Monday, April 5, 2010

Red Star Operating System

More news on North Korea’s N. Korea's 'Red Star' operating system.

North Korea's new "Red Star" computer operating system is mainly designed to control the flow of information on the Internet tapped by users, a review by a state-run think tank said.
The Science and Technology Policy Institute (STEPI) said a detailed technical analysis of Red Star version 1.1 shows it is a Linux-based operating system with low-end options similar to those found in products that reached the market in the early 2000s.
It added that while it is similar to the ubiquitous Windows OS, emphasis has been placed on meeting security and other local requirements. There is only one Korean-language version of the system and due to the limited number of compatible applications there is little likelihood of its being put to wider use.
STEPI's study is the first technical analysis of the Red Star OS that was first developed in 2002 by the North's Korea Computer Center. Prior to its introduction, Pyongyang used the English versions of Microsoft Windows.
A Russian student in Pyongyang recently purchased an updated version of the Red Star and introduced it on his blog, though this was not a specialized review.
"The review was needed to get an estimate of how far North Korea's OS software has progressed," the STEPI report said. It added that Red Star represents North Korea's attempt to overcome the country's isolation in the computer field while at the same time coping with security concerns.
The communist country maintains close tabs on information and data into and out of the country and does not permit its people to freely surf the World Wide Web, with particular emphasis on prohibiting visits to South Korean Internet sites.
The institute under the education and science ministry said there is almost no political content and that developers have continuously updated the Red Star OS over the years.
One bright side to this is that atleast the country is not shackled to Microsoft like South Korea.
"In short, South Korea is a sad example of a Microsoft monoculture where the course of history and the lack of anti-monopoly oversight have created a nation where every computer user is a Windows user and banking or ecommerce or any secure transaction on the Internet with South Korean entities must be done with Internet Explorer on a Windows OS."