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Print 49 comment(s) - last by PhoenixKnight.. on Feb 13 at 10:59 AM

Cuba gets its own Linux distribution designed for Cuban PC users

In an effort to get a step up on the perceived influence of the United States on the computer market, Cuba has launched its own Linux distribution.

The Cuban-made Nova Linux was under development for more than one year, and Cuba unveiled it during the Conference on Communication and Technologies in Havana, Cuba.  

Last year's convention, which unofficially turned into an anti-Microsoft conference, saw open source GNU Project founder Richard Stallman urge Cubans to adopt open source technology.

"Getting greater control over the informatic process is an important issue," said Ramiro Valdes, Communications Minister, who has been a proponent for Cuba to use free and open source software.

It's unsure what packages are available through Nova Linux, and it's still unknown where it can be downloaded.  The Cuban government didn't announce any news of creating a tech support division, so community support will likely operate official tech support for the distribution.

The U.S. trade embargo limiting sale and trade of products by U.S. companies makes it difficult for Cuban computer users to legally purchase and keep Microsoft software updated.

Cuban citizens have been able to purchase their own PC for about one year now, and prior to that had to visit PC clubs to be able to have access to the internet.  With a growing number of citizens now owning PCs, it's the perfect time to begin offering free software for them to use.

Around 20 percent of all computers used in Cuba are now using various forms of Linux distributions.  The Cuban university system and several government agencies have made the switch over, but there are still a few industries delaying the switch because of possible software compatibility issues.

"I would like to think that in five years our country will have more than 50 percent migrated (to Linux)," said Hector Rodriguez, Dean at the School of Free Software at Cuba's University of Information Sciences.  "The free software movement is closer to the ideology of the Cuban people, above all for the independence and sovereignty."

Linux has become increasingly popular in South America, Africa and Eastern Europe, where companies and citizens aren't able to afford all of the latest Microsoft software.  Furthermore, the open source software can be freely distributed among friends and colleagues in these nations, which helps it spread faster than Microsoft can. 



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Yeah, right
By freeagle on 2/12/2009 4:13:44 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
"The free software movement is closer to the ideology of the Cuban people, above all for the independence and sovereignty."


You can talk about freedom and independence, now that the Cubans are allowed to own a computer.

But really, what is the point of creating another distribution of GNU/Linux? It wont do much more (rather less) than the most common and established distros active and maintained for years. Unless of course, they want to have a lot of control of what the Cuban users have installed and what they use. Which again makes look at the "free spirit and independence" statement with ?! above my head.




RE: Yeah, right
By BladeVenom on 2/12/2009 7:22:15 AM , Rating: 3
While Americans still aren't allowed Cuban products or to travel to Cuba.


RE: Yeah, right
By freeagle on 2/12/2009 8:41:25 AM , Rating: 2
So you're implying that freedom of a American and a Cuban is comparable?


RE: Yeah, right
By Aloonatic on 2/12/2009 9:27:24 AM , Rating: 4
Americans can afford to and are free to travel to pretty much anywhere they like but aren't wanted or particularly welcomed in most places.

Cubans can't afford to or are not able to travel to many places around the world but would be welcomed with open arms in most places.

The ironing is delicious.


RE: Yeah, right
By freeagle on 2/12/2009 9:48:38 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
welcomed with open arms


What's so desirable about them?


RE: Yeah, right
By theapparition on 2/12/2009 10:08:39 AM , Rating: 2
Glad I have the almighty word of Aloonatic rather than facts to back that up. Fact is, without American tourism, many resort countries would lose a signifigant amount of revenue. Some countries may not like American policy, but they love American people and more importantly, thier American Dollars!


RE: Yeah, right
By HelToupee on 2/12/2009 10:35:22 AM , Rating: 2
The way the American economy is headed, I'd think they'd rather be paid in Euros, or something gold-backed.


RE: Yeah, right
By Aloonatic on 2/12/2009 10:37:45 AM , Rating: 2
As you say, the world loves American money but, by and large, as a tourist you are tolerated. Nothing more, which is probably just as true for British tourists by the way.

For the record, I have liked most Americans that I have met, at least as much as people from any other country that is.

Sadly though there is a reason why many international travellers from the USA pretend to be Canadian. I know that is an old joke, but many a true word....

I suppose that I could look up the international huggable index for each nation if that would make you happy but I can't really be bothered. I think most people are adult enough to realise that Americans are not viewed particularly favourably around the world and if you were to take away Americans spending power then they'd be liked considerably less.

I'm not sure what the "almighty Aloonatic" thing is about by the way. I'm sorry to have been the one to break the news that Americans are not particularly liked around the globe by a lot of people, I didn't mean to offend.


RE: Yeah, right
By omnicronx on 2/12/2009 1:06:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Some countries may not like American policy, but they love American people
You just keep telling yourself that.. They like money in general, not the American people.
In fact of the caribean islands I have visited that are not under US control (I have been to quite a few), Americans are very much so disliked compared to Europeans and Canadians.


RE: Yeah, right
By theapparition on 2/12/2009 3:35:24 PM , Rating: 2
I'd like to hear which ones since I've been to over 20 countries in the Caribbean and been welcomed at all. Never a single issue. Haven't been to Cuba, but that's about it.

Did you ever consider that maybe they just didn't like you?
:P


RE: Yeah, right
By phxfreddy on 2/12/2009 6:59:28 PM , Rating: 2
simply wrong. ( Bush derangement syndrome alert.)

You want to tell all my nonamerican friends that they should be hating america? You'll have a long list of just about every country in the world. You obviously do not travel very much. I do. Americans and America is loved in the VAST majority of places you would actually want to go to.

I feel sorry for Cubans. The poor fckuers lined up just to see OTHER people buy computers when they were finally allowed to recently. Most were too poor to buy.


RE: Yeah, right
By Aloonatic on 2/13/2009 3:13:13 AM , Rating: 2
For your sake (assuming you're an American) I wish it was something as simple as George W Bush, but it's not. Americans are disliked for many other reasons than the last 8 years of foreign policy.

I understand that it it easy to just blame everything on the latest Bush administration but that is not it.

By the way, I never said anything about hating America. It is the assumption that a lot of very defensive Americans tend to jump to, I don't know why. I said that you were disliked. There is a big difference. Now you mention it though, if you were to poll people from all around the world about which nation is the most hated, who do you think would come out on top?

quote:
Americans and America is loved in the VAST majority of places you would actually want to go to.

I don't really understand what your point is there. Of course you are going to want to go to places that you area disliked. Even in places where you have traditionally been welcomed (such as the UK) your stock is dropping pretty quickly too.

As I said, everywhere around the world. Cubans would be welcomed, Americans, not so much.

You know, a lot of people around the world feel sorry for a lot of Americans too. Those left to rot in New Orleans , the so called ""trailer trash" who live in crappy little mobile homes, those who have to sell their homes to pay for medical care.....

No country or system is perfect of course, it would be silly (and you would look very silly) to pretend otherwise.


RE: Yeah, right
By Aloonatic on 2/13/2009 5:09:47 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Of course you are going to want to go to places that you area disliked.

<edit> Of course you are not going to want to go to places that you are disliked.</edit>

Sometimes I even amaze myself with my own stupidity and inability to proof read my posts :)

That isn't even the only fault above but I'd be here all day correcting them :-s I know that DT readers are compassionate souls who would never quibble over a typo or rushed bleary-eyed morning post :)

I blame a lack of coffee and I'm sticking to that excuse.


RE: Yeah, right
By theapparition on 2/12/2009 10:02:17 AM , Rating: 2
There's no such thing as complete freedom. By definition, complete freedom is anarchy, since anyone can do anything they chose, including murder.

So there are laws that must be followed, and for as much as your argument tries to twist the facts, Americans enjoy more freedoms than virtually any other nation. How many other countries can you vocally protest it's government and not "disappear" soon after?

On a side note, anyone else catch that the name is "Nova" linux. No va, means No Go in spanish.


RE: Yeah, right
By phxfreddy on 2/12/2009 7:03:35 PM , Rating: 2
Anarchy is only without any of the -ARCHIES....( monarchy, oligarchy etc. ). Anarchy is in fact the libertarian ideal and does not imply any violence unless you solely think of the radical movements that used the world incorrectly.

The fact is you live in an anarchical world. Murder is rarely prevented by laws. Its too easy to get away with in most places of the world. You must open your eyes but when you do the world comes into focus and its not ruled by petty dictators thank god. Its ruled by physical nature.


RE: Yeah, right
By Lord 666 on 2/12/2009 7:34:44 AM , Rating: 3
Have a strong feeling Obama will ease restrictions on Cuba within the next 4 years for several reasons.

By then, Microsoft can plan the Windows 7 Cigar Edition invasion.


RE: Yeah, right
By Aloonatic on 2/12/2009 9:43:59 AM , Rating: 2
Ah yes, Win cigar edition where the BSOD is replaced by the Exploding Cigar of Death.

Note to the editors, couldn't you have shooped a cigar into the penguins mouth for the article pic?


RE: Yeah, right
By tmouse on 2/12/2009 7:44:36 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
"Getting greater control over the informatic process is an important issue,"


This may hint at what they want. This distro may have a few undesirable "specials" included.


RE: Yeah, right
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 2/12/2009 7:52:35 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
This distro may have a few undesirable "specials" included.

I don't doubt that in the least considering the government over there.


RE: Yeah, right
By segerstein on 2/12/2009 8:05:43 AM , Rating: 2
Like a backdoor for Super Castro Brothers to listen in and intercept communication between Bob-omb and Bullet Bill ;-)


RE: Yeah, right
By jbartabas on 2/12/2009 8:06:21 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Unless of course, they want to have a lot of control of what the Cuban users have installed and what they use.


In addition to what is installed and used, I have the feeling that this gvt will have a hard time resisting the temptation to insert special 'features' is their distrib. But then I am wondering how it is going to work with GNU? Are they going to leave the sources open, as they should??


RE: Yeah, right
By freeagle on 2/12/2009 8:39:42 AM , Rating: 2
You don't have to open your source codes, unless you change a GPL program, link to a GPL library or change LGPL library. If you dynamically link to LGPL library (which is the license of almost all GNU system libraries), you are free to do with sources of your program anything you want.


RE: Yeah, right
By ZachDontScare on 2/12/2009 1:40:15 PM , Rating: 2
Keep in mind, Cuba is a sovereign nation, so they can do whatever they want with GPL code. Its not like you can sue them in their courts.


As Leia would say...
By kontorotsui on 2/12/2009 4:14:06 AM , Rating: 2
The more you tighten your grip, Microsoft, the more computer systems will slip through your fingers.




RE: As Leia would say...
By mforce on 2/12/09, Rating: 0
RE: As Leia would say...
By SunAngel on 2/12/2009 7:43:07 AM , Rating: 2
you do realize that some people are so far behind in a race that they actually believe they are in the lead, right?

when you bring the Linusoft debate to the table please keep that in mind.


RE: As Leia would say...
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 2/12/2009 7:51:53 AM , Rating: 5
Linux fanboys wet themselves daily over these articles. Realistically for all the "gains" Linux makes, it still has no clue what its target market is. If Linux wants to break into the business market to any measurable extent on the desktop end, they need to consolidate and knock it off with the whole anarchy idealism. Red Hat is probably the only Linux Vendor I have any respect for.


RE: As Leia would say...
By theaerokid on 2/12/2009 9:17:29 AM , Rating: 2
The target market should be whatever you (as a distro builder) want to target. Isn't that supposed to be one of the advantages of the whole freedom thing? Full consolidation would go against that.

Having said that, better consistency in the structure of things like directory structure, package managers, etc would help the community not waste efforts doing duplicate work and would help the free software movement in that regard. You should still have the freedom to decide how fruity you want to make the desktop or how pedantic you want to make your security mechanisms.

I don't think that the fact that their free software convention turns into an anti-corporate, anti-imperialist rant party takes from the possibility that they're trying to exercise that freedom in a way. How much of that they pass on to their users is another issue.


RE: As Leia would say...
By BansheeX on 2/12/2009 11:32:13 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The target market should be whatever you (as a distro builder) want to target. Isn't that supposed to be one of the advantages of the whole freedom thing? Full consolidation would go against that.


Yes, you can set a target market, but unlimited customization on the API level is a terrible thing that makes developers create infinite variations of their software to reach all users. Windows does not compete with itself like this, it has the authority at least to include its own official DirectX instruction set, which has been a boon for developers and users.

What really ends up happening in Linux world, is that developers make programs for their favorite instruction set, and so each distro ends up with its own program exclusives. So in order for the user to use all programs made for Linux, he has to install a distro for each instruction set that exists. There's simply no chance in hell of Linux eating into Window's marketshare with this philosophy.


RE: As Leia would say...
By PhoenixKnight on 2/13/2009 10:59:41 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
What really ends up happening in Linux world, is that developers make programs for their favorite instruction set, and so each distro ends up with its own program exclusives


That's odd, in all the time I have been using Linux, I have never seen a single program that only works in one distro but not others. Can you please name one such program?


RE: As Leia would say...
By omnicronx on 2/12/2009 12:30:26 PM , Rating: 2
Funny Red Hat/Fedora is the only Distro I have absolutely NO respect for.. The reluctance to change from an RPM based dependency nightmare distro is one of the main reasons why consolidation between distros will not happen anytime soon.

Dependency issues are killing linux, it is a great OS, but you should not have to be a rocket scientist to install a program.

Debian based distros like Ubuntu are taking a step in the right direction with a central repository, but lack of testing pretty much keeps it out of the enterprise/business market.


RE: As Leia would say...
By m4elstrom on 2/12/2009 1:12:11 PM , Rating: 2
I am with ya in your hatred for red hat/fedora. Have you guys ever seen a bill for tech support from these guys?, it makes M$ look like errand boys in comparison, plus patches are not well documented sometimes. As for Debian based distros, let me tell you that those distros are toys at best, they are cool, and easy but they are made for "Lusers". Lusers are better off with windows. If you guys got a need for Linux then be my guest, but no distro/os can do everything for everyone doesn't matter how much next gen design you apply. If you go Linux then go Debian/Gentoo if not its a waste of time.


RE: As Leia would say...
By Fritzr on 2/12/2009 7:57:52 PM , Rating: 2
Methinks you wrote that a little hastily.
...Debian based Linux is for lusers...
...If not going with Debian/Gentoo based Linux you're wasting your time...

Which is it?

There is nothing wrong with a variety of distros each supporting a part of the market. What is needed is agreement on the system API so that users are able to download and run a binary release of user level programs. As long as there are multiple release formats used seemingly at random by the various distros and multiple system APIs for what is supposedly the same system, there will be little penetration into the ordinary consumer market.

Forcing people to compile and occasionally edit source in order to install programs released only for another distro is ridiculous outside the hobbyist market.

Multiple package formats are supportable. However there needs to be a toolset for all distros that will import all he "foreign" packages so that users do not need to create a package from the raw binaries or recompile the source to install.

Windows does this natively. You do not need to ask what package manager a Windows program uses. You only need to make sure that it is for the version you use, or if not a system utility, an earlier version of Windows. Linux will take off when it gains this capability.

I like Linux for the freedom to play with the OS itself and choose what kind of user interface will be used. It is not my primary OS due to it's lack of friendliness to end users.


RE: As Leia would say...
By mforce on 2/12/2009 1:54:43 PM , Rating: 2
You people have no clue what you're talking about. I was talking about Linux in general , not Linux as Desktop OS. Ubuntu isn't Linux you know.
How many sites you visit each day are hosted on Linux. Do you folks happen to use google ? Well guess what , it runs on Linux. I wouldn't be surprised if this site was hosted on Linux server, not saying it is though.
It's not about Red Hat either "Master" it's about Android and Palm Pre and that router you have at home , keep in mind Linux is a kernel. Sure , when it comes to competing with MS or Mac OS Linux is doing pretty bad now. Perhaps 1% market right now I think.
But the netbooks are spreading , web apps are spreading and so is Linux. Intel is working on Moblin , Google released Android , ARM netbooks will run Linux too. Keep an open mind please.
And no , I'm not wetting myself , using Vista right now to type this so you can hardly call me a fanboy. I've even been called a Windows fanboy by Mac lovers just because I said the Mac is useless :)). But that's another story. It's you people who downgrade this who are really the fanboys.
Heck last I heard even the US ambassadors lobby for M$ so I'm not surprised a few people here like MS.


RE: As Leia would say...
By CommodoreVic20 on 2/12/2009 2:28:26 PM , Rating: 2
Brilliant man! My thoughts exactly!


RE: As Leia would say...
By kontorotsui on 2/12/2009 1:24:35 PM , Rating: 2
Whoever rated me down, has no sense of humor AND sucks at Star Wars references - __ -


Wrong name...
By Oralen on 2/12/2009 7:28:06 AM , Rating: 5
Should have called it Cuba Libre... :-)




RE: Wrong name...
By RamarC on 2/12/2009 11:29:30 AM , Rating: 2
and thrown in a couple of havana cigars. nothing's better than a tight ash...


RE: Wrong name...
By omnicronx on 2/12/2009 12:58:12 PM , Rating: 2
or perhaps 'linux o muerte'.. I've been there twice, and I always get a good chuckle out of the big signs at the airports similar to the big apple at luagardia in NY that read 'socialismo o muerte' (socialism or death)


RE: Wrong name...
By SavagePotato on 2/12/2009 1:04:49 PM , Rating: 2
I would call it the die capitalist pig edition.

But then that is kind of the theme for linux as a whole.


CastrOS
By Runiteshark on 2/12/2009 11:40:52 AM , Rating: 3
"Hey guys how you doing"

"Oh just trying this new distro of nix"

"Really, what's it called?"

"CastrOS"

"Whats it do?"

"The same thing as any other distro, except it comes preinstalled with a keylogger and some remote administration software, and any time you google "freedom" you just get a picture of Castro's face with a cigar in his mouth"

"So its like Vista?"

"Yep."




RE: CastrOS
By m4elstrom on 2/12/2009 1:14:45 PM , Rating: 2
Lol, thats just pure gold.


GREAT!!!
By Gul Westfale on 2/12/2009 8:21:51 AM , Rating: 2
now they only need computers to run it on.




RE: GREAT!!!
By Lord 666 on 2/12/2009 8:29:27 AM , Rating: 2
China will more than likely "donate" all the computer junk we have given them to "recycle."


hmm...
By roostitup on 2/12/2009 4:08:32 AM , Rating: 2
Our Microsoft for their cigars...seems like a good trade! :)




we could do the same in the usa
By tastyratz on 2/12/2009 8:18:19 AM , Rating: 2
"so what OS do you run at home, windows xp? the new fancy pants 7?"

"No... my computer runs AMERICA at home.... F&#! yea"




illegal?
By albundy2 on 2/12/2009 12:22:57 PM , Rating: 2
"The U.S. trade embargo limiting sale and trade of products by U.S. companies makes it difficult for Cuban computer users to legally purchase and keep Microsoft software updated."

It's our laws that prohibit it, not theirs. The Pirate Bay knows all about US companies, thinking US laws apply to the rest of the world.




By bubbastrangelove on 2/12/2009 1:02:23 PM , Rating: 2
I honestly thought this was going to be a satire article from The Onion when I saw the title.

The evil Microsoft Empire initially welcomed what looked like a democratic Nova but within a few months the lead programmer, Midel Kastro, established tribunals for for Nova Opponents and jailed hundreds. Kastro disavowed the alliance with Microsoft and teamed with Soviet Linux.

Microsoft tried to take Nova back with force using the Bay of Pigs and Russian Missile Crisis virus but both were fought off by the developing but surprisingly resistant and resilient defense system.

Nova intends raise future revenues by producing the ever coveted Cigar Software.




Why swith?
By bobny1 on 2/13/2009 7:43:19 AM , Rating: 2
Those overpriced computers that the Cuban Government has being selling to the public are made with cheap Chinese parts and stolen microsoft software. They live in a wild world. They think they have their own rights and no body have the right to claim or dispute any intellectual property. That's what they do to their own people!. Everything belongs to the" the revolution" and "the people"..Pathetic!!.




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