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.”
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