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Cuba Launches Own Linux Variation 494

Posted by samzenpus
from the the-people's-OS dept.
willclem writes "According to Reuters, it seems that Cuba has launched its own variation of Linux in order to fulfill its government's desire to replace Microsoft operating systems. 'Getting greater control over the informatic process is an important issue,' said Communications Minister Ramiro Valdes, who heads a commission pushing Cuba's migration to free software."
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Cuba Launches Own Linux Variation

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Countries developing their own open source software? How about open source software developing [metagovernment.org] its own countries?
  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:30AM (#26823239)
    That is to say, that's one of the smarter things I have heard about a government lately.
    • by Colin Smith (2679) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @06:26AM (#26825137)

      Our politicians aren't stupid either. The simply can't afford to piss off their backers, so they end up making all kinds of bizarre and unhelpful decisions in order to please them.

      I mean... Fuck. We're well into the trillions now. How big is a trillion? 1,000,000,000,000 dollars. It's a lot of paper.

      Here's a question for you... How much capital does a well run bank need?

      Answer: SFA.

      Under the existing fractional reserve system, banks don't need much money, as bizarre as that sounds. With 700 billion dollars and the existing 10% reserve ratio in the US, the American government could have entirely replaced the existing fucked up banks with clean banks able to lend, and the problem would largely have been solved by now. Instead, of allowing them to fail, they are propping up a bunch of what are effectively zombie banks, as the Japanese government also did. I assume they'll continue to prop them up until they can unload their toxic crap on the government.

      Why? Well, have a look at the campaign contributions for that answer. I mean, jesus. Geithner; New York Fed. Do you really expect anything to change?

      Oh, btw, you and your children are paying for the privilege.
       

    • by jc42 (318812) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @10:33AM (#26827007) Homepage Journal

      That is to say, that's one of the smarter things I have heard about a government lately.

      But it doesn't really require any special smarts to understand that if you buy a "black box" computer whose innards are all binary blobs that your people can't take apart and study, the computer can do anything at all with your data, and you have no defense. In particular, if you plug it into a network, it can be sending all your data off to anywhere in the world.

      If someone doesn't understand this, the reason isn't usually stupidity. It's because they have some ulterior motive to not understand it. In the case of politicians, the reason is generally because they're "on the take", known in the US as "campaign contributions". This is likely to be the case with non-governmental organizations, too. After all, it has become common for organizations to let vendors know that they're looking at linux and other "free" software. The response from Microsoft and other vendors is to (publicly) offer their software at a much lower price, and (privately) offer kickback to the administrators.

      You don't need to attribute great intelligence to someone who understands this. It's the way that much of the world has always worked. We can expect to read of some vaguely-specified special agreements between Microsoft and the Cuban government, and we'll know what has gone on behind the scenes.

  • CigarOS (Score:5, Funny)

    by russlar (1122455) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:30AM (#26823247)
    Gives new meaning to the term patch rollup.
  • by TinBromide (921574) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:31AM (#26823249)
    Seeing as you have to go through great hoops, (most of them not legal), to get anything Cuban around here, how is the Cuban government running american products? I suppose they purchased from south american, european or asian retailers, but one has to wonder, how many legit copies of windows are in Cuba? Can Microsoft go in to sue the Cuban government about illegal copies? What jurisdiction would Microsoft have to keep Cuba from enjoying their cracked copies until communism dies?
    • by zxjio (1475207) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:48AM (#26823365)
      It seems likely that their government would just buy from ISVs in another country. Microsoft can't see it, can't stop it, can't be held liable. Remember the recent case of HP selling a significant amount of printers to Iran in just such a way?
    • by xPsi (851544) * on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:53AM (#26823395)

      How did microsoft get around the embargo?

      They aren't a company, man. They're their own frickn' weather system. They just need the coriolis force the tell them which way to spin.

    • by plasticsquirrel (637166) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @01:04AM (#26823473)
      The embargo is only between the U.S. and Cuba. They no doubt buy from another country, and there's no real reason Microsoft would want to lose them as customers. Corporations aren't really moral entities with benevolent scruples about freedom of the press, good vs. evil, etc.

      Looking at the record of foreign policy, privacy, and civil liberties in this country, we also have to ask ourselves if we really have the moral high ground to make judgments about other countries like this, as well. When was the last time Cuba started an international conflict? The expression "Physician, heal thyself" springs to mind.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        The embargo affects more than just the US.
        Foreign companies that do business in Cuba are forbidden to do business in the U.S.
        Any ship carrying goods to Cuba cannot dock in a U.S. controlled port for a period of something like 6 months.

  • US companies aren't supposed to be doing business with Cuba in the first place; shouldn't their computers not even have MS products? And what make are these machines they have? Given other recent news, I assume they're HPs...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Bert64 (520050)

      Considering most hardware is made in asia anyway, i doubt cuba has much of a problem obtaining computers...

  • or just Fuck Capitalists Linux? So many choices!
  • by Aranwe Haldaloke (789555) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:47AM (#26823361)
    Tell me I'm not the only one who expected its name to be Cubuntu.
  • Sounds like the smartest Cuban leader I've heard about in awhile...

  • Castrate Linux

  • The big deal (Score:3, Interesting)

    by moniker127 (1290002) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:58AM (#26823441)
    I dont see the big deal here. Governments would love to have direct control of operating systems, so that they can place undocumented "features" inside them. Even if they release the source code (which I suppose they have to, theoretically), 99.99% of the users who will be employing their distro will not be able to understand what source code even is, or how to interpret it.
    Well, I guess there are still people (the people who are reading this message) who will be able to report any backdoors/home phoning they notice placed into the source, but that will only make a difference provided:
    1- Cuba releases the source
    2- The distro is popular enough to have people using it
    3- People carefully examine the source code
    4- Said examiners are able to spot a problem
    5- Said problem is heard by the end users of the distro
    6- End users of the distro have options as to what operating system they are able to use, if it is mandated by the government, they pretty much have to live with it.
  • Fidel Penguin? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jtara (133429) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:58AM (#26823443)

    I'd love to see the logo be an image of Fidel dressed-up as a penguin.

    I'm pretty sure the guy has a sense of humor. When I was a kid, I was a "shortwave listener" (before I got my ham license) and sent of to Radio Havana (among others) for a "QSL" card, confirming that I had heard their station.

    Besides the card, I got other periodic mailings, including a Christmxxxx New Year card one year, bearing the cartoon likeness of Fidel Castro, laid-out on the dining-room table as a pig, complete with an apple in his mouth. I kid you not. I'll bet he had a big laugh.

    Wish I still had it - could probably sell it for a bundle on eBay!

    (Other "interesting" material I received included a copy of the Little Red Book from Radio Peking, and a subscription to China Pictorial - a beautifully-printed bled-to-edge full color magazine with gorgeous pictures of fields and tractors...)

  • by WindBourne (631190) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @01:02AM (#26823461) Journal
    There market is about to shrink in a BIG way. If they were smart, they would jump on a couple of distros of linux and make sure that they are the standards. Adobe, Intuit, AutoCad all have programs that are in demand. If they port to this, they can quit having to compete against MS on MS's turf. More importantly, they would get a WHOLE NEW market with minimal competition.
    • by zappepcs (820751) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @01:20AM (#26823547) Journal

      I said something similar [slashdot.org] regarding the Russian decision to use Linux. It wasn't received too well. I think that this sort of event truly does mean trouble for MS and proprietary software in a rather large way.

      I think that it is more likely that F/OSS developers will beat large proprietary vendors to the punch though. There will be a new market for proprietary Linux software though. When Adobe does port to Linux it doesn't have to be Free or Open Source to run on Linux, but it will be hard to sell software to people that are happy to use the F/OSS alternatives.

      It should be interesting times.

      • by WindBourne (631190) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @01:34AM (#26823631) Journal
        You are Right. You have red flag in China; The new one in Russia; Various South American states are talking about doing more. Funny thing is, NOW is the time to fire up new apps on Linux. The other companies like Adobe, Intuit, etc are NOT there. A start-up can make a killing by not having commercial competition. As to FOSS beating them to the punch, FOSS works GREAT for OSs and MAJOR apps. But when you have SPECIALIZED apps, like say design a deck for a house, or design your yard, etc. than Commercial really shines; Service, Market or Trade Data, etc. I would not be surprised to see a number of new start up companies around the world taking on these companies because they have the Windows system locked up. That is how it happened on the move from mainframe to DOS and then Windows. The companies that had the mainframe locked up did not move until new and better competition came along.
        • But some large company probably has a patent for "designing a deck using a computer."

        • A start-up can make a killing by not having commercial competition.

          One thing I am concerned about is that Linux is a moving target. Will an app developed today work on a distro 10 years from now, without having to rewrite it to match the modern libraries? (Wouldn't that lead to linux dll's?) Something like Gentoo's ability to have multiple versions of the same package would be useful...

          • One thing I am concerned about is that Linux is a moving target. Will an app developed today work on a distro 10 years from now, without having to rewrite it to match the modern libraries?

            The good thing it that nothing will stop distro-makers from packaging several libraries or several generations of them.

            In fact most installed Linux around have both QT and GTK2 installed, because these are use by lot of software. As a similar example, during the KDE3-4 transition you're bound to find both QT3 and QT4 installed on lots of machines. Up until recently you had GTK1 and GTK2 installed together because lots of legacy application didn't make the move.

            Also if some legacy interface is *that much* po

    • There market is about to shrink...

      err... Sorry to be a grammar Nazi, but... since your sig is:

      I prefer the "u" in honour as it seems to be missing these days.

      It seems timely to let you know that you should have used "their".

    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @02:58AM (#26824021) Homepage Journal

      All commercial software I have ever written runs on Linux. Almost all companies I've worked for ran Linux on some or all of their computers. All customers I've worked with ran Linux on some or all of their computers. And most of these computers running Linux ran commercial software.

      Linux is already big. Linux is already receiving major commercial support.

      The only reason people think Linux isn't big is that it isn't big on the desktop.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by WindBourne (631190)
        The only reason people think Linux isn't big is that it isn't big on the desktop. Exactly. That is why MS fears Linux, not Apple. Apple has a chunk of desktop and a big lead in mp3 players and very small lead in SINGLE phone (and shrinking). They are pretty much locked in because they are just an appliance group. Linux is an OS that others can play and sell with.
        But Linux on the desktop is about to take off. And when it does, all the other types of areas (servers, large embedded, small embedded, even hard
  • by Steauengeglase (512315) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @01:07AM (#26823485)

    Lunix can run on a '59 Eldorado? Impressive.

    • by Dahamma (304068)

      Yeah, but the newest version they could get was 0.98. They are still maintaining it, though!

  • by DaveBarr (35447)

    If only we could invent a version of Linux that had a spellchecker which would shoot the user in the head for not one but two typos of "it's". Jesus Christ folks, YOU CAN'T EVEN FUCKING CUT AND PASTE THE CORRECT SPELLING FROM THE ORIGINAL FUCKING ARTICLE!?

  • Nova, eh? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by photomonkey (987563)

    Chevy had some trouble in Mexico and South America with it's 'Nova,' because the name is a play on no va, or it doesn't go.

    Funny that Cuba would pick such a name for their new OS.

    • Re:Nova, eh? (Score:5, Informative)

      by dido (9125) <dido@@@imperium...ph> on Thursday February 12, 2009 @01:38AM (#26823653)

      Apparently that old story just isn't true [snopes.com].

      • The Daewoo "espero" is though...
      • I think this part is especially concise:

        Assuming that Spanish speakers would naturally see the word "nova" as equivalent to the phrase "no va" and think "Hey, this car doesn't go!" is akin to assuming that English speakers woud spurn a dinette set sold under the name Notable because nobody wants a dinette set that doesn't include a table.

    • by z0idberg (888892)
      I dont know about the Nova, but I do remember seeing a Cuban guy laughing hysterically after just arriving at Sydney airport and seeing a Mitsubishi Pajero [wikipedia.org] parked outside.
    • by orzetto (545509)

      "Nova" is a perfectly fine word in Spanish, meaning "new" in the feminine gender. It is also pronounced /'nova/, while "No va" would be /'no 'va/, with accent on both words; it is therefore written and spoken differently. Obviously if they end up with a crappy distro, people will start making that sort of puns.

  • by JoeZ99 (999617) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @02:20AM (#26823851) Homepage
    I've been living in cuba for the last 6 years. I've been using linux since the slackware 100 diskettes era (about 12 years ago).
    • cuba is absolutely windows friendly. everybody in everywhere uses windows. The goverment itself announced a few years ago it was going to migrate to linux. So far nothing yet.
    • cuba works around the embargo thing by means of massive pirate copies (I'm perfectly OK with that).
    • it's a usual thing to announce something with great fireworks that ends up in nothing, so I would have not so many expectations on this .
  • Free people (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tsa (15680) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @02:30AM (#26823891) Homepage

    So now Cuba has free software but not free people? It's a strange world we live in.

  • Finally, this confirms it.

    2009 will be the Year of Linux on the Desktop.

    Viva la revolución!

  • I find this rather ironic considering that up until May of 2008 it was illegal to own a personal computer in Cuba and even now, almost a year later, the prices remain out of reach for ordinary Cubans. This excerpt from a CNet article [cnet.com] at the subject really sums it up nicely:

    "don't expect to start surfing Cubans' blogs about what it's like to collect a state monthly salary of about $20 anytime soon; most of these PCs will not be allowed connections to the Internet, according to the report. Only trusted offici

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