Monday, February 19, 2007

Cuba and Venezuela Going To Open-Source Operating Systems

Cuba's communist government is trying to shake off the yoke of at least one capitalist empire -- Microsoft Corp. -- by joining with socialist Venezuela in converting its computers to open-source software.

Both governments say they are trying to wean state agencies from Microsoft's proprietary Windows to the open-source Linux operating system, which is developed by a global community of programmers who freely share their code.

"It's basically a problem of technological sovereignty, a problem of ideology," said Hector Rodriguez, who oversees a Cuban university department of 1,000 students dedicated to developing open-source programs. ...

Cuban officials, ever focused on U.S. threats, also see it as a matter of national security.

Communications Minister Ramiro Valdes, an old comrade-in-arms of President Fidel Castro, raised suspicions about Microsoft's cooperation with U.S. military and intelligence agencies as he opened a technology conference this week.

He called the world's information systems a "battlefield" where Cuba is fighting against imperialism.

He also noted that Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates once described copyright reformers -- including people who want to do away with proprietary software -- as "some new modern-day sort of communists" -- which is a badge of honor from the Cuban perspective. ...

Cuba's Cabinet also has urged a shift from proprietary software. The customs service has gone to Linux and the ministries of culture, higher education and communications are planning to do so, Rodriguez said.

And students in his own department are cooking up a version of Linux called Nova, based on Gentoo distribution of the operating system. The ministry of higher education is developing its own.

Rodriguez's department accounts for 1,000 of the 10,000 students within the University of Information Sciences, a five-year-old school that tries to combine software development with education.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is really the best news I've heard in a long time. I only wish Canada would follow suit. But I know that is wishful thinking for now.

2/19/2007 1:48 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...


It is definitely a good move for them operational security-wise.

Some folks over here are now hoping that the recipients of a large number of complementary Arabic language Windows discs don't get the same idea.

2/19/2007 2:43 PM  

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