103, the number of years since the birth of nation founder Kim Il-sung.

The screenshots of Red Star 3.0 were obtained by American computer scientist Will Scott, who taught at the private Pyongyang University of Science and Technology as a visiting professor, and first published on the North Korea Tech blog.

Scott bought the program from the Korea Computer Center in Pyongyang and brought it back to the U.S. KCC is the North's biggest computer and IT organization and developed the Red Star platform.

The switch may reflect leader Kim Jong-un's personal preference for Apple products. Red Star 3.0 was developed after he came to power in late 2011.

englishnews@chosun.com / Feb. 07, 2014 11:49 KST