North Korea is known for more than just (allegedly) hacking movie studios. They also have a custom Linux-based operating system that’s been skinned to look just like OS X, and now you can download and install it yourself.
The OS, called “Red Star,” has been serving the seven people with computers in Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for almost 10 years, but recent versions have been modified to look very similar to OS X, albeit from the Snow Leopard era. Red Star has been covered before, but late last month an anonymous user uploaded a torrent containing the latest build of the operating system, version 3.0.
Though there is some question about the veracity of the torrent poster’s claims — it would be relatively easy to skin a version of Linux to look like the images of Red Star that have leaked in the past — initial examination suggests that the torrent does indeed contain the version of Red Star used in North Korea. Will Scott, an American graduate student who taught computer science in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang in 2013, told Gizmodo that the version of Red Star contained in the torrent is likely “legitimate.”
It goes without saying that you probably shouldn’t install Red Star on your own computer, at least without using a secure virtual machine. Luckily, the folks at Motherboard have taken the plunge for you and offer an in-depth look at the Red Star experience, complete with screenshots.
Those still curious about Red Star can also check out Will Scott’s talk for the Chaos Computer Club, which features a deeper look at the operating system and computing in general in the Hermit Kingdom.
Screenshots in this article via Motherboard.