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Cuba Switching to Linux 1149

Posted by Zonk
from the comrade-tux dept.
Tony Montana writes "According to several news sites the government of Cuba is dumping Windows in favour of Linux. Cuba's director of information technology, Roberto del Puerto, says that Cuba already has approximately 1500 computers running on Linux, and is working towards replacing Windows on all state owned computers."
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Cuba Switching to Linux

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  • by MarsDude (74832) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:14AM (#12576965) Homepage
    how many people will make a comment about communism and linux....

    this is 1
    • by Udo Schmitz (738216) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:15AM (#12576991) Journal
      In communist Cuba Linux switches you! Oh my ...
    • by cnelzie (451984) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:52AM (#12577374) Homepage
      ...how an American Company is able to do business that results in benefits to Cuba.

      Microsoft is an American corporation, it isn't legally allowed to profit from or provide goods or services that are shipped to Cuba. If I am understanding the US Trade Embargo correctly...
      • I wouldn't be surprised if they stole it.

        You'll recall that the former Soviet Union copied the IBM 360/370 design for their Ryad series of computers. I vaguely recall reading long ago in Datamation that Cuba tended to rip off DEC designs (e.g. the PDP-8).
    • how many people will make a comment about communism and linux

      Communism makes some people see red (:-), so leave it out.

      More relevant here is that Linux and open source in general is about cooperation and collaboration without an enemy, whereas sociopolitical systems usually have an enemy within and always have an enemy without. Our collaborative community has no real similarity to any of that, despite the political FUD occasionally dished out by the vested interests that we're treading on.

      So yeah, we'
    • by DenDave (700621) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:19AM (#12577757)
      Communix?

      Marxism Linism?

      The Shining PATH?

      Mao's Red Hat?

      chkguevarra?

      This is the sound of C.. [muziekcentrum.be]
    • by smchris (464899) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @12:20PM (#12579475)

      They already have a health care system that costs a fraction of U.S. care and provides a similar mean population longevity. Linux seems like a natural complement to that efficiency.

      But what if they decide to host the North American linux conference some year and nobody in the U.S. can go?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:14AM (#12576967)

    yeah 1500 computers !!, eat that AMIGA !!

  • by shoppa (464619) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:15AM (#12576986)
    I'm assuming that all Cuban installations of Windows are pirate copies anyway, because it's illegal for US companies to sell to Cuba (very stiff penalties).
    • it's illegal for US companies to sell to Cuba (very stiff penalties)

      My thought exactly. And, if you RTFA (very short, all three of them) you'll find the following: "Del Puerto said his office was working on a legal framework that would allow the replacement of the Windows system". I wonder which legal framework is that? In a country that has the dictator with the longest time in office in the whole world, how much of a "legal framework" is needed, anyhow?

      (BTW, congrats to you, twelfth comment and the f

    • by CommunistTroll (544327) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:25AM (#12577114) Homepage
      If Cuba is using copies of Windows in a legal fashion under Cuban law then they are not pirate copies, even if that use would be illegal under US law.

      It's up to Cuban copyright law to decide whether you should have to pay Microsoft to use copies of their software.

    • by diegocgteleline.es (653730) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:28AM (#12577144)
      Even if they can, Cuba has loved linux for a while - obviously, even if they can they don't want to depend from USA technology. Infomed, for one (the national healtcare information sharing or whatever you english people call it) is based in linux at least
    • by Saven Marek (739395) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:34AM (#12577203)
      What worries me is importing what is made in cuba into the US.

      What happens when cuban sysadmins start submitting patches into linux? is this not then code that is a product of cuba? that would be Illegal to bring into the USA.

      which then comes into a linux used in the USA?

      This worries me, as then microsoft could use this as a legal loophole to prohibit the use of Linux in the USA.

      That would be a big boon for them as then they would have no competition.

      Think about it. How ridiculous does it sound. Or not?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:28AM (#12577870)
      Its funny listening to Americans comment on a country that the vast majority have never been to. Not to mention countries that they are not free to visit should they want to.

      Not being American, and therefor being FREE to go where I please, I can tell you that a rum and COKE is not hard to come by. Funny, I thought Coke was an American company?

      Looks like the US has a much larger problem with Coke smuggling than they thought.

      Haven't any of you sheeple figured it out yet, it is only illegal if you are not a giant corporation. If you have 30 employees and you trade with Cuba, look out, those Southern redneck senators will hunt you down like dogs. If you employ 30,000 employees, and pay of the douchbags on the hill, you can do as you please.

      The US policies against Cuba are bad for Cuba, but great for the rest of the world. It has left a Carribean island with great weather, great beaches, great cigars, affordable accomodations and best of all, NO Americans. It's like vacation heaven. Besides, none of you would like it there. Really.
      • by Quantum Fizz (860218) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @01:13PM (#12580081)
        The US policies against Cuba are bad for Cuba, but great for the rest of the world. It has left a Carribean island with great weather, great beaches, great cigars, affordable accomodations and best of all, NO Americans. It's like vacation heaven. Besides, none of you would like it there. Really.

        Well I'm glad you conceited snobs enjoy the embargo while the people of Cuba suffer because of it. The embargo severely cripples the Cuban economy, but hey, let's keep those people in poverty just so a few snobs like yourself can vacation on the Island free of American influences.

        Perhaps you're not aware that not only can the USA not trade with Cuba under the embargo, but any international vessel that trades with Cuba cannot trade with the USA on that same trip. So if you are trading anything, you will aim most of your travels to the USA, because the Cuban imports/exports will not add anythign appreciable.

        You may love keeping the embargo intact so you can take small vacations there like the conceited snob you are, but Cubans have alot of difficulty buying everyday necessities such as medicines, light bulbs, automobile parts, etc because of it.

        You may love great beaches and cigars, which explains your reasons for going. When I (a US citizen) went we brought tens of thousands of dollars worth of medicines that US hospitals were disposing because they were just past their expiration date (but still good for all intents and purposes). The hospitals we visited were extremely gracious for this, medicines are really in short supply there because of the embargo.

        You may like not dealing with Americans travelling in your little vacation paradise, but most cities are poorly lit, with only every 3 or 4 streetlights on. I thought at first this was to save electricity, but it's because they have a very short supply of light bulbs they can get through the embargo.

        You may love the antique cars still driving around (with ridiculous amounts of air pollution), but Cubans have tough times getting automobile parts through the embargo. That's why they still have many old cars from before the embargo was placed. They have tough times not only buying new cars but even replacement parts for old cars. But hey, let's keep them in this state just so you can go and visit this quaint island.

        It's funny how you dislike Americans so much, yet you're in reality far worse than the average American you despise so much.

  • by Timesprout (579035) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:15AM (#12576989)
    is how the Bay of Penguins incident began...
  • Are they really? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mopslik (688435) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:15AM (#12576994)

    I think this snippet sums up a lot of the recent Linux "migration" stories:

    Although Windows is used on about 90 percent of the world's personal computers, some governments and large organizations have switched to the free Linux system or have threatened to do so to get discounts.

    Which is sad, since I've had a fairly painless transition to Linux a few years ago. Given the state of WINE these days, there's very little that a Linux-only box can't do that a Wintel box can.

  • by datadriven (699893) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:16AM (#12576998) Homepage
    That's great Cuba has such a positive image. This is bound to make people switch to linux in droves.
    • Re:Positive Image (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ubergrendle (531719) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:32AM (#12577183) Journal
      Actually they have quite a positive image in most countries of the world other than the US. Given that they've been US embargoed for several decades and yet still can offer some of the best healthcare and social services in the Caribbean says alot to their efficiency. Castro and the communist government aren't a walk in the park (e.g. human rights abuses, limited democractic rights for population, dictatorial powers) but its not nearly as bad as portrayed in the American media.

      Linux is a good deal for Cuba, as they can't legally buy Windows given the US embargo...actually they can't buy most software under the circumstances. Also, their currency weakness doesn't allow them to trade for services very well. Given that Linux will make the every-day person's life more productive I can't see anyone reasonably opposing Linux adoption in Cuba...the government won't benefit from this directly.
      • Re:Positive Image (Score:4, Insightful)

        by KillerBob (217953) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:41AM (#12577269)
        They've been legally buying it from Microsoft Canada. Theoretically MS Canada is a separate trade entity from MS in the USA.

        You did know that Canada is Cuba's biggest trading partner, right? Yay Helms-Burton law. Really effective....
      • by alienmole (15522)

        Castro and the communist government aren't a walk in the park (e.g. human rights abuses, limited democractic rights for population, dictatorial powers) but its not nearly as bad as portrayed in the American media.

        That's the most ridiculously self-contradictory statement I've read all year. For some specifics on the human rights abuses you mentioned, see this page [ishr.org]. A choice quote that's relevant at the moment, since numerous people are being arrested for "pre-crime dangerousness" lately:

        "If a pe

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:16AM (#12576999)
    Can I get my Che Tux Revolution TShirt signed by Fidel?
  • by jsheedy (772604) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:16AM (#12577015) Homepage
    Man, not only do the illegals have to deal with never speaking the language when they boat over, but now they will have the deal with not being able to use the computers that are here either.
  • by jocknerd (29758) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:17AM (#12577021)
    How are we ever going to spy on these countries if they stop using Windows?
  • Great... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ooze (307871) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:17AM (#12577025)
    All we need is another multi billion dollar company with a reason to lobby for invading Cuba...
  • That's cool... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by agraupe (769778) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:23AM (#12577093) Journal
    I remember sitting in an internet cafe at a resort in Cuba, wondering why they didn't use linux. Now maybe they will. My personal anecdote aside, I look forward to the day when it will hurt the US not to deal with Cuba; given its current popularity among European and Canadian travellers, I think it is coming. Cuba is still stable, and, indeed, has outlasted the Soviet Union.
    • Re:That's cool... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PaxTech (103481) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:30AM (#12577161) Homepage
      Yep, that "stability", it's a wonderful thing. Especially when it's maintained by imprisoning librarians [afsc.org].

      But oh, I forgot, this is slashdot, where the US is a horrible fascist dicatorship and Cuba is a magical wonderland of sharing and human kindness.
      • Re:That's cool... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by elrous0 (869638) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:07AM (#12577585)
        Yep, that "stability", it's a wonderful thing. Especially when it's maintained by imprisoning librarians.

        And maybe you should keep in mind that a lot of these "innocent" dissendents that are being arrested were or are actively plotting to overthrow the Cuban govenment, or even the assasination of Castro. Look at that shady CIA Posada character that's here in the U.S. now for a great example of one of those "innocent" dissidents.

        I suppose you think the U.S. government wouldn't arrest people plotting the overthrow of the government or the assasination of the president?

        -Eric

        • Re:That's cool... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by PaxTech (103481) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:30AM (#12577897) Homepage
          So everyone that Castro has imprisoned was plotting to overthrow him? Are you kidding?
          Amnesty International reports they were accused of such "crimes" as publishing articles, talking with international human rights groups, organizing unions, distributing literature, and receiving material support for these activities from the US. Amnesty comments, "Despite the Cuban government's claims that such acts threatened national security and therefore warranted prosecution, the above activities constitute legitimate exercise of freedoms of expression, assembly, and association." Amnesty adopted the 75 dissidents as prisoners of conscience.
          Amnesty International is hardly an American lapdog of an organization. Just because you don't like the USA, don't delude yourself into thinking that any enemy of the USA is righteous and noble.
      • Re:That's cool... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Threni (635302)
        > ut oh, I forgot, this is slashdot, where the US is a horrible fascist
        > dicatorship and Cuba is a magical wonderland of sharing and human kindness.

        It's Slashdot, where some people are aware that America has tried to murder the Cuban head of state several times. Can you imagine how the US would have reacted had Saddam Hussein acted the same way. I don't think that one would have been taken to the UN before action was launched. The lesson we learn from this is `might makes right`.
    • Re:That's cool... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Xenna (37238) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:01AM (#12577484)
      You're must be joking. I've been to Cuba too and I found it a horribly backward country suffering under a terrible and corrupt dictatorship.

      The country is full of murals saying how wonderful they are and how they defeated the US. The people are piss poor and you see disabled people walking around on improvised crutches made out of branches. Everything is a lie in Cuba...

      If only the US would understand it's their embargo that's keeping Fidel in the saddle.
      • Re:That's cool... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rho (6063)
        I've always thought that if we dropped the embargo, Castro would get fat and rich from all the money, and nothing depresses homicidal dictator instincts like boundless materialism.

        Cuba would be a de facto 51st state in less than 5 years if we dropped the embargo. Even if Castro remained in power (doubtful, but possible), in the end the country would become a democracy and Castro would eventually die and go to the flaming dung pits in Hell to hang with Mao and Stalin.

    • Figures (Score:3, Insightful)

      by thelizman (304517)
      ...I look forward to the day when it will hurt the US not to deal with Cuba...


      I look forward to the day when people stop letting themselves be consumed with hatred.

  • hmmmm (Score:3, Funny)

    by Chaos_Thoery (797173) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:25AM (#12577118)
    This has got me thinkning. If Cuba is switching to Linux, there is a greater possibility that North Korea uses or will switch to Linux too. This is actually good because imagine at some super secret North Korea nuclear missile silo, some Windows box displays: "A fatal exception 0E has occurred at 0028:C0011E36 in VXD VMM(01)+00010E36. The current application, 'missiles standby', will be terminated." So actually, there IS a reason they call it the blue screen of DEATH.
  • by Senor_Programmer (876714) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:28AM (#12577146)
    AFAIK I am not allowed to export goods from the USA if I know they will end up in Cuba. So what loophole does Mr. Softie exploit?
  • While the "linux = commies" jokes are in abundance, ironically, Linux might not be so welcome as soon as the Cuban government sees that Linux promotes the free exchange of ideas. Wouldn't it be ironic if the socialism-in-a-kernel that is Linux ended up hurting the grip of a communist government?
  • Other counteries (Score:5, Informative)

    by karvind (833059) <karvind@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:38AM (#12577243) Journal
    I just checked back on slashdot to see what other governments are adapting Linux or Open source solutions. Pretty encouraging I would say

    Australia [slashdot.org]

    South Korea [slashdot.org]

    Brazil [slashdot.org]

    Spain [slashdot.org]

    India [slashdot.org]

    Vienna [slashdot.org]

    French Police [slashdot.org]

    Dutch [slashdot.org]

    Venezuela [slashdot.org]

    Germany [slashdot.org]

  • by Bob Cat - NYMPHS (313647) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @09:47AM (#12577331) Homepage
    %windowscd%\win98\precopy2.cab\license.txt ...

    7. EXPORT RESTRICTIONS. If this EULA is not labeled and the SOFTWARE PRODUCT is not identified as "North America Only Version" above, on the Product Identification Card, or on the SOFTWARE PRODUCT packaging or other written materials, then the following terms apply: You agree that you will not export or re-export the SOFTWARE PRODUCT to any country, person, or entity subject to U.S. export restrictions. You specifically agree not to export or re-export the SOFTWARE PRODUCT: (i) to any country to which the U.S. has embargoed or restricted the export of goods or services, which as of March 1999 include, but are not necessarily limited to Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria, or to any national of any such country, wherever located, who intends to transmit or transport the SOFTWARE PRODUCT back to such country; (ii) to any person or entity who you know or have reason to know will utilize the SOFTWARE PRODUCT or portion thereof in the design, development or production of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons; or (iii) to any person or entity who has been prohibited from participating in U.S. export transactions by any federal agency of the U.S. government. You warrant and represent that neither the BXA (as defined below) nor any other U.S. federal agency has suspended, revoked or denied your export privileges.
  • by sita (71217) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @10:08AM (#12577604)
    The free as in speach surely doesn't appeal to Fidelito.

"You don't go out and kick a mad dog. If you have a mad dog with rabies, you take a gun and shoot him." -- Pat Robertson, TV Evangelist, about Muammar Kadhafy

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