Cuba sets to migrate to free, open-source software

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XinghuaNet | Mo Hong’e | Decemebr 28, 2010

HAVANA, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) — Cuba has set a strategic goal in 2011 to migrate most of its computers to open-source software, a move designed to strengthen the country’s technological security and sovereignty.

Once the migration is fully implemented on the ground, the Cuban Nova Linux will be the operating system used in 90 percent of all working places, and Microsoft Office will be replaced by Open Office in all government institutions, Vice Minister of Information and Telecommunications Boris Moreno told Xinhua Tuesday.

The authorities also set a similar goal to replace Internet Explorer with Firefox, he added.

Moreno, responsible for managing the entire migration project, said besides saving money, the process would enhance Cuba’s sovereignty in the field of technology.

“In 2010, Cuba made significant progress in migrating all its ministries and institutions to open source software,” Moreno said.

Although the IT infrastructure of the country has not been entirely migrated, Cuban’s General Customs of the Republic has completed the transition, becoming the first sector embracing free self-developed software.

The ministries of Education, Culture, Health, and Information and Communications are also considering following suit, the deputy minister said.

Cuba is ready to begin the distribution of open source operating system Nova Linux, which is being updated from the Ubuntu software, one of the most popular international distributions in the world, Moreno said.

The project headed by the University of Las Villas involves experts from the Telecommunications Company of Cuba (ETECSA).

“Conditions are being set so that computers assembled in the country can be distributed with two operating systems. The new computers will be installed with Cuban Nova Linux (operating system) and Windows,” Moreno said.

While the nation-wide migration to free software is well underway in government agencies, it is much more difficult to convince end users to shift to the open-source software, he said.

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