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Cuba Launches Own Linux Variation 494

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 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 GodKingAmit ( 1192629 ) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:55AM (#26823421)
    Since when is russia a communist or socialist country?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 12, 2009 @01:00AM (#26823453)

    I am from Finland so I think I dont have your mindset. Could you explain to me, why exactly would we ever want to hope that. Cuba isnt any threat to the safety of the world or anything...

  • 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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 12, 2009 @01:25AM (#26823583)

    Still the same AC here... I hope you arent referring to Cuba Missile Crisis, because that indeed was very long ago. Even if you arent and there has been something later than that, it is hardly a valid argument. Doesnt USA target numerous countries with nuclear missiles? And support more countries that have those?

    I can tell that there are a lot of people who are more worried about Israel than Cuba, seeing Cuba isnt even very militaristic country. Why in hell would they fire a missile to a country they cant invade? Just because they are (nearly) communists and thus evil?

    If you wish to not answer because of it would take this too far offtopic, I can understand that and not automatically assume that you somehow lost. Just felt the need to mention that at least over here, I have never heard that Cuba would have somehow threatening imago.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 12, 2009 @01:33AM (#26823629)
    Thankfully trademarks are industry-specific, but more to the point if the Cuba government want to call it "Microsoft Diet NikeCoke Levis" in Cuba then who's going to stop them?
  • by zorkerz ( 966191 ) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @01:39AM (#26823665)

    I agree that the connection of open source with Socialism in peoples minds and the negative effect this could have on its adoption worries me.

    Beyond this though I am sick and tired of the irrational fear of socialism in the United States. Im not saying lets become the USSR that obviously did not work out so well but we are still stuck at a point were it is impossible to have rational discussion about anything that gets labeled as socialist. Its a giant hypocritical mess. Look at public roads thats a beautiful example of socialism central to our society.

    I think generations of Americans have been conditioned/brainwashed to attack at the first mention of the word socialism before considering what is being proposed. The irony of it all is that public schools the major institution doing this brainwashing is a socialist model.

    I don't believe that socialist systems work everywhere. I am a fervent capitalist and believe in designing free markets with appropriate incentives. All I want to do is be able to have a rational debate about plans that might contain socialist components without people freaking out.

  • by kcbanner ( 929309 ) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @02:15AM (#26823817) Homepage Journal
    Well, if they aren't worshipping a god, looks like they are free already.
  • 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.

  • by Bert64 ( 520050 ) <bert AT slashdot DOT firenzee DOT com> on Thursday February 12, 2009 @03:00AM (#26824029) Homepage

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

  • by enrevanche ( 953125 ) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @03:18AM (#26824135)

    The U.S. was the aggressor. If it hadn't tried to invade Cuba, this crisis would have never happened. Cuba's decision to allow the Soviets to put a missile base in Cuba was a result from the Kennedy administrations attempt to destabilize them. The Soviets were putting missiles in Cuba because we had them next door to them in Turkey.

    The "grudge" the US right holds towards Cuba has to do with the fact that they hold the belief that because Cuba is next door the US has the right to determine the type of government in Cuba. This is the same "problem" they now have with Venezuela and Bolivia.

  • by CodeBuster ( 516420 ) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @03:29AM (#26824197)

    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 [] 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 officials and state journalists are allowed access to the Web."

    What good does it do to have the opportunity to purchase a PC that costs a several times your annual salary and has no Internet access? The only Internet access available to most Cubans will probably be through government controlled public Internet cafes which require ID, have round the clock surveillance, and heavily filtered access at high (although perhaps barely affordable) prices on public PCs. If the failure of socialism ever needed an example then Cuba would be it. I would rather take my chances with expensive health care (thank you very much Michael Moore) then live in ass backwards country like that.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 12, 2009 @03:51AM (#26824331)

    Cuba openly supports a violent over-throw of Capitalist economies, and vows to not rest until world wide communism has been achieved. []

    USA openly or subtterly support a violent over-throw of democratic elected regimes. (Venezuela, Iran, Nicaragua, Chile, ...)

    In the 1970's, the popular thing for upwardly mobile Communists was to hijack US airliners and divert them to Cuba. []

    In the 70's the CIA supported terrorists shot down an civil airplane flying from Caracas to Cuba. The prominent leader is in the USA free.

    In Cuba, attempting to flee to the US is a crime punishable by death. []

    In USA, attempting to flee to Cuba without permision is a crime punishable with prison ( well at least USA don't kill them).

    So ask your self where you stand... People should be allowed to leave at their own will, or held in the workers paradise for their own good.

    So all the world should ask, why do we didn't make complete blockage of USA too.

  • by 50_1337 ( 929093 ) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @03:57AM (#26824379) Homepage

    Public schools are a socialist model, as are the police, the justice system, the libraries, the firemen or the free-health-for-all (at least in Europe).

    I don't see what's wrong with this "socialism" me neither!

  • by Hurricane78 ( 562437 ) <deleted.slashdot@org> on Thursday February 12, 2009 @04:28AM (#26824539)

    (Imagine explaining 'Free as in speech, not free as in beer' in Cuba or China. Or Russia, for that matter, with its open season on investigative journalists.)

    Or in the USA for that matter... where you can put away without any trial, any right to contact anyone or even ask them why you were put away... just because someone did not like your name or something. You/We're not that much better. They can only hide it better here. No need for censorship, if you have FOX news.
    I just hope they don't close that gap in difference soon. Because they work very hard on it.

  • by boredhacker ( 1103107 ) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @04:36AM (#26824583)

    I am a fervent capitalist

    Sorry, I just have to contribute my 2 cents regarding this statement.

    In the old days, capitalists were the people who owned the means of production and simply profited from this ownership. The Forbes richest people in the world are the people we're talking about. In fact, these capitalists don't even need to actually support capitalism as a great ideal.

    Now-a-days every layman who supports capitalism calls himself a capitalist. We lose an important distinction here, and I really think you might be better off by understanding this. Perhaps it will give you some more insight into each system and help you further refine your values.

    In a very real sense, you are probably a socialist who happens to support capitalism. For example, do you pay Geico for car insurance (socialist) or do you own Berkshire-Hathaway (capitalist)? Do you invest in a 401k (socialist) or do you own your own investment firm (capitalist)? Do you fly commercial or in a private Lear jet? Do you go to work in the morning or do workers come to your building? I think you see where I'm going.

    Anyway, I think it's an important distinction... more details here:

    Capital []

    and here:

    Capitalist []

  • by ei4anb ( 625481 ) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @04:50AM (#26824649)
    no, it just has to be Cuba Libre !
  • by jabithew ( 1340853 ) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @04:58AM (#26824685)

    But not owning capital doesn't ipso facto make you a socialist. Buying car insurance is a capitalist, free-market transaction.

    Besides, most people in the West are capitalists, as they own part of all of either a house or a car. A 'socialist' investing in a 401K with a stock aspect may become a part owner of Berkshire-Hathaway, which is a publicly listed firm.

    By your definition, almost nobody is a capitalist as most firms are publicly listed and hence socially owned.

    In short, I think the reason the distinction has blurred in usage is because it has genuinely blurred in reality. And a socialist is certainly not the same thing as someone with no money. Just see Polly Toynbee.

  • by ketilwaa ( 1095727 ) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:10AM (#26824739) Homepage
    I keep forgetting, what's the name of that country who has actually used nuclear weapons in an act of war? If I rememember correctly, it's the same country which is an aggressor in practically every corner of the world. If you say Cuba is a very serious threat, that country must be Cuba, or?
  • by zwei2stein ( 782480 ) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @05:45AM (#26824911) Homepage

    Likely, decision to use open systems is security one rather that any other.

    Government computers running on closed source OS that is basically made by enemies is huge security risk. It is nothing you just ignore. Your own OS on the other hand ...

    USA has no reason to pursue "usaOS" - MS must play nice with them, so they have usaOS by default (It is Windows.)

  • by pmarini ( 989354 ) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @06:16AM (#26825069) Journal
    the countires adopting Linux in the first place are rthose where people cannot afford the price of retail Microsoft software - due to much lower wages in terms of PPP - and find a good opportunity in other software that is (mostly) free-to-download and incidentally, open to have a look at...
    Microsoft is "fighting" this back with giveaway deals with these countries (the list is too long to be included here, and the ones that you mention are simply those which didn't come to an agreement (yet?)
    whether you want to label anything non-american as anti-capitalistic, it's your freedom, and let me remind you how corporations deal with (unimportant) customers: "please hold, your call is important to us"
    having a community out there ready to help (I agree that "you must ask the right question" to it) is nothing less than helping the old lady with her VCR (ehm, DVR these days...) so surely Open Source mustn't be compared to a dangerous gang of mutants (TECH: unless you think that "forking" a project is a mutation...)
  • 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 boredhacker ( 1103107 ) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @06:29AM (#26825163)
    Let me address some of your points...

    But not owning capital doesn't ipso facto make you a socialist. Buying car insurance is a capitalist, free-market transaction.

    True, being broke does not (in and of itself) make you a socialist. I don't think I said it does, my apologies if I did. However, you could be considered a socialist (albeit an unknowing or reluctant one) if you need to participate in these co-operative organizations (like an insurance policy holder or 401k investor or job holder) because you don't profit enough from your capital to cover your costs.

    Besides, most people in the West are capitalists, as they own part of all of either a house or a car. A 'socialist' investing in a 401K with a stock aspect may become a part owner of Berkshire-Hathaway, which is a publicly listed firm.

    This is where the distinction is important IMHO. Simply owning some small part of a company or a house or a car doesn't make you a capitalist (given the distinction). You must own enough capital where you can profit without exchanging your time and labor for money. So, I may own my house and my car and even have some money in the bank... but if I need to go to work in the morning in order to pay for my mortgage, the car loan and my meals... then I'm not a capitalist (even if I subscribe to the ideal).

    By your definition, almost nobody is a capitalist as most firms are publicly listed and hence socially owned.

    Correct. By the definition I've chosen to adopt, very few people are truly capitalists. I would say you need at a bare minimum of 1/2 million dollars without having any debt in order to remotely qualify as a capitalist in my world. Relatively speaking, not many people have this kind of money. Most people need to trade their time and labor in order to pay for the things that they require to live. I.E. the interest from their investments alone is not enough to survive. Naturally, I'm not a final authority by any means so feel free to disagree.

    In short, I think the reason the distinction has blurred in usage is because it has genuinely blurred in reality.

    The above is a good point, and I won't argue either way. I think it may just be a matter of how deep we want the analysis to be. My point was simply that if we choose to re-focus the blurred image we may become more enlightened.

    And a socialist is certainly not the same thing as someone with no money.

    Again, I don't remember making this claim. If anything, I wanted some people to consider the possibility that (after some critical thought) what works best for them may actually be socialism, not capitalism. By no means do I think it should become a holy war. After all, we are each entitled to our own beliefs. Invoking the critical thought process is what I believe to be truly important.

    Just see Polly Toynbee

    I'll check it out, thanks for the recommendation ;-)

  • by Asic Eng ( 193332 ) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @06:52AM (#26825323)
    Doesn't happen in a vaccum, does it? I suspect children killed by Israeli cluster bombs are just as dead as those killed by Palestinian suicide attacks or Palestinian rockets. Sure one site starts, then the other side "responds", the there is retaliation to the responsce and so on. After a while it's just a continuous stream of mutual violence.

    Israel will not get peace unless it's stops it's policy of stealing Palestinian land. Steadily expanding settlements, "security areas" and the like is just stealing by another name.

    On the other hand Palestinians will not get peace unless they stop being the world's biggest morons. Shooting rockets at someone a thousand times more powerful gets you invaded and your infrastructure destroyed? Huh, imagine that.

  • by jandersen ( 462034 ) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @07:13AM (#26825437)

    ... strongly labeled as Communist/Socialist...

    First the lecture: Communism and Socialism are ideologies - that is, ideas about how society should be run. The may or may not be good ideas, but that is all they are, and as such neither good nor bad. There are two groups of people in particular that insist that those ideologies can never, ever change: one is the wild-eyed reactionaries who use "communism" as another word for "evil", to whom any for of dissent is simply "communism". The other group consists of those that believe, or rather Believe, in One True Communist Ideology as written in the Holy Scriptures of Marx, Engels and Lenin, to whom "capitalism is another word for "evil"; they view any form of dissent as "capitalism". Both of those groups are enemies of common people.

    And then of course there is everybody else, who realises that the world changes as time passes, and that our world view has to change with it. Some of them are Communists, some think Capitalism is best, but they all know that something in the middle, with elements from both is what makes real society work; we have to take care of the weak and protect them from harm to some extent, and we have to allow some degree of free trade and what have you. Politics in the real world is simply about figuring out what the balance should be.

    So much for the lecture - so why would it be of any significance whether communists of one sort or the other use Linux? Are we suddenly going to see the Red Screen Of Death a lot? I think we should be generous enough to be glad that our favourite OS is a success everywhere.

    Do you actually think that America would join them, even if it is in America's best interest?

    I certainly expect so - Americans are no dumber than the rest of us, and I doubt Americans in general are going to let their misgivings about other world-views keep them from doing the right thing. I mean, would you stop eating beef if you found out that people in Cuba just love a good steak?

  • by Curtman ( 556920 ) * on Thursday February 12, 2009 @08:39AM (#26825935)

    and really, the only place where being "socialist" is something you have to worry about really would be the US

    And being "a liberal". Apparently in the U.S. it's best to be a selfish extremist. No room for moderation, tolerance or love for your community.

  • by prefec2 ( 875483 ) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @08:49AM (#26825981)
    There is a nice video on nova on youtube [] It looks like the Cubix is a Gentoo clone. This is really a strange choice for a end-user Linux. While Gentoo might be fun to play with, it is definitely not designed for every tom, dick and harry. However, when all Cubans now start to play with Linux on this level, they will become the future hacker, cracker, and sysadmin elite, while in other countries people get stuck with their toasters and the cryptic toast manual.
  • by rastos1 ( 601318 ) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @09:30AM (#26826333)

    Somehow I have a hard time picturing penguins in Cuba.

    I don't. []

    From your link:
    "It is the only penguin to live on the equator and can survive due to the cool temperatures resulting from the Humboldt Current and cool waters from great depths brought up by the Cromwell Current."

    I don't think that Humboldt Current brings cold water to Cuba.

  • 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.

  • by swordfishtrombones ( 1402247 ) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:00PM (#26828503)
    If open source software is socialist, that means the UK Conservative Party has taken a very sharp turn to the left. [] Or maybe they've just realised it makes good sense?
  • by jotaeleemeese ( 303437 ) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @01:04PM (#26829565) Homepage Journal

    That says pretty clearly who removed people from where ....

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 12, 2009 @04:29PM (#26832855)

    No they didn't. That is the big fallacy of "the american dream" that somehow you can be one of "them." By them I mean the capitalists.

    Those capitalists got where they are by robbing, stealing and exploiting society. They didn't start in the mail room and through hard work and labor rise to CEO. They come from rich families, whose connections put them in places of power, from elite schools to their golfing pals who broker deals that affect millions of lives.

    You have more of a chance of winning the lottery then you ever have to rising to a position of power in a capitalist society, as an owner of production for that society. John Thain, John Stumpf, etc. are not from the same society the rest of us are from. There is a sharp and hard delimiter between us and them, institutionalized wealth.

    If you are "working" then then you are a worker. I don't care if you make a million dollars a year, you are still a worker. Do you consider sitting around catered conference rooms "working"? Some people would call beach volleyball "working" BTW. Just because you show up to "work" does not make you a worker. You have a lot to learn about the many-layered obfuscation that is capitalist society.

    Those capitalists got where they are by being born, and having decades upon decades of others exchanged labor handed to them, either via the market or simply from powerful families. They exist due to vast military complexes, and faulty educational systems.

    You are a cog in the machine, as much so as any worker in the soviet union or owner of any small business. The USA is full of these petit-bourgeois who think they are capitalists. BTW, that is the definition of petit-bourgeois, is someone who profits from others labor yet still labors themselves (well part of the definition.)

    It amazes me when americans try to talk socio-economics, you simply have idea what you are talking about. It sounds rational, it sounds nice and clean because you have been told time and again what "socialism", "communism" and "capitalism" are, yet you know nothing about them because you have been told bullshit. Then mix in a bunch of hogwash about "democracy" and what not, and you have total ignorance being portrayed as truth, because we "beat" communism.

    BTW, I think most americans would be quite shocked to read the constitution of the USSR. Since they were communist and all, you know, and we are a democracy. Hint: capitalist is capitalist, no matter what you call it. And voting for leadership is democracy, no matter what you call it.

The absent ones are always at fault.