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Cuba Declares War on Windows

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 27 comments
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The land of Castro has gone open source.

In an effort to rid every computer in the country of the American-designed Windows OS, the Cuban government has banned the software and created its own Linux-based operating system.

The Communist country 90 miles off the coast of Florida calls the Linux OS "Nova", and the government considers it an integral piece in the fight against U.S. hegemony in Cuba. Shown at a Havana conference dedicated to "technological sovereignty", the goal is to have Nova replace Windows on computers all across the island.

While most of the world has enjoyed a consumer computer market for decades, the Cuban government only started allowing such a market last year. According to Cuba University's Information Sciences Director Hector Rodriguez, around 20 percent of computers on the island are already running some sort of Linux-based operating system.

"Private software can have black holes and malicious codes that one doesn't know about. That doesn't happen with free software," said Rodriguez. "I would like to think that in five years our country will have more than 50 percent migrated [to Linux]." The Linux movement may be in full swing for Cuban consumers, but many of the country's government agencies are resisting the change because of possible software compatibility issues.

While the netbook craze may see Linux become more popular with consumers in America, the percentage of Linux on PCs stateside is far below 20 percent.

The turn away from Windows is the latest move in Cuba's resistance to all things American, which has been ongoing since Fidel Castro took over the island nation in 1959. Rodriguez certainly sees a ideological link between Linux and Cuba, "The free software movement is closer to the ideology of the Cuban people, above all for the independence and sovereignty."

As a general purpose operating environment, which operating system do you prefper to use and why?

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  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 17 February 2009 23:54
    Did they really ban Windows.. if many Goverment People are still using it like you say then how can it be banned? Sounds like they are only discouraging Windows rather than forcing a ban. Big assumption to assume it's because they are anti-America?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 19 February 2009 00:34
    Oh no!

    A third world country isn't using the Evil American Imperialist's operating system!

    Well, at least they'll have more control over what the people can do on their computers. Every totalitarian government loves that control. Anywho, the hardware they'll run their little distro on will probably be American anyway.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 19 February 2009 00:40
    America doesn't make hardware besides the cpu, and even that is actually made offshore.
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    Anonymous , 19 February 2009 01:19
    I assume they banned the *sale* of Windows, rather than simply having it on your computer.

    In response to communix, doesn't Windows have software that can be used to regulate what people can and can't do, as well? It doesn't seem like they're banning all OSes other than Nova, they're just banning Windows. With that in mind, the people could run any Linux OS that they want (in addition to Rodriguez's comment that makes it seem like it will be open-source; this gives the user control of the OS, rather than the other way around).
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 19 February 2009 01:21
    ...in Malaysia a lot of the time.

    They can force the government institutions to switch over as most office software can easily dropped in favour of already available open source alternatives.

    The rub might be when it comes to power grid controllers, etc. Some of those are run on Windows 2000 machines in the US and I'm not sure what the different manufacturers are offering. My guess is they're developing lame Windows apps still and Cuba may rely on some of them.

    Similar systems may be in place for traffic control, etc.

    These could be easily replaced but it may take hiring a local firm to develop some kind of alternative if it doesn't already exist.

    It may already exist, however.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 19 February 2009 01:21
    america protects cuba i guess cuba is all set to be on its own america now should drop cuba and leave it alone
  • 0 Hide
    maisis00 , 19 February 2009 01:29
    I use what is available. At work I use Microsoft's Windows XP and at home my laptop runs Ubuntu. Ubuntu covers everything I need it to do and I didn't need to pay the ridiculously outrageous prices for Microsoft Windows Vista.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , 19 February 2009 01:42
    Intel is an American company as is AMD, so what kind of hardware are they using?

    I'm all for the idea of not using windows but it annoys me that linux has failed a number of simple hardware compatibility tests. Where are drivers for commonly used devices like wifi cards and scanners?

    If Cuba can produce these I'll be impressed as they seem to have produced other positive innovations I'll keep my eyes on this.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 19 February 2009 01:47
    There is always Apple of course.
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , 19 February 2009 01:51
    More power to them. If only more Americans would realize the free software way is not so bad, and there are even tools (like Wine for instance) to aid in the transition so that you don't need to give up all of your favorite proprietary software.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , 19 February 2009 02:04
    Outrageous price of $150. The horror. The Humanity.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 19 February 2009 02:11
    Actually, how was Microsoft even *selling* Windows in Cuba in the first place? The U.S. embargo against Cuba would make that illegal.
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    Anonymous , 19 February 2009 02:18
    jokes on them, linux is still an american company.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 19 February 2009 02:56
    linux is not a company... it basically refers to any OS using the linux kernel...and well, the name comes from its original creator, Linus Torvalds, who is a Finnish software engineer.... guess the jokes on you...
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 19 February 2009 03:00
    LINUX is a clear winner and gets easier too use and more powerfull and Windoze by the SECOND.... I don't really believe that 20% figure you posted is correct either
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , 19 February 2009 03:00
    linux is not a "company" - become educated please
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , 19 February 2009 04:43
    Another worthless and oppotunistic anti-US ideology by Cuba. Oh wow, they are not going to use Microsoft OS because it is from the US. Morons, what about the CPU, memory, the freaking computer where they are going to install the OS? FREE?? Nothing is free since the goverment is going to push this OS down to people's throat. Oh wait, Cuban citizens cannot afford a computer. Forgot about that!

    I am Cuban, so don't try!
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 19 February 2009 05:09
    obviously americans don't have a monopoly on being brainwashed :|
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , 19 February 2009 05:43
    id like to try this OS
    maybe the team that made it knew what they were doing

    but then again... it is Cuba...
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 19 February 2009 05:43
    Doesn't "nova" mean "it won't go" in Spanish?
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