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Stallman Convinces Cuba to Switch to Open Source

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the digital-emissaries dept.

582

prostoalex writes "It's a big victory for Richard Stallman in North America, as Cuba decided to adopt open source software on the national level. Both Cuba and Venezuela are currently working on switching the entire government infrastructure to GNU/Linux operating system and applications, the Associated Press reports from Havana: 'Both governments say they are trying to wean state agencies from Microsoft's proprietary Windows to the open-source Linux operating system, which is developed by a global community of programmers who freely share their code.' The AP article doesn't mention the distro used for government workers, but says that the students are working on a Gentoo-based distro."

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582 comments

An Old Canard . . . (1, Flamebait)

P(0)(!P(k)+P(k+1)) (1012109) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050984)

Irony in TFA:

And the start of the open-source sessions was delayed as organizers fiddled with the computer running their projector. The conference room screen had been displaying the words "Windows XP."

There's this old canard [blogspot.com] about GNU-latry and a certain proletarian dictatorship [wikipedia.org] that I'd rather not repeat. I will say this, though: the eagerness with which the Cuban communists adopted the rhetoric of “proprietary software” is comical.

I wonder how RMS is going to spin this victory to his States-side detractors?

Re:An Old Canard . . . (4, Insightful)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051010)

I wonder how RMS is going to spin this victory to his States-side detractors?
 
not only the existing ones- but all the people who don't know anything about open source. i think this could be a good thing for linux globally, but for those of us in the u.s. this is going to be the source of a mountain of fud.

Re:An Old Canard . . . (0, Troll)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051120)

i think this could be a good thing for linux globally,

Are you trolling for a "funny" mod?

Cuba has what, 3 PC's capable of running Linux?

Who in the world didn't figure this was going to happen. Every copy of XP in Cuba is probably pirated (that's right Fidel, sue me for libel and slander). They haven't been able to get updates and can't afford Vista. So, free is the only answer. And the obviousness of adopting a quasi-socialist model for software is not that surprising a step.

In fact, now that I think about it, the question has to be:

What, they weren't on this already?

Re:An Old Canard . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18051160)

Wow.

Ha! Ha! Pinko-commie to heart (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18051642)

Ha! Ha! Pinko-commie to heart. Went to suck on Castro's red balls, to bad he didn't stay. Korea, China -- get ready for a ball sucker !!

Re:An Old Canard . . . (2)

SECProto (790283) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051624)

speaking of FUD....

Re:An Old Canard . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18051034)

A practical decision, for once, out of that sagging old ideological island prison camp...

but if Google and Yahoo were evil for agreeing to censorship, and handing over people's identities in China... what's this?

what rhetoric .. (1)

rs232 (849320) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051050)

'the eagerness with which the Cuban communists adopted the rhetoric of "proprietary software" is comical'

What rhetoric ?, where does it say that. Where did the Cubans adopt the 'rhetoric'?

was: An Old Canard . . . (Score:1)

Re:An Old Canard . . . (5, Insightful)

chaoticgeek (874438) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051182)

They will probably spin it as "Hey Cuba uses Linux and Free Software. Do you want to be a Communist too?" Reminds me of the picture that says something along the lines of "When you pirate music you help communism." Or something like that.

Re:An Old Canard . . . (4, Funny)

Teresita (982888) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051454)

Reminds me of the picture that says something along the lines of "When you pirate music you help communism."

Gosh, maybe Stallman is pitching GNU/Linux to Osama bin Laden in his cave right now, and we can bring the War on Terror into this.

Re:An Old Canard . . . (0, Offtopic)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051216)

There's this old canard about GNU-latry and a certain proletarian dictatorship that I'd rather not repeat.


Well, canards can be tough, but there's good flavor there if you are careful not to overheat. I recommend a slow cooking nethod, either braising at low temperatures or perhaps stewing. Perhaps a nice Cassoulet de Canard, or Canard au Vin Rouge. Red wine, that's the ticket; one for the pot, one for the cook...

Bon appétit.

Re:An Old Canard . . . (5, Funny)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051248)

I wonder how RMS is going to spin this victory to his States-side detractors?

He could say, "Wait a minute ... Microsoft replaced 'My Computer' with 'Computer' and 'My Documents' with 'Documents' ... and Gates says it's open source that's communist?"

Re:An Old Canard . . . (2, Funny)

Rydia (556444) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051540)

Of course it is. Friend Computer would never consort with evil mutant commie traitors. To think otherwise would be the height of treason.

Re:An Old Canard . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18051450)

I have always thought of the fear of free software as being part of communism as comical at the least, and possibly a sign of a serious problem with the person that thinks that. I have always seen it as similar to charity, though that is over blowing the selflessness of the providers a bit in some circumstances. The idea that it means communism means that the person cannot tell the difference between being a little bit selfless and being part of some evil anti-american regime(i know, but that's beside the point). It would be interesting to see who claims it is such.

Apologies in advance.. (5, Funny)

solevita (967690) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050996)

In communist Cuba, Stallman switches you!

Not surprising. (1)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051000)

Given the extreme poverty of the country, such a switch is not a coup to me. I'm more surprised that Microsoft was allowed to sell Cuba copies of Windows in the first place.

Re:Not surprising. (4, Insightful)

Teresita (982888) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051158)

I'm more surprised that Microsoft was allowed to sell Cuba copies of Windows in the first place.

MicroSoft sells copies of Windows to OEMS, see, maybe in Hong Kong, and it's the OEMs who sell them to Cuba. Stallman probably got Castro to switch to Linux by pointing out the new "feature" in Vista that lets M$ revoke driver priveleges at their pleasure. Imagine if GM had a lever in Detroit that could make all those mint-condition classic '57 Chevys in Cuba stop working.

nice that Satllman steals cred from the GNAA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18051004)

One more reason why Assbuntu is Fedora/GNAA as the major community-led Linux distribution that aims to be easy to use.

Since when was Cuba in 'North America'? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18051012)

"It's a big victory for Richard Stallman in North America"

Oh really? and a pretty bad day for geography!

Re:Since when was Cuba in 'North America'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18051190)

I think your geography skills need brushing up.

Cuba is part of North America. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Since when was Cuba in 'North America'? (1)

Bazman (4849) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051202)

Probably since a few million years ago. Remember, its not *that* far from Florida.

Re:Since when was Cuba in 'North America'? (1)

TheDreadSlashdotterD (966361) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051266)

It must be nice to be anonymous.

Since the Triassic Period (4, Informative)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051332)

Cuba is part of the North American continental plate, in much the same way that Great Britain and Ireland are in Europe, Japan is in Asia, Madagascar is in Africa, and the Falklinds are in South America. (In case you're wondering, the Caribbean plate lies immediately south of Cuba.)

I will pay $1000 to (1)

thammoud (193905) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051016)

get a photo of that cuban user switching from Windows. MSFT to $20.

Re:I will pay $1000 to (2, Insightful)

kjart (941720) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051196)

Yes, I'm sure the loss of the Cuban goverment will badly damage Microsoft's bottom line.

Communist Spectre (2, Insightful)

seyyah (986027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051020)

Is there any chance that this sort of announcement will actually scare (I'm using the term loosely) some people away from OSS? Whatever the realities, things associated with Cuba and Venezuala are obviously not popular in certain circles in the US at least.

Re:Communist Spectre (1, Insightful)

lixee (863589) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051286)

Whatever the realities, things associated with Cuba and Venezuala are obviously not popular in certain circles in the US at least.

Circles? You mean McCarthy & co? I say, the hell with those circles!
Seriously though, Venezuela puts US democracy to shame. I don't agree with everything Chavez does, but when he -voluntarily- calls for referendums on government legitimacy, forgives the US-backed traitors involved in the 2003 coup and gives away heating petrol for poor families in the US, I can only bow to his achievements. Contrast with what Bush has done lately; e.g: Invaded Iraq and got more than half a million people killed, Fscked up on hurricane Katarina...

Re:Communist Spectre (1)

BecomingLumberg (949374) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051410)

Yeah, but marketing class taught me that although perception may not be reality, it is good enough to move product.

So, what is it going to take (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18051600)

What it is it going to take for the left to realize that Chavez is now a dictator? Millions killed (oops, sorry, Chomsky is still a left wing hero after his ass-kissing of Pol-Pot.) Maybe death camps & ovens? (Probably not, since we could bow to his "wonderful achievements in making the trains run on time.") What's really scary is that no one seems to see this coming. The people of Venezuela (and elsewhere) are going to suffer for many years over the failure of one Venezualan patriot to put a bullet in Chavez's head when they had him in custody. There is at least one thing they can learn from the Left. Chavez wouldn't have made the same mistake.

Re:Communist Spectre (4, Insightful)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051318)

Is there any chance that this sort of announcement will actually scare (I'm using the term loosely) some people away from OSS?
Oh, I dunno... Did it scare anyone away from Microsoft when the Cubans were using Windows?

Whatever the realities, things associated with Cuba and Venezuala are obviously not popular in certain circles in the US at least.
Maybe you haven't noticed, but we (the U.S.) aren't at the pinnacle of our popularity around the world, either...

Really a big win in North America? (2, Insightful)

gilroy (155262) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051026)

Or is it just one more bullet added to the ammunition of defenders of proprietary software? There's symbolism in this, but it isn't unmixedly positive: The two American nations listed are already bugaboos in the US culture wars. Won't this just be used to convince consumers in the US not to adopt Linux? "See, it's really just a plot by those big scary Reds..."

Re:Really a big win in North America? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18051422)

Bad publicity is all in your mind. Publicity is all some people think about. But don't worry, if we can abide a few hotheads that deny the holocaust happened, there's plenty of room in the open source world for people who think Castro is a savior to the downtrodden and not a brutal dictator, right? Don't worry about that "culture war" stuff.

A gentoo based distro? (0, Flamebait)

HateBreeder (656491) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051032)

That basically means, that a full re-install takes about what? a week?

Re:A gentoo based distro? (1)

junglee_iitk (651040) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051208)

They are not using Gentoo, but gentoo based distro. I bet they are implementing how to use binary installs of packages, which is right now not the official policy of Gentoo right now.

That basically means, that a full re-install takes about what? a week?


Gentoo since 2006.0 LiveCD, uses a binary install, and a fresh install takes no more than half an hour.

Re:A gentoo based distro? (1)

HateBreeder (656491) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051628)

I know. I've been using gentoo for several years now. They can just do a "ghost" or... "dd" from a working machine... no problems there. But then again, what will gentoo's advantage be? for an enterprise.. users aren't really supposed to install and recompile new packages... so the whole portage thing which is in my opinion, the crown jewls of gentoo (that and the community forums...).. what is there left to justify gentoo?

Corrected Headline: (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18051040)

Commie Convinces Other Commies to Go With Commie Software

D U H!!!!

Well, this should totally kill their economy. One bad idea for another. But, I bet you the medical equipment hooked up to ol' Fidel is still run by Closed Sourced Commericial God Bless America Money Making Software.

Re:Corrected Headline: (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18051142)

Well, this should totally kill their economy.

Unlike, say, nearly fifty years of US trade embargos?

Re:Corrected Headline: (1, Funny)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051614)

Commie Convinces Other Commies to Go With Commie Software D U H!!!! Well, this should totally kill their economy. One bad idea for another. But, I bet you the medical equipment hooked up to ol' Fidel is still run by Closed Sourced Commericial God Bless America Money Making Software.

You're going to Hell

Wait, that's a religious concept and we know all religious people are conservatives and therefor wrong. Thus, God does not exist because He is a Republican concept, and George Bush is a Republican, so since the nation has voted the Republican's out of power in the congress, God no longer rules, and Hell has been repealed. So, when Fidel dies (hoping that we have some sort of software switch the CIA can throw on the Closed-Sourced-Commericial-God-Bless-America-Money -Making-Software controlling his life-support equipment) he will not go to Hell, he'll go to Berkely, which has their own version of Hell, People's Park which is worse than Hell, even Satan wouldn't hang out there. But, Berkley is liberal, and have a version Hell, that must mean Religion exists, and God is back. Whew, and for a second there, I thought the Universe was going to wink out of existance.

Now, why the Hell is this discussion on Slashdot?

Oh, right! Commies!

Run, everyone, the Commies are coming, God help us, the Commies are coming!

OSS is communist? (4, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051048)

I am quite certain that we will see things saying how appropiate. Yet, it will be overlooked that Windows is the dominant in totalitarian states. In fact, MS over the last 2 decades sold it into East Germany, USSR, Cuba, Communist China, Panama's Noriega, Huisein's Iraq, and even into Syria. All in all, pushing Linux into CUba is simply doing the same thing that MS has done for decades. While I like seeing countries pick up Linux, I am not certain that I want Stallman going into every country that MS is at.

Re:OSS is communist? (3, Insightful)

gerddie (173963) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051330)

In fact, MS over the last 2 decades sold it into East Germany ...
Just in case it slipped your awareness, it is now nearly 2 decades that East Germany as a country vanishes from the world and became a part of what is now called Germany.

Re:OSS is communist? (1)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051418)

I've noticed a definite uptick in this sort of commentary (OSS == communism) lately myself, and I wonder whether there's something organized (e.g., an astroturfing PR firm) behind it. Perhaps, having failed to win the day on the merits of open vs. closed software, the money behind proprietary software is preparing to fight the battle in the political and legal arenas. For that, public opinion has to be conditioned, however gradually. Since political discourse in the U.S. is pretty much one bout of mindless hysteria after another, it's just possible that such an effort could succeed.

Re:OSS is communist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18051492)

Thing is, 'communism' is just a way of thinking, only in the USA is it a bogieman.

Communists and Stallman (4, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051060)

What is with this guy? First convinces the communist state government of Kerala to switch to Open Source. Then another Indian state that formed a coalition government with the communists. Now cuba. I have nothing against communists using Open Source. But I dont think it benefits the image of open source to be associated with communists so much. Others will spin and try to claim guilt by association.

Re:Communists and Stallman (4, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051148)

Hitler was (supposedly) a vegetarian. So does that mean that vegetarianism is somehow tied up with facism?

Leaving aside Hitler's dubiously documented vegetarianism, it is quite well documented that Churchill was a drunk who drank a bottle of brandy before he got out of bed every day. Does this mean that being a drunk has anything to do with his political philosophy?

People with faulty philosophies do make correct decisions sometimes, and people with sound philosophies are not immune from error.

In fact, the biggest problems with any political philsophy are going to be the things it ignores or discounts. It may be the selfishness of human nature, or it may be the prevelance of preventable in the human condition. It follows that it is quite possible for a grossly faulty philosophy to recommend a worthwhile course of action that a better one would not even consider.

Re:Communists and Stallman (1)

lseltzer (311306) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051296)

I'd say vegetarianism and fascism are less directly related than communism and property rights issues.

Re:Communists and Stallman (2, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051452)

Stallman's position on intellectual property is a moral one, not a legal one. Note that he does not recommend you treat claims of IP by others a void, he recommends you get your softwrae from somebody who doesn't make claims on controlling what you do with it. Thus the Free Software position is one that respects property.

Here's another way of thinking about it. Suppose you have a great program you've written. I know you've written that program. Are you morally obligated to give it to me? Most Free Software advocates would probably say no. Your unpublished program is your property.

When you publish the program, the issue changes. The question is can you claim all kind of superiority in the control over my use of that program by virtue of it having been your property?

The basic Free Software philosophy seems to be that software embodies ideas, and what goes on in your skull is nobody's business. So once you have been given software, the ideas are in your head, and you can't allow people to become private thought police.

It's a philosophy that I'm not altogether ready to endorse, but it makes consistent sense and is certainly consistent with the concept of property.

Re:Communists and Stallman (-1, Flamebait)

Oktober Sunset (838224) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051424)

I'd hardly call Winston 'Arab Gasser' Churchill a man with a 'sound philosophy'

Re:Communists and Stallman (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051482)

Sure, and Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus. John Adams supported the Alien and Sedition Act. Thomas Jefferson kept slaves. FDR interned the Japanese.

Perhaps of all the great statemen, Thomas Jefferson was the one whose behavior was least consistent with his philosophy; John Adams the most.

But in any case, I'm sure that Churchill's political position was preferable to Hitler's.

Re:Communists and Stallman (3, Insightful)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051188)

I'd rather not start a debate on why communism is evil and corporations and banks having indirectly killed millions in africa are fine, so let's say al qaeda uses a linux infrastructure. Does that mean you would boycott linux for that? Why not boycott oil, arms, the CIA whom osama used to work for?

Re:Communists and Stallman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18051334)

It should be debated as frequently as possible so that the many idiots who are fooled by the arguments of the left are exposed to the truth. Communists cannot defend their warped ideology except though violence.

Re:Communists and Stallman (2, Insightful)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051440)

I'm not a communist. BUT I'M ALSO NOT A COMPLETE AND UTTER STUPID FUCKWIT. Unlike say that ignorant person who I am replying to.

Communism is /not/ Cuba, China, the USSR or the DRPK. Communism is a classless stateless society where goods are held in common. The countries mentioned *never* claimed to be communist. The most they ever did was claim to be moving towards communism. The claimed (or still claim) to be in the "dictatorship of the proletariat" (or as I like to say, "dictatorship over the proletariat") stage.

Talking about "warped ideologies", what about the millions of starving children in Africa? They are not dying because of "communism" (or even "Communism"). No, it is capitalism that is doing them in.

Talking about violence, what is happening in Iraq just now? Oh, that's right, violence to defend an ideology ("democracy" in this case). Get a fucking life you loser. Or better still, learn to read and find out something about a topic before mouthing off about it.

Re:Communists and Stallman (1)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051502)

But I dont think it benefits the image of open source to be associated with communists so much. Others will spin and try to claim guilt by association.
True, among idiots that idea may gain some traction. But is their any "guilt by association" if communists and dictators continue to patronize Microsoft? Why are vendors of proprietary software not tainted by this blood money?

Trading with the "enemy" (1)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051062)

Does that mean RMS can be thrown into jail now? Or is it okay since it isn't exactly trade giving away Free things? Or is it even something like Radio "Free" Europe, and he gets paid by the CIA?

Re:Trading with the "enemy" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18051298)

Bet they won't use SE Linux [nsa.gov] ...

Re:Trading with the "enemy" (1)

sBox (512691) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051370)

So now the exiles are going to riot in Miami and burn RMS in effigy. I think they can fill the Orange Bowl [miami.com] with a few spare XP users...

Free Software (4, Insightful)

latroM (652152) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051078)

Stallman speaks about Free Software, the writer of the article has obviously no clue regarding the distinction between Open Source and Free Software.

Re:Free Software (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051636)

the opensource initiatives open source definition and stallmans free software definition are pretty much the same.

Can we get another spokesman? (1, Insightful)

Thorizdin (456032) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051086)

Once again Stallman proves that brilliance as a programmer does not necessarily translate into brilliance, or even competence, in other fields. I'll bet that the MS PR team is practically salivating over this little tidbit. Thanks Richard, you've just made it harder to move people into OSS in most of the industrialized countries of the world and in exchange you were able to "win over" a nation that already has a small economy, limited technical personnel, and little encouragement for technical innovation at the state level. As an added bonus you grabbed the good will of another nation that is busily shrinking its economy and following the path of the first.

People wonder why the OSS movement struggles to attract more support....

Re:Can we get another spokesman? (2, Informative)

xoundmind (932373) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051174)

Like many others - including yourself - the whole Gates/"OSS is Communist" came to mind. But seriously, do you really think this is going to prevent you Aunt in Davenport, Iowa from switch to the Fedora Core? She was just about to, right?

The damn communists ruin everything.

Re:Can we get another spokesman? (1)

Thorizdin (456032) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051240)

I'm not worried about switching family members, every time OSS solutions are proposed in the corporate world there is some degree of push back. Many decision makers and influencer's are didn't experience the growth of OSS themselves, they don't understand the distinction between OSS and FSF nor do they care to. When I get asked by the CEO of a company about this, and I will since I compete with MS driven solutions every week, I have to admit that RMS is indeed responsible for a large portion of the code that I use. The MS reseller justs nods quietly and mumbles communist under his breath. That has an impact on decision makers, most of whom are not technical themselves. If the choice for a company president is 800 Linux terminals or 800 Windows workstations more than just cost/performance comes into play and few (or none at all) American corporation wants to be associated with anything that Fidel Castro uses or supports.

Re:Can we get another spokesman? (4, Insightful)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051234)

You pretend anyone in the USA is going to care about this. They won't. But I'll tell you who will: Everybody else in Latin America. You might not realize it, but Cuba is the most literate country in Central America, and there is no small amount of admiration for Cuba in that part of the world. Add to that the economic muscle of Venezuela, as well as Chavez's almost dictatorial resolve to make things work, and the rest of the Spanish-speaking world will be watching carefully whether this succeeds. If it comes off well, it wouldn't surprise me that Linux would be the OS they would all use.

There are many smart and patriotic people in Cuba and Venezuela, and I suspect they will mess with Linux until it really works right for the purposes that the government has in mind. This is a far more honorable course than piracy of MS, which is what most other developing countries choose.

In summary, this is incredibly good for Linux, and only people who think the USA is the entire world could think otherwise.

'almost dictatorial' ? (4, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051352)

almost dictatorial

Is that like being sort of pregnant? The guy just talked his pets in the legislature to allow him to rule by fiat. He's busy nationalizing industries that other people invested in and paid for. He controls the media, beats up and jails his political opponents, and is an all around jackass. It's bad enough that people like Joe Kennedy like to portray him as some sort of saint, but using him (and Castro) as some sort of victorious case study for Stallman's crusading is not, I think, all that helpful. Unless you like the way Chavez is going. Because in his country, companies like Red Hat would shortly wind up being The Ministry Of Software, and the "evil capitalists" that took the risks to found it, paid the people who got it up and running, and made it a viable enterprise would simply be shoved out the door. It's happening right now in that country, and it's going to get worse.

Re:Can we get another spokesman? (4, Insightful)

Thorizdin (456032) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051366)

I don't have to pretend, as I noted above I compete with MS solutions every week. I _know_ people in the US will care because the MS spin machine will make it an issue, they already attempt to make the association between OSS and communism and this will make that link much easier to make. I'm glad that people in Cuba use and hopefully improve Linux and other OSS products. What I'm not happy about is that the father of FSF feels that he has to go make a sales pitch to the government of Cuba.

Lets reverse the situation, if RMS stood up with George Bush, or high ranking members of his administration, that would negatively impact the adoption of GNU and other OSS projects in countries where GWB or current American policy is unpopular.

In summary, people using Linux anywhere is good for Linux but having RMS stand with political leaders isn't. Do you really believe that PR machine in Cuba won't use this or that the propaganda they produce won't trickle back into the US?

Re:Can we get another spokesman? (3, Insightful)

swillden (191260) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051530)

I _know_ people in the US will care because the MS spin machine will make it an issue, they already attempt to make the association between OSS and communism and this will make that link much easier to make.

Bah.

Just counter "Cuba is going OSS" with "IBM is pushing OSS". If there's one thing IBM is not associated with, it's communism.

Re:Can we get another spokesman? (0, Redundant)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051256)

Well, this is what we've been arguing about all along, isn't it? That Linux is cheaper than licensing and maintaining MS software?

So, why exactly should Cuba NOT use it, instead of wasting the precious little money it has on making MS richer? Are you proposing a course of action where OSS is only good for "friendly" rich countries, and kept away from places like Cuba that could hugely benefit from it, just to avoid silly associations with communism that should have got old a long time ago?

This seems to me again the same faulty logic that says that X is evil because thought X was good.

If we get another "spokesman" I sure hope it's not of the sort you seem to want.

Re:Can we get another spokesman? (1)

Thorizdin (456032) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051416)

Did you bother to read my post?

I never suggested, nor do I believe, that the Cuban people or the government shouldn't be using Linux. The problem is simply having RMS go to Cuba and champion ideas that fit well with Castro's regime but few else in the world is harmful to the cause of OSS adoption.

To quote from the article,"Middle-aged communist bureaucrats and ponytailed young Cuban programmers applauded as the computer scientist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology insisted that copyright laws violate basic morality; he compared them to laws that would threaten people with jail for sharing or modifying kitchen recipes."

Having RMS decry the "evil" of copyright laws is a POLITICAL statement and that has an impact.

Re:Can we get another spokesman? (1)

mindstormpt (728974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051414)

Thanks Richard, you've just made it harder to move people into OSS in most of the industrialized countries of the world
And by that you mean the US right? I'm only saying this because most of the industrialized countries of the world don't think communists are sons of the devil.

Politically and PR tone-deaf (3, Insightful)

schnell (163007) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051108)

Hey, maybe this is just the irrelevant concern of somebody who works in PR and marketing. But if you're trying to be the ambassador of a broad-based movement, you generally avoid making public appearances with anyone who's a polarizing figure on either side politically. (i.e., if you're with a charity that wants people of all parties to donate, you don't make public appearances with either Dick Cheney or Michael Moore.)

RMS is Free(TM) of course to make public appearances wherever he wishes in support of Free(TM) software etc. I'm just saying that the image of Stallman getting snuggly with Raul Castro and Hugo Chavez - other than being kind of physically gross - is not likely to assuage any US government or business fears about the ideals or politics behind the F/OSS movements. Free software seemed to be gaining some wide acceptance ... but RMS has just given the Bill O'Reillys of the world a powerful tool to shill Microsoft et. al. with once more. Again, it's his right to go ... but I think it's an exceedingly poor idea from a PR perspective. Then again, if RMS cared about PR, he wouldn't be RMS...

Re:Politically and PR tone-deaf (1)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051260)

Wait, so you're saying you won't use any tool that Communists use and love? Well, you'll have to give up a lot of stuff, buddy.

Re:Politically and PR tone-deaf (5, Insightful)

cpu_fusion (705735) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051346)

> I think its an exceedingly poor idea from a PR perspective.

I completely disagree. The world is NOT the United States. The opinions of the citizens of the world about the fortunes of Cuba do not necessarily align with the opinions of the Republicans in America.

Many in the world believe that Cuba has been hurt more by the actions of the United States than by Castro. If you travel to Europe, you will likely hear a very different opinion of Castro and the history of Cuba.

And even in this country, many are changing their minds about who has caused the Cubans to suffer most.

So please don't confuse the PR perspective of the World from the PR perspective of the G.O.P.

Re:Politically and PR tone-deaf (2, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051544)

Ok, so you dislike the current US administration... But that doesn't mean that the US policy towards Cuba was created by the Republicans or is solely supported by the Republicans. There was a Democrat on watch when the policy was created, and there have been several democrats who could have changed that poilcy in the meantime.

Many in the world believe that Cuba has been hurt more by the actions of the United States than by Castro. If you travel to Europe, you will likely hear a very different opinion of Castro and the history of Cuba.

See that's the thing about the US policy towards Cuba. It's not about helping the people of Cuba, it's about helping the US. Europeans get similarly protective when you're talking about countries that are closer to them on the map that may or may not pose a perceived threat. We're not screwing the Cubans economically to help them get rid of Castro. We're screwing them because *we* want to be rid of Castro. Please stop confusing self interest with misguided altruism.

Re:Politically and PR tone-deaf (0)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051608)

> I think its an exceedingly poor idea from a PR perspective.

I completely disagree. The world is NOT the United States. The opinions of the citizens of the world about the fortunes of Cuba do not necessarily align with the opinions of the Republicans in America.

Many in the world believe that Cuba has been hurt more by the actions of the United States than by Castro. If you travel to Europe, you will likely hear a very different opinion of Castro and the history of Cuba.

And even in this country, many are changing their minds about who has caused the Cubans to suffer most.

So please don't confuse the PR perspective of the World from the PR perspective of the G.O.P.
jesus are you an idiot. GOP responsible for cuban sanctions? WTF? I wasnt aware that kennedy, jhonson, carter and Clinton were republicans.

As for using what europeans believe as a metric of anything, keep in mind there are euros who are so blinded by their hate for america that they thing Bush was responsible for the asian Tsunamis in 2004.

Viva! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18051170)

Viva la Evolución!

Missing from the article.... (1)

sjs132 (631745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051178)

He also donated 5 computers bringing their total to 10 and pointed a pringles cantenna from keywest in their direction... Castro hasn't been seen for weeks because he's now surfing myspace...

Seriously, I think Cuba has more to worry about than computers and OS's...

Freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18051180)

And here I was, thinking Free Software was about Freedom.

Obviously, these governments' only interest in open source is to shun corporate America, of course they don't care about the philosophy behind Free Software, this is no victory.

And Just How Did They Acquire MS Software? (5, Insightful)

xsbellx (94649) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051194)

Unless I am mistaken, the United States has one of the most restrictive trade embargoes [wikipedia.org] in place with regards to Cuba. It makes one wonder just how all of this software and the PC's it runs on actually made it into to Cuba. And before anyone jumps all over this and says it's other countries that sell to Cuba, you may want actually check the link above. Microsoft, Intel and a few others can easily be held accountable for the actions of wholly and/or partially owned subsidiaries.

Re:And Just How Did They Acquire MS Software? (1)

hey (83763) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051224)

Guess what, there are other countries in the world. The Wintel products could have come from Europe.

Re:And Just How Did They Acquire MS Software? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18051242)

I bet it's pirated, I mean, it's not like they care.

Cuba, communism and stupidity (4, Insightful)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051212)

There are already a few comments about Cuba, communism and "Open Source" software. How this will discourage people from using Free Software, or how this will be a PR coup for Microsoft or whatever else.

I just have to say that anyone who thinks that Free Software is communistic because Cuba (and Venezuela) are using it are stupid. Firstly, Cuba is not communist. The USSR never claimed to be communist. Comments about Cuba being communist show the ignorance of the person saying them.

Secondly, if you refuse to use a superior (technologically, or because it's cheaper or whatever) option because "communists" are using it. Then you are stupid. Full stop.

Free Software is not about communism, if you read the FSF definition, you will notice that the software must not be restricted for *any* usage. That includes totalitarian regimes, or real communists living in a hippy commune somewhere. Free Software is about Freedom. And that means that Cuba is free to use it.

For a definition of "communism" or to find out more about "communism", see my "homepage".

Re:Cuba, communism and stupidity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18051396)

surely the basic principals of OSS come right back to the original writings of Marx. You have a commmunity of people working together to produce something, where all the people involved are working for the benefit of the community as a whole. This goes right to the very basic original marxism concepts as layed out in Principles of Communism.

Re:Cuba, communism and stupidity (1)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051620)

Or even anarchists like Kropotkin. But it doesn't mean shit.

Free Software is not about people working on developing software together. It is about people being able to use and change the software they have. There is nothing that says if I develop a piece of software that I have to work with others. It is just that I enable others to share and use my software, to change it as they will.

Nice try, but no cigar.

Ooh ah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18051258)

Maybe Stallman can convince Castro (and his mini-me) to open-source the Cuban regime, eh? Or if Stallman can't do that, maybe he stay and Cuba with his minders and cut sugar cane at the commune. Either that or hang out with whores in Cuba's many expat-only beaches. Or visit Cuba's many prisons and help torture dissidents. Good to know he's got his priorities straight though. Think of all the money he's saving a billionaire like Castro! Like viva the Linux revolution, deify Che and all that. Peace.

Re:Ooh ah (1)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051498)

Man, I wish I had my earlier mod point, I'd have given you an "atta-boy" for that. Too bad you posted anonymous.

Seriously, this is separate from the Linux discussion, but, from a human rights point of view, Cuba has to be one of the worst. Next stop, Burma, err, Myanmar.

From a PR perspective, RMS in Cuba is not fantastic. I think the move is not motivated by any love for Cuba on his part, but I could be wrong. I think he's still trying to tweak people and Cuba is a convenient way to do the tweaking.

My sister-in-law, living in Oakland, CA, all of 59 years old still thinks like a teen-ager and she likes coming to Thanksgiving dinner talking (tweaking) about the countries she's visited that are not friendly to the U.S. and tells us how their systems are better than the U.S. model, and how she works with those communities of their expats that are here in the U.S. (? There's a reason those people are expat from their glorious countries.) She doesn't understand, she says, why some of them don't say much to her when she says she visited their home country and loves it and thinks its better than her U.S.A.

The fun thing, she loves those countries where one isn't allowed to own property or businesses, and she owns her house, and owns her own side-business (while working for the City of Oakland) and is crowing about how much she is going to make when she turns around and sells her house.

I think Stallman might be her neighbor.

New Distro (4, Funny)

j0e_average (611151) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051338)

Hammer and Sickle Linux (TM) -- Now with improved worker thread support and Cooperative multitasking.

Download it today, comrade!

Re:New Distro (1)

faaaz (582035) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051604)

That's Hammer and Sickle GNU/Linux!

Pinkies (1)

noz (253073) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051356)

Clearly anyone who has ever had any contact with open source is a card carrying pinkie!

I'm sure (1)

saibot834 (1061528) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051368)

I'm sure arguments about freedom convinced them :P

Oh goody... (1)

stubear (130454) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051374)

...another "Linux is planned to be adopted at some future date by {insert government here}" story. Until there's a "Linux successfully adopted by {insert government here} and significant improvement in user acceptance, cost savings, and citizens benefot greatly by increased resources being available to them" stories this is just virtual masterbation (perhaps even actual masterbation, but I digross...er...digress) by Linux fanbois who hang on every word of every news story with the words Linux in it.

Stallman shouldn't be dealing with thugs (3, Insightful)

Jim Buzbee (517) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051412)

Stallman shouldn't even be dealing with these thugs. There are much better places to push for free software. Forget computers, Cuba's a place where you can be thrown in jail for promoting reading [storytelle...lugged.com] .

"Our goal is not revolution, or even the civil toppling of any political forces. All we seek is for the people to be allowed to choose what they want to read, and to be allowed to draw their own conclusions from that reading"

Re:Stallman shouldn't be dealing with thugs (0, Troll)

Kohath (38547) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051528)

This torture center's records are managed only by "open source" software!

Open Source. Putting the freedom back into torturing your political opponents.

it's all about money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18051446)

first world corporations just don't get second world economics. in fact, the third world is what's left over after the first world gets its cut. from what i see, microsoft, and the software industry in general, clearly use an overpriced and unethical business model which attempts to limit choice and competition. wherever these "capitalists" can't compete, as in profit, others have gone and will go. this folks is evolution in action, the inevitable outcome of simple economics. eventually, these monopolies all end badly, with only the people enduring

Viva la revolucion! (NT) (1)

kanweg (771128) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051474)

Viva la revolucion!

Communism (1)

biscon (942763) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051548)

Can someone please point out whats so bad about communism?

From wikipedia: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communism)
Communism is an ideology that seeks to establish a classless, stateless social organization, based upon common ownership of the means of production.

whats so terrible wrong about that?

Re:Communism (1)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051658)

Nothing for most people. For the rich and powerful, they loose their riches and power.

To stop people from thinking about what communism really is, they point to places which have never claimed to be communistic (the USSR, China, PDRK and of course Cuba)and claim that they are communistic.

Only ignorant people, and people who have something to lose (or who think that they might have something to lose, like the opportunity to oppress others) claim that there is something inherently wrong with communism.

Too bad no one other than the government... (1)

superangrybrit (600375) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051584)

will use it. Computers are banned for Cubans.

Bill Gates has it wrong (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051594)

Bill said "some new modern-day sort of communists" to describe people who want to do away with commercial software.

But Bill doesn't seem to realise that Open Source is empowering, you can avoid all the DRM and government imposed restrictions present in Vista. Open Source is about freedom, so how can that be anything like communism?

There are many Linux based distributions, all different. surely having everyone running Windows more like communism?

About time (1)

miletus (552448) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051612)

It's about time socialist countries start doing this. Whether the libertarians like it or not, free software is basically communist, because it's created from each according to their ability, and distributed to each according to their need. It is no longer fully a commodity, as it is easier to give it away than it is to sell it. Free software is a harbinger of the obsolence of money. Ironically many of those who help to make it can't imagine a world without money; but then, the medieval burghers and merchants and runaway serfs who eventually overthrew feudalism rarely imagined a world with aristocrats, either.

Just great... (1)

lbbros (900904) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051632)

Well, yeah... it's good that they adopted open source at a national level... and how is that supposed to be good? I mean, Cuba is not a democracy, and someone interested in "freedom" should battle for it first, rather than open source...
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for FOSS use in governments, but here the priorities are messed up.

A dictatorship gets Open Source for its government and so they are good? I don't see the point.

Depressing obsession with "communist" (1)

Flying pig (925874) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051638)

I think more than a few people need to get a little perspective on this. Other than to the less well educated fraction of the United States and a few idiotic British camp followers, fortunately now exported, the word "communism" doesn't cause people to rush off screaming. Just because Rupert insists that Fox News treats guilt by association as dogma because it is lazier and cheaper than facts and debate(just like Islamic fundamentalists do...) doesn't mean that the rest of the world does, or at least not with the same knee jerk reaction to a few key words. And no, I am happily aware that many Americans are not that stupid.

The people who stand to gain most in the short to medium term from FOSS are those in poor countries with good educational systems, i.e. where the intellectual resources are there but not the cash. I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but most of those countries are of the left wing statist persuasion (except, I think, for Botswana and Iran.) That means that Kerala State, Cuba, the former Soviet Union, parts of China and some other parts of India are all prime candidates to hear the FOSS message.

Russia is rising again, China and India are growing, Cuba and Venezuela are starting to change. Stallman may irritate the hell out of me at times, but his approach is spot on. When the grown ups are locked into the monopoly, preach to the kids.

The "C" word may frighten - oh, maybe 50 million Americans - but not two billion people in BRIC. What they and their governments want to know is how they can get better lives in future. One key to that is not having to pay rich people in developed countries a tax on what is essentially a commodity. Computer technology is not neutral. Spread widely, it benefits ordinary people regardless of political persuasion. Stallmann is right to spread that message.

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