Countries With Linux Based National Operating Systems

Linux based national operating systems

Yes, you did read it right. I am talking about ‘national operating system’. Now, you may ask if there is such a thing called “national OS” in this era of globalization. Apparently, there is.

Let it be the purpose of providing more support to local language(s), safeguarding against cyber attacks or simply to have more ‘control’ over the general public, few countries are moving away from Microsoft and adopting custom Linux distributions as their national operating system.

Good thing or bad thing, I cannot say. But it is interesting to see these national operating systems, especially when these are based on Linux.


Chinese Ubuntu Kylin
Image Credit: Ubuntu Portal

China has a Chinese version of all popular web services. Baidu for Google, Weibo for Twitter, for Facebook. The list is endless. It is not surprising that China has its own operating system Ubuntu Kylin. As the name suggests Kylin is based on Ubuntu with extensive support for the Chinese language.

Kylin was not always based on Ubuntu though. Initially, it was based on FreeBSD but later it was relaunched as Ubuntu Kylin in the year 2013.


Cuban national OS Nova
Image Credit: Softpedia Linux News

C for China, C for Cuba and C for Communists. Coming up next in this list is another communist country, Cuba.

Like China’s Kylin, Cuba’s national OS Nova is also based on Ubuntu. Latest version Nova 2015 aims to be lightweight in order to replace Windows XP on older hardware and hence it will be using LXDE desktop environment.

North Korea

Red Star OS North Korea

Alright! Another one of the “red countries”. North Korea has its own national OS based on Linux and it goes by the name of Red Star OS. It is being developed since year 2002. There are hardly any details about this operating system because there is no website of Red Star OS. And since North Korea is almost cut off from the rest of the world, no other information is available about it except that it uses KDE.

In fact, first details of Red Star OS were leaked by a Russian student who was in N. Korea. The leaked images and news can be found here (the link no longer exists).


BOSS Linux
Image Credit: The Week

World’s biggest democracy joins the list of three communist countries to have its own Linux based national operating system. BOSS (Bharat Operating System Solutions) is a Debian based Linux OS being developed by  C-DAC (a government owned organization for advanced computing development).

BOSS Linux has been in the market for several years but is in the news again as the new government, with emphasis on ‘digital movement’, plans to extend its usage across government organization. The Indian government has also adopted an Open Source policy to minimize its reliance on Microsoft. In fact, some state government has started to switch to open document format and BOSS Linux already.


IGOS Indonesian Linux
Image Credit:

Research Center for Informatics Indonesian Institute of Sciences has developed IGOS Nusantra Linux to promote Linux in Indonesia. It iss constantly being developed together with the community and has several variants including exclusive support for IoT (Internet of Things).

Thanks to AnTo ‘Samalona’ for suggesting me the Indonesian Linux.


Pardus Linux
Image Credit:

Turkish Government launched Pardus Linux back in 2005. It is developed by Turkish National Research Institute of Electronics and Cryptology in collaboration with Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey. Pardus was appreciated for introducing PiSi package management system. It is based on Debian and uses KDE.

Thanks Mgamal for suggesting the Turkish Linux in the comments.

Russia and Iran

Both Russia and Iran were supposed to be working on their own national operating systems based on Linux. The news broke out around 4-5 years back but so far there are no evidence of such OS being in use.

As per this report, Iran had launched Zamin OS sometimes in 2012 but I have no confirmation on it, unfortunately.

Ever tried these ‘national operating systems’?

If you think countries have national OS is weird, check out these weird Linux based on Ubuntu that contains ‘religious flavor’ as well.

As far as I am concerned, I have never tried any of these Linux OS. I am content with the mainstream Linux distros. But what about you? have you tried any of these Linux OS? And how about your country having its own Linux OS? Did I miss it out? Do share your thoughts.

About the author
Abhishek Prakash

Abhishek Prakash

Created It's FOSS 11 years ago to share my Linux adventures. Have a Master's degree in Engineering and years of IT industry experience. Huge fan of Agatha Christie detective mysteries 🕵️‍♂️

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