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Phuket Tech Talk: Red Star rises in the east

PHUKET: While the Windows, Android and Apple battle rages around the globe, it has been brought to an abrupt halt in the most unlikely of places – North Korea.

By Byron Noel

Friday 14 March 2014, 01:41PM

As the hermit nation creeps ever so slowly towards technological advancement, it has made one thing clear: Windows is out, and Mac is in.

North Korea has a long history of copying Microsoft’s Windows for its PCs, but their latest offering has dumped the traditional Windows OS and instead copied the Mac OS X look and feel (See Microsoft, even Kim Jong-Un hates the Metro tiles in Windows 8).

The aptly named Red Star OS, you have to admit it’s kind of catchy, has been created using Linux (the same system that Steam OS is created on), and resembles an earlier version of OS X.

They say that being copied is the highest compliment one can receive, but massive legal battles between Samsung and Apple have shown Steve Job's company to be a poor recipient of such comments. Still, I can’t imagine Apple doing much about it. That is, unless Apple’s reps would enjoy an extended stay in a labour camp.

Besides the basic look and feel of an earlier OS X, Red Star OS is not exactly designed with freedom and creativity in mind. There is no supporting app store, so consumers are stuck with basic apps, office software, and email.

A media player with open-source software Wine is also included by default. This is presumably because Wine is pretty much the only way to run Windows software on Linux, which also tells us that Microsoft hasn’t lost favour completely.

QSI International School Phuket

The OS is also reportedly full of restrictive and monitoring code, so it is a little more like Apple than Apple may care to admit. Besides taking legal action against prospective 'complimentors,' Apple is also quite well-known for its iron-like grip over development and media releases relating to its products.

Still, that’s about where the similarities end.

The change in Red Star OS’ appearance likely stems from Kim Jong-Un's personal use of Apple products. The odd picture of him at his desk with an iMac is testament to how popular Apple products have become, but more importantly, it is another tiny indication that North Korea is slowly opening up to the outside world.

While we all wait for Korean unification (brought on by Apple and Dennis Rodman, of course) the iCommies among us can revel in the fact that while Windows, Android and Apple continue to do battle worldwide, a winner has already been declared in one country.

Complaints/comments can be given in person to: Executioner, 1600 No Freedom Avenue, ‘Greatest City on Earth’ Pyongyang, The Always Democratic People's Republic of Korea.



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