Cuba launches it's own GNU/Linux version "Nova"

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radiorahim radiorahim's picture
Cuba launches it's own GNU/Linux version "Nova"

According to this article in "E-week", Cuba has launched it's own GNU/Linux distro...called "Nova".

It's an effort to move towards "technological sovereignty".

http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Linux-and-Open-Source/Cuba-Launches-Own-Linux-V...

Viva Cuba!   Viva GNU/Linux!   Viva Software Libre!

 

 

Kindrid

Unless things change it is rather meaningless for most Cubans. The cost of using the net in Cuba is beyond what the average Cuban can pay. This is just one method the regime uses to prevent the people accessing the net.

Fidel

Kindrid wrote:

Unless things change it is rather meaningless for most Cubans. The cost of using the net in Cuba is beyond what the average Cuban can pay. This is just one method the regime uses to prevent the people accessing the net.

I see youve been skimming through Reader's Digest again. It's a sometimes CIA propaganda rag, you should know.

Venezuela to install undersea fiberoptic telecommunications cable to Cuba

 

Quote:
This project will end Cuba’s dependence on satellites services made expensive due to the U.S. embargo, said Wilfredo Morales, director of the Telecomunicaciones Gran Caribe Company, the Cuba-Venezuela joint venture created to build and operate the planned cable.

The decades-long U.S. embargo on Cuba has prevented other telecommunication companies from connecting lines to the island, like that of Miami-Cancun, which is only 32 km away from pier of Havana.

 

 

Kindrid

And they could not use the Chinese? The Chinese that have been installing technology required for the internet for years in Africa?

Fidel

Kindrid wrote:

And they could not use the Chinese? The Chinese that have been installing technology required for the internet for years in Africa?

Chinese? Which other Latin American countries have the Chinese connected to the internet?

US companies like Global Crossup did build-out internet capacity with undersea fiber during the roaring 90's, but they went tits up with the corporate accounting frauds and burst tech bubble about 2002. Besides, it's a little closer to Venezuela than Africa.

RosaL

[url=Here">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTXIzaxfox4][u]Here's[/url] a youtube video about it. 

Kindrid

 From Yoani Sánchez's blog:

Quote:

REVOLUTION.COM

In the closed room of the Palace of Conventions an Information Technology conference ended today, one which was accessible only to foreign delegates or Cubans with credentials.  As much as I tried to slip into the event, I lacked the association with an official institution needed to be there.  As an optimistic preamble to the meeting, the Vice Minister of Informatics and Communications gave an interview to the newspaper Juventud Rebelde [Rebellious Youth].  Full of statements about a vague future that could happen next week or in a decade, he renewed—in some—hopes for broad access to the internet.  However, after reading the answers of this functionary several times, I’m more alarmed than comforted.

His words do not demonstrate the slightest criticism of censorship or blocking of pages, which is so common on the Cuban networks.  He positions ideological differences on a long list of atrocities among which we find, “harmful content such as incitements to terrorism, xenophobia, pornography…”  In the same club with these monstrosities he included, “of course, inciting subversion of the established order in Cuba and frankly counterrevolutionary content.”  The final adjective confirms that our access to the network continues to be lost among a bunch of criteria that has nothing to do with bandwidth or satellite connections.

http://desdecuba.com/generationy/?author=1

In a nutshell if the net does become accessible to the “average” Cuban it will be heavily censored. Maybe even this site will be banned if some authoritarian Cuban bureaucrat does not like my comments.

Fidel

Yoani shouldnt be too embarrassed by isolated Cuba's lack of internet bandwidth due to Helms-Burton. Because the gringos' median download speed is Finland's divided by ten and ranking something like 19th for broadband penetration.

Kindrid

That’s not the point. She would be happy with dialup if it was accessible to all Cubans at a reasonable price free of censorship.

Fidel

Cuba's internet bandwidth amounts to about what a medium size North American university and campus would have for students and faculty. Cuban workers access the internet at government jobs and universities, and graduate students use the satellite link for remote course work with Spanish universities. Cuba did offer US telcos to bid on contracts to extend service to the island, but Helms-Burton is still in place even though Obama has become the USSA's new cosmetic leader. The undersea fiber link to Venezuela should be completed next year and making access a lot cheaper for the average Cuban.

Kindrid

That is not the point. The issue is censorship.

Michelle

Actually, the issue - at least in this thread - is that Cuba is launching its own GNU/Linux version, called "Nova".  Maybe get with the program.

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

The use of a GNU/Linux based computer operating system along with free software is in the end about making computers more accessible to everyone.

Most computers in use in Cuba are older machines and it's only the global free software community that is developing new software designed to run on older computers.

Proprietary software vendors...mostly based in the U.S. will never do this.  Proprietary software is always designed for ever more powerful computers...witness Microsoft Windows Vista.   And in the "Mac world", if your Mac is too old to run MacOSX, you may as well chuck it into the landfill...that's what Steve Jobs would have you do.

Free software also gives Cuba the ability to develop its own software for its own purposes.   The GNU General Public License, which is used by 70% of free software guarantees every user the "four freedoms"...to run the software for any purpose, to study the source code of the software to find out how it works, the freedom to help your neighbour by distributing exact copies of the software and the freedom to help your community by releasing your own modified version of the software.

It's impossible for anyone to build malicious features into free software because the license gives everyone the freedom to remove them.

You do not have the freedom to remove malicious features from proprietary software like Microsoft Windows and Apple MacOSX.  Proprietary software is by it's very nature oppressive to anyone who uses a computer.

Yes the Cuban government does block access to certain websites...mainly websites operated by the "guasanos".   The Cuban government does not deny this.   

They also jam the U.S. government propaganda radio station "Radio Marti" and a couple of privately operated "guasano" radio stations operating in South Florida.But nothing else is blocked.    

I was visiting a friend in Havana over the Christmas holiday period and he was listening to Rush Limbaugh (and getting a good laugh at this rightwing windbag) on a good old-fashioned AM radio.   Guasanos get jammed but not Rush Limbaugh!

As for internet access, it's slowly improving...but Cuba still has a rather antiquated telephone system.   Also with the blockade, internet traffic to Cuba is routed through places like Chile...and so if you do a "traceroute" on any site with a ".cu" domain name you'll easily see where the bottlenecks are.

And if one really wants to get into the guasano sites from Cuba, it's the free software community that's created the software to get around anything that's blocked.

So IMHO, Cuba's embrace of GNU/Linux and free software is a good thing on so many different levels.

Now if only Cuban radio stations would stop streaming audio in (yuk!!!) imperialist Windows Media Player format...and started using (patent and royalty-free) revolutionary ogg vorbis format! :) :)

BTW, rabble.ca uses the patented (and therefore oppressive) .mp3 format for podcasts...it should also embrace freedom and use ogg vorbis! ;)

 

 

Agent 204 Agent 204's picture

I wonder what the system requirements are? I'm thinking -- and hoping -- that they will be less onerous than most distributions, so that it would be good for old hardware.

Fidel

I like the idea of open source software. It could be the beginnings of workers and communities owning the means of future production.

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Fidel wrote:

I like the idea of open source software. It could be the beginnings of workers and communities owning the means of future production.

I don't like the idea of "open source" software.   I like the idea of "free" (as in freedom) software.    The "open source software" movement was a splinter movement from the free software movement that happened in 1998.

The "open source" movement likes people to use free software but doesn't want to talk about the politics of it...namely the "four essential freedoms" that all computer users should have.  

The term "open source" has become so meaningless that there are now even some Microsoft software licenses that meet the Open Source Initiative's definition of "open source".

In the video I've linked to (below), Eben Moglen of the Software Freedom Law Centre argues that the essential building block of the 20th century economy was the production of steel.    He argues that the essential building block of the 21st century economy is software...with the difference being that (if we play our cards right), nobody owns it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NorfgQlEJv8

 

 

 

 

 

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Agent 204 wrote:
I wonder what the system requirements are? I'm thinking -- and hoping -- that they will be less onerous than most distributions, so that it would be good for old hardware.

Not sure...key thing (usually) is to avoid KDE and Gnome...stick to XFCE, Open Box or Fluxbox graphical user interfaces.

Although one distro I played with ... think it was "Zenwalk"... seemed to get KDE to work pretty quickly on an older machine.

 

Fidel

radiorahim wrote:
Fidel wrote:

I like the idea of open source software. It could be the beginnings of workers and communities owning the means of future production.

I don't like the idea of "open source" software.   I like the idea of "free" (as in freedom) software.    The "open source software" movement was a splinter movement from the free software movement that happened in 1998.

Oh right you are, RadioRahim. I'm viewing your link to video now. I was thinking more in terms of no more proprietary s/w in general. The little company I worked for outside Ottawa, for example, licenced a telephone stack interface from a company in the states. We only really needed to alter code and recompile on rare occasions when something didnt quite work right. On one or two occasions, their protocol stack didnt actually measure up to ITU or some other standard. But we could peruse thousands of lines of open source and make the changes needed after only a lot of haggling with them over the phone about it. And that was after having paid for a licence to fight with them over a few measly lines of code that didnt work worth a damn in the first place. I still think they should have paid us for debugging their stuff for them. Thanks again, RadioRahim.

 

It's Me D

Interesting, and thanks RosaL for the video link! Personally I'd hoped it would be red... Wink

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Thanks for the info, Radiorahim. I think I will finally get off my ass and actually run Ubuntu. It's overdue. I will probably try running from the CD and then go to a dual boot setup. Woohoo!

wage zombie

radiorahim wrote:

I don't like the idea of "open source" software.   I like the idea of "free" (as in freedom) software.    The "open source software" movement was a splinter movement from the free software movement that happened in 1998.

The "open source" movement likes people to use free software but doesn't want to talk about the politics of it...namely the "four essential freedoms" that all computer users should have.  

 I like the idea of free software too and i think the four freedoms are important--however i don't really get the idea of "open source" not being about those freedoms.

I attended one of Richard Stallman's talks in Vancouver recently and he said the same thing.  He said that "open source" was more about how the software was developed--that it was a collaboration between many people.  This seemed odd to me because while much open source is developed that way, individuals build small projects and release it as open source all the time.

To me, "open source" means that the "source" is "open" which means that the source code is open to modification and distribution.  While i like that "free software" may be a more explicit label, i don't see how open source is doublethink.

I found Stallman's talk was worthwhile but he did strike me as quite the extremist.  He doesn't buy anything online or pay for anything with a credit card because he refuses to forfeit his right to buy anonymously.  He does however accept credit card payments for his books.

Questions from the audience focussed largely around other applications of the four freedoms of free software.  Stallman wasn't really interested in talking about any of these, saying that he's only interested in how the freedoms relate to software.  We can't easily replicate tables freely, so it doesn't apply.  This is understandable i guess.

But overall this unwillingness to address these issues was puzzling to me.  Someone made a great analogy to the proprietary seeds produced by Monsanto and others.  Farmers can buy seeds from Monsanto but are not allowed to modify or distribute these genetics.  Seems like promoting free seedware and moving away from proprietary seedware would be a great application of the four freedoms.  He was pretty uninterested though.  I would've thought someone with his brains would be interested in finding applications across domains.

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Here' a link to a desktop screenshot used by "Nova" GNU/Linux.

http://distrowatch.com/images/screenshots/nova-1.1.2.png

It's apparently built on the "Gentoo" GNU/Linux distro...which I guess makes sense.   Gentoo itself is pretty "geeky", but it can be heavily customized for whatever hardware you happen to have on hand.  

I attended Stallman's talk in Toronto where he was more addressing copyright issues instead of free software issues.   Yes he's a "hardass"...but that's his role in the free software movement.   It's good that he keeps hammering away.

It's not that "open source" is evil, but that it focuses on technological and development models instead of on fundamental political issues.   Again, the term "open source" was coined by the "Open Source Initiative" in 1998 specifically to remove the politics from free software.

 The GNU GPL does meet the OSI's definition of "open source", but many of the software licenses that the OSI considers "open source", the Free Software Foundation does not consider "free" (free as in freedom)...as they don't pass the test of the "four freedoms". 

So I think the difference is that when you talk about the use of "open source" software, it's merely a "choice" amongst the many choices that we might have.   When we put the stress on the political issues, it becomes a moral imperative to make use of free software. 

With seeds, I think the issue is one of patents...and Monsanto having the ability to patent lifeforms...which I think is a repulsive idea.

Could the four freedoms apply to seeds?   I don't know.  Maybe/maybe not.   Would we want to give everyone the freedom to genetically modify seeds?   It's an interesting question.

I read another interesting article today (can't find the refernce at the moment) where an author talked about the possible application of the "four freedoms"  to Web 2.0 or "cloud computing" applications.

Stallman's position is pretty much "don't use Web 2.0/cloud computing" applications.   While I have some sympathy for that idea, that bus left a long time ago!   So it's probably better at this stage to look at the rights that cloud computing users should have...particularly over their data.

Anyway, (back on topic!) I look forward to seeing the downloadable .iso images of "Nova GNU/Linux"...maybe there'll be an English language edition. 

 

 

 

thoughtpolice thoughtpolice's picture

Doesn't " Nova" or "no va" mean "no go" in Spanish?
That makes it just like Windows.

 

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Call Me Dave!

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

I've got a Linux OS course coming up at my local Community Centre. Yipee.

thorin_bane

N Beltov my advise is have patience and use the net for any question the linux community is very good about helping others get on track (except some snobs) I tried Kubuntu and Ubuntu( one is gnome based and the other is KDE) they both are decent, but still not all that user firendly. I have to peck at the keys so you should probably get your typing skills up before trying to tackly GNU linux. If you have good skills then you already have a leg up! Good luck eh.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Is 60 w.p.m. enough?

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

thoughtpolice wrote:
Doesn't " Nova" or "no va" mean "no go" in Spanish?
That makes it just like Windows.

Boy those spanish speakers sure are dumb, not knowing the difference between 'no va' and 'nova'. What a no table error!

Or maybe...

thorin_bane

Yeah that's pretty good. I have to look at the keyboard to type so my WPM is somewhere around Zero. It also explains why I have so many typos in my posts. I usually don't take the time to proofread my stuff. To make matters worse I see narative while reading text(I mouth the words in my head) so it takes me a long time to get through these threads. It is a wonder  that I made it through school. (or that my supposed IQ is at a mensa level lol)

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Just for your info/curiosity,the computer that I am typing this message on is a ten year old 350 MHz. Pentium II with 192 MB RAM.

The GNU/Linux distro that I'm testing on it is called "Tiny Me 2008".   Basically it's a "stripped down" version of PCLinuxOS.    The entire "distro" is just 200 MB...so it'll fit on one of those credit card sized CD disks.

This distro comes with very "lightweight" software applications...but you can easily install additional software applications from the PCLinuxOS software repositories using the "Synaptic" package manager.   Just open up Synaptic, put a checkmark beside the things you want to install, it grabs the software off the net and installs it for you...that simple.    No "installing software applications one at a time" the way you do with that other operating system.

It uses a "lightweight" graphical user interface called "Open Box", instead of KDE or Gnome.

It certainly isn't a speedy machine, but I can do simple office tasks, surf the net, stream audio...it's a bit too slow on video sometimes.   But to watch say "youtube" videos, just install the "Video Download Helper" extension in Firefox, download the video and play it in VLC Media Player on your computer instead of playing it online. 

Most PC's of this vintage would be tossed into a landfill site.   This one is up and running and surfing!    Also, a computer of this vintage would be pretty typical of what's commonly available in Cuba these days.

 

 

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

I'm reading this thread using Mozilla Firefox on a Live CD version of Linux. Woo hoo!  The next step is to install the "dual boot" setup. I'd dispense with Windoze altogether were it not for a few applications that I have yet to find replacements for. My instructor actually suggested going the route of the virtual machine, with Wine or a virtual box, rather than the dual boot setup, but I am being a little conservative at first.

But I'm very happy. The evil is demolished.