Reuters has an interesting story today titled, “Cuba launches own Linux variant to counter U.S.”
The gist of the story is that Cuba is now going to produce their own Linux distro called ‘Nova’ in some sort of attempt to not have to use American software.
If I’m not mistaken, Linus Torvalds lives in the US where he leads the global Linux kernel development effort. Red Hat and Novell, the two leading Linux distribution vendors are both US companies as are Linux contributors Intel and Google.
Sure I agree and understand the need for open code to prevent proprietary lock-in, but that’s not an anti-American stance at all. In fact, Linux is about as pro-American as you can get with its ideals of Freedom and openness while still providing a route for vendors like a Red Hat or Novell to make money.
Now I’m not calling Linux ‘American’ software here necessarily either, since it’s a global effort. But it’s not exactly un-American either, considering the tremendous influence that those living and working in the US have on the development of Linux and its broad ecosystem.
In the Reuters story, Cuba takes particular aim at Microsoft arguing that it could be infected by US security services and that it can’t be updated due to the US embargo on the island. Considering that Linux has been around for more than 10 years, why now Cuba? Is it just because Raoul Castro just realized this issue?
Like other governments around the world – democratic or not – the need for open code that provides governments with transparency and a degree of control is important and Cuba is now waking up to that fact.