Update: North Korea Linux 3.0 is out and I have a screenshot tour of the new release over on JimLynch.com. Check it out if you want to see what the latest version of Red Star OS looks like.
There was an announcement a while back that North Korea had come out with its own version of Linux (called Red Star OS). I dropped by the official North Korean site, and found their contact information. I sent a polite email asking for a download link for their distro, but I never heard back from anybody. This was rather rude on their part, or perhaps they just don’t have people who can read English answering their email. Anyway, I wasn’t able to get a download link…until today.
If you aren’t familiar with North Korea, be sure to watch the Vice Guide to North Korea. It’s entertaining and also quite creepy at times.
I’ve embedded all three parts below; each part is about 20 minutes. It’s well worth watching if you want to see what a visit to North Korea is like.
If you want more information about North Korea, see these books:
Before I get into the review, here are a few of things to bear in mind. North Korea Linux comes only in Korean, there is no English version of it.
Second, the fact that I reviewed this distro should not be interpreted as any kind of endorsement of the North Korean government.
Third, I have renamed it for this review to “North Korea Linux” since it’s much clearer as to what the heck this distro is and where it comes from. Many people might not know recognize the name Red Star OS.
Fourth, I have removed the software page of the review. I started trying to figure out what applications had been included but, after a while, I decided it was more of a headache than it was worth. Suffice to say that the selection isn’t all that great, from what I could tell. However, there was a separate disc included with my install that was labeled applications. I did not bother installing it since it would have meant more time spent trying to wade through Korean application menus.
Also, according to a report, North Korea Linux is geared toward monitoring and controlling the web behavior of the North Korean people. So bear that in mind as you read this review.
What’s New In This Release