Cuba Libre: Island Launches its Own Linux Distribution

Feb 12, 2009

Home PCs have been available in Cuba only since last year, with 20% already using the Linux operating system. In five years, this should rise to 50%.

According to a report by Reuters, Cuba has launched its own Linux variation, called Nova Baire, and intends to have it pre-installed on as many PCs as possible. Two reasons mentioned are the US trade embargo making it difficult to obtain Windows, and the Cuban governments suspicion that Microsoft is building malignant backdoors into its systems.

Based on Gentoo and with a Gnome desktop, Nova Baire is named after a battle in which Cuba gained its independence from Spain in1895. The distro was developed in 2007 but officially announced this week.

Hector Rodriguez, dean at Cuba's University of Information Sciences in Havana, claims that 20% of Cuban home PCs, on public sale only since last year, are using Linux. This should rise to 50% over the next five years.

Cuba has very narrow Internet access, and the homepage of the Havana University is frequently overloaded, making it difficult to discover more about the new distribution. There is however, a Nova Linux video available on YouTube.

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