February 19, 2007 4:00 PM PST

Cuba to migrate to open-source software

The Cuban government is to migrate thousands of its computers to open-source software, a change that would further distance the communist nation from U.S.-based Microsoft.

Several Cuban government ministers backed the move at a technology conference held late last week. Communications minister Ramiro Valdes gave a opening keynote that advocated open source, while Richard Stallman, head of the Free Software Foundation, also told the conference that proprietary software is inherently insecure.

A Cuban academic, Hector Rodriguez, is supporting the migration to open source by heading up a development program within one of the largest Cuban universities. Cuba's customs service has already migrated to Linux, while the ministries of culture, higher education and communications are planning to do so, Rodriguez told the conference.

But Rodriguez, quoted by the Associated Press, declined to say how long it would take for the Cuban government to migrate most of its systems to Linux. "It would be tough for me to say that we would migrate half the public administration in three years," he told the conference.

The number of Cuban open-source users is growing fast, with around 3,000 in a country that struggles with outdated PCs and slow Internet links.

Other governments, including Venezuela, China, Brazil and Norway, are evaluating a partial or total migration from Windows to open source. Many city administrations are also running projects. In Europe, programs in Bristol, England, as well as Amsterdam and Munich, are well underway.

Richard Thurston of ZDNet UK reported from London.

See more CNET content tagged:
open-source software, conference, open source, government, Linux


Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Why migrate? They've stolen software for years.
Why migrate? They've stolen software for years.
Posted by lingsun (482 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Copyright violation != theft
You don't steal anything when you use an illegal copy of a software product, you're just leeching on the paying customers. If you actually take a box of physical media from a store, then you are stealing.
Posted by JadedGamer (207 comments )
Link Flag
This Makes Total Sense!
Socialist software for a socialist country--nice fit. I'm sure ol' Castro will soon share the so-called "free" software like Linux with his pal Hugo Chavez. So Venezuela will most likley soon follow. But once Chavez discovers the true cost (i.e. total cost of ownership), he'll soon realize he's been screwed by his comrade in arms. LOL!!!!!!!!
Posted by WJeansonne (480 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Total cost of ownership is changing dude...
The total cost of ownership is going to go down as more and more organizations and individuals adopt open-source. This is especially true with IBM creating software applications that can run on Linux, Windows or Apple. This will be one stop shopping for software applications and support with no need to go on bended knee to Micro$oft if you don't want to. I guess IBM is socialist organization too... wow, never thought of that.
Posted by C_G_K (169 comments )
Link Flag
"Other governments, including Venezuela, China, Brazil....
... and Norway, are evaluating a partial or total migration from Windows to open source. Many city administrations are also running projects. In Europe, programs in Bristol, England, as well as Amsterdam and Munich, are well underway." The thing is that "BRAZIL" the home of that bank
(Bank of Brazil) that has been using OS/2 for so long now finding itself in the mix-up must be loosing its "inventive genius". As to why this is so, BRAZIL was one of the founders of the INTER-AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK ( www.iadb.org ) and the hope was that some smart Brazilian Programmers would have delivered (created a niche) on the DESKTOP where LINUX and WINDOWS have failed to deliver after all of these years.

Economic Rate of Return (ERR) you say!
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Richard Stallman
Did Dick get a chance to visit any of Castro's political prisoners, or
some homosexuals being "reeducated," while he was there> How
great that he is gung-ho for the oppressive regime to have all the
glorious benefits of open-source software, which is so much cooler
than mere freedom.
Posted by nicmart (1829 comments )
Reply Link Flag
A Green Party man
What a surprise. It turns out that Stallman is a leftist Green Party
member He's very concerned about freedom, except under socialist
regimes, as his web page shows:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.stallman.org/" target="_newWindow">http://www.stallman.org/</a>
Posted by nicmart (1829 comments )
Link Flag
FSF belittles Cuban suffering
Please, Richard, I have some close Marielito friends with whom you should speak. They lost everything because of the man (men) you're befriending.

I think they'd have a different, perhaps more real perception of those comrades (killers).

Count me out of your crowd, RMS.
Posted by mwendy (64 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Open Software Unrelated to Politics
I don't think there is any relationship between promoting Open Software and a persons politics. Stallman happens to be way out left, but others (myself included) are just as far out right.

Poor countries, regardless of how they are run or who runs them, are perfect candidates for Open Software because they don't already have a large installed base of users.

Let us all hope that Cuba is liberated soon! But there is no need to wait until then to plant the seed for Open Software so that they can also be liberated from the oppressive monoculture of Windows we have to live with.
Posted by macbeach (1 comment )
Link Flag
Money talks...
****** sell themselves for money at the expense of dignity, safety and morals. Selling stuff to tyrants is roughly the same only worse because lots of people suffer under the disease of a dictatorship.
Posted by Schratboy (122 comments )
Link Flag
Because Microsoft's business practices are much better suited with
Cuba's government ;-)
Posted by PCCRomeo (432 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Open-source in Cuba...hhahahahahaaha
There aren't any trains to keep on schedule. There isn't any electricity. Computer? What's a computer. The only PCs in country likely oversee the bank accounts of Old Man Castro and the cigar manufacturers. Everything else is run by small children running on wooden treadmills. Internet connectivity is a twine string running between the Morales and Juno shacks.
Posted by Schratboy (122 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You've obviously never been to Cuba
an don't you think you should at least know what you are talking
about before you post stupidity?
Posted by DeusExMachina (516 comments )
Link Flag

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot



RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.