Cuba: Progress with GNU/Linux

In 2009, Cuba set a goal of independence in IT by 2011. Let’s see how they are doing…

  • 2009-02-24 20% of PCs run GNU/Linux – Goal is 50% within 5 years
  • NovaLinux, designed by University of Havana is working on its third release.
  • In February, 2011, it was announced that 8000 PCs at the University of Computer Science in Cuba will migrate to GNU/Linux and that all PCs assembled in Cuba will have GNU/Linux.
  • According to RoyalPingdom, Cuba has the lowest utilization rate of “7” in the world.

It’s a small step but it will not only facilitate independence from M$ but also will sidestep the US embargo on just about everything. Many countries would be better off to ban M$ doing business in their jurisdictions.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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48 Responses to Cuba: Progress with GNU/Linux

  1. ch says:


    This might be of interest for you:

  2. oiaohm says:

    Clarence Moon it part the story.

    The story here is infact MS start of criminal actions.

    Reason DR-Dos would not work with Windows 3.1 or 3.11 was in fact that both would directly load a file called msdos.sys. This allowed Windows 3.1 and 3.11 to by pass dos. But also meant they were 100 percent dependent on MS Dos or a very close blood relation as it would then directly interface with addresses.

    It did seam unfair to me at the time. Since it also failed to run in a program called dosemu. Yep dos running under Freebsd at the time.

    Windows 3.1 and 3.11 cannot run on MS dos 7.x that was under 9x either. I remember having to boot between the two and hoping not to have a file copy error.

    A lot of people at the time did not see the problem of the MS dos binding. A few of us did.

  3. Phenom says:

    Having used OS/2 through 2.x – 4 Warp, I’d second all the problems with that OS you guys mention.

    There was another serious issue, too. OS/2 lacked any good IDE. IBM charged serious amount of money for their SDK, which made it unaccessible to enthusiasts. Borland C++ for OS/2 came a bit too late, and Watcom C++ was a good compiler, but so what…

    While on Windows you already had things like VB and Delphi, on top of MS VC++ and Borland Pascal 7 and C++.

    “Developers, developers, developers, developers!”

  4. Clarence Moon says:

    “So long as you did not mind spending …”

    That evokes even more memories, Oldman! That Windows product that I mentioned above migrated into an OS/2 product on IBM’s industrial PC hardware, called “The Gear Box” which was an AT with industrial style mounting in a panel enclosure and big screw terminals and such so that you could control industrial equipment like a programmable controller (which is what we called a “PC” back in the 80s :-))

    The thing got damned expensive due to RAM costing some $1/K due to manufacturing problems in Japan’s memory factories. OS/2 originally was $1200 as I remember, too. Then there was the cost of the hardware. An industrial version of the PC started around $7000 and the Gear Box was more than double that. We sold a few systems, but we paid IBM more money than we were making. I think I could have gotten a higher commission on just the hardware from them than I got from my company for the whole system.

  5. Clarence Moon says:

    “that silly message in the Win3.1 beta (IIRC) that it could not run on DR-DOS.”

    Wow! That brings back a lot of memories! My first product management job was with a product that originally used Novell Netware peer-to-peer networking and a crude DOS “graphic” display for factory floor control. We were working on a Windows 3.1 version of that product, our first with a GUI, and we were in the beta program with Microsoft. Back then, it wasn’t just a matter of downloading a test release from the internet. You had to qualify face to face with the Microsoft guys and there was a program manger who called periodically to check in on you. You had to have some serious business going, too, and every Tom, Dick, and Harry could not just get a copy of the beta.

    Novell had just purchased DR-DOS, as I remember, and they were offering a free copy of DR-DOS with each copy of Netware. I had the engineers test our stuff with the freebie DR-DOS since that would save us a $100 or so on the overall product costs if it was a viable solution. At some point, we did run into the test message when we tried to install Windows on top of DR-DOS.

    Looking it up, I found:

    which is pretty much the story that I remember. We contacted Microsoft who said that they were only guaranteeing that Windows 3.1 worked with MS-DOS or PC-DOS and that was just a test to make sure that one or the other was being used. We had to use MS-DOS to be in the beta program anyway, so I dropped the idea of using DR-DOS. Later, when Windows For Workgroups came out, we dropped Novell Netware as well and went to using the Microsoft networking.

    At the time, that seemed reasonable to me since Windows was Microsoft’s product and they had every right to tie it to DOS. Now days that is called “abuse”, but it didn’t seem to me to be unfair back then.

  6. oldman says:

    “GNU/Linux was quite adequate for most computing purposes by 1995.”

    Now THAT is opinion Robert Pogson. IN 1995, Linux was considered as a toy for experimenters by most of the *nix crowd that would have been predisposed to using it. We won’t even talk about business IT.

    I actually used OS/2 from version 1.x through Warp (3.x). It was a rock solid OS that when paired with 386 technology have fantastic performance… So long as you did not mind spending $200.00-$500.00 (for the communicatio9ins manager version) for the OS and at lease $4000.00 for the workstation to run ( I ran on a PS/2 Model 80-111 w. 8Meg of ram and ended with an pentium 90 w. 32Mb for RAM. I even had OS/2 native versions of Word Excel and Micrografx designer. The DOS emulation was so good that I was able to run a the DOS based backup program that came with an 120Mb everex tape drive successfully to back up data.

    The reality is that IBM shot itself in the foot repeatedly. It made no effort to lower the cost of the OS or to make a version that you run on what passed at the time as a “small cheap computer” It didnt really do all that much to help its developers, Even after microsoft came out with windows 95. And it stuck steadfastly with the windows 3x UI even after it became obvious that Microsofts “toy” OS windows 9x was taking the market over and winning the developers as well.

    It didnt take long after win32 applications were shipping before anyone who was using OS/2 to see the handwriting on the wall and move (albeit reluctantly) to windows 9x.

  7. In 1995, FUZZ testing showed “The failure rate of the utilities on the freely-distributed Linux version of UNIX was second-lowest, at 9%.”

    About the same time, that other OS had 100% failure rate.

    “Linux had a significantly lower Abort failure rate in eight out of 12 functional grouping.” Linux was the standard against which that other OS was tested.

    In 2000, testing NT, supposedly superior to Lose ‘9x:
    “â–¡ Up to 100% of the applications that we tested failed (crashed or hung) when presented with completely random input streams.
    â–¡ We noted (as a result of our completely random input testing) that applications running on Windows platforms
    are vulnerable to random input streams from any other application running on the same system”

    So, while that other OS was shipping full of bugs and having no security whatsoever, GNU/Linux was based on sound principles.

  8. ch says:

    “There are lots of opinion that OS/2 did not “suck”.”

    There’s a reason I specifically referenced version 2.0: That was the first IBM-only (and 32-bit) version, and it was seriously buggy and DOS compatibility was bad. Later versions fixed that, but the first version really wasn’t much competition.

    “It had a lot of features similar to that other OS, probably because M$ helped develop it.”

    OS/2 started life as the next DOS version (4.0), but IBM wanted so much different stuff in it (multitasking, protected mode etc.) that it became a separate OS co-developed by MS and IBM, and the later released DOS 4.0 had nothing to do with it. I somewhat liked OS/2 1.x, but with rudimentary DOS compatibilty and almost no native apps it went nowhere. OS/2 2.0 and later was much better at running DOS apps (although some niggles remained) and it featured WinOS2: a Windows 3.x version tweaked to run on top of OS/2, so you could run Win16 apps on it.

    “GNU/Linux was quite adequate for most computing purposes by 1995.”

    Sorry, but I tried it out at the time, and it wasn’t. Installation was “interesting”, driver support much more restricted than today, and good apps were sorely lacking. It was best used as an X-terminal or a cheap Unix workstation, but not for a general-purpose PC.

  9. Clarence Moon, apologist for M$, wrote, “Microsoft’s requirements for OEMs was merely intended to make sure that users had the same experiences with Windows no matter which brand of computer was purchased.”

    M$ made many choices that had absolutely nothing to do with satisfying customers and everything to do with excluding competition. e.g. charging a licensing fee per PC regardless of shipped OS or requiring only that other OS be shipped.

  10. By 1995, Dell and HP were totally dependent on M$ for sustenance. If they had started with a new OS they would have had zero applications available. Remember the apps. In those days they were all DOS-based and M$ had made sure no other DOS would run them but their own.

    The world is quite different now and businesses are beavering away at creating web applications partly in order to centralize IT but also to eliminate the vendor lock-in.

  11. ch wrote, “OS/2 2.0 sucked”

    You call that “evidence”? I call that opinion. There are lots of opinion that OS/2 did not “suck”. It had a lot of features similar to that other OS, probably because M$ helped develop it. No, the monopoly was the only thing OS/2 lacked.

    GNU/Linux was quite adequate for most computing purposes by 1995. By 1999 when IBM got on board, GNU/Linux was perfectly adequate for all but the most sadly locked-in. I was using GNU/Linux in 2000 and it certainly worked wonderfully better than MacOS or Lose ‘9x which were current. I was using it on old machines and it was much more solid than the newer machines in the building which ran either MacOS or that other OS.

  12. ch says:


    A lot of it was blown up later, but MS did employ some hard tactics: That business with preventing some German chain to sell computers with Windows or OS/2 comes to mind. Or screwing Stac Electronics (-> doublespace), or that silly message in the Win3.1 beta (IIRC) that it could not run on DR-DOS.

  13. ch says:

    “That’s a claim not in evidence.”

    Let’s look at the competition of the time:
    Other theoretically viable OSes were:
    – DR: GEM was rapidly going nowhere, DR-DOS was dead with Win95.
    – IBM: OS/2 2.0 sucked, later versions just were not attractive enough for most buyers. (OS/2 needed almost as much memeory as NT but was less capable, and as a DOS replacement for running Win16 apps it had some issues, and Win16 was dead with Win95.)
    – Linux: Not even in the running before 2000.
    – SCO Unix: Really expensive. Few apps.

    – As I said before, Lotus and WP botched their first Windows versions and never recovered.
    – Ashton-Tate released dBase IV. Enough said.
    – Borland came too late.

    So what other outcome would have been likely in your opinion?

  14. NT JERKFACE says:

    Once the base of applications for their OS on x86 was secured, they could require anyone in the supply chain to dance M$’s tune.

    Nothing ever stopped Dell or HP from pulling an Apple and making their own desktop Nix.

    That’s what is often ignored in all the conspiracy talk. These are billion dollar companies with billions in the bank. IBM botched OS/2, Sun blew their savings on open source and there are a dozen other companies that could have invested in a proprietary OS with cash on hand. Do you realize how much cash Cisco has? Apple was actually in one of the worst positions to make that type of investment but took the risk anyways. Apple took the risk and reaped the rewards. Did you know that Dell begged Apple to release OS/X as an OEM OS? Why didn’t Dell invest some cash in his own? Most tech companies have been ran by bean counters and that isn’t the fault of MS.

    Big corps don’t care enough to spend cash on serious competitors so why get mad at MS?

  15. Clarence Moon says:

    “I see M$ failing miserably to acquire monopoly on its own”

    Imagine the hardship had they managed to succeed!

  16. Clarence Moon says:

    “It’s the only explanation I have for their hardball tactics ”

    I don’t think that the Microsoft policies of the time were truly “hardball tactics”. Many books and product marketing course have stressed the need to maintain a certain purity in one’s product image. Microsoft’s requirements for OEMs was merely intended to make sure that users had the same experiences with Windows no matter which brand of computer was purchased.

    If you wanted to play on Microsoft’s field with Microsoft’s ball, though, you had to follow Microsoft’s rules which were drawn up to standardize Microsoft’s game. An OEM could make a lot of money playing in that game and most have been satisfied with just that.

    The courts later decided that such a policy was anti competitive if the size of the game reached a certain level and so Microsoft had to make some policy adjustments. With those changes to some of the rules, the game is still being widely played today. There were other rule changes introduced in other venues, too, for example the European League has some rules of its own involving browsers and mp3 player apps.

  17. Clarence Moon says:

    “In a nutshell there is no innovation there; just marketing and hype.”

    Do you not think that it is possible to be innovative with marketing and hype itself? Does innovation have to be limited to bits and bytes of code?

    People use the MacDonald’s analogy a lot to throw stones at Microsoft’s lack of sophistication, but it fits their commercial success equally well. Something else may be technically superior under gourmet criteria than a Big Mac, but it does not bring home the bacon as well and is not sampled by anywhere near as many people.

    There are big niches and small niches and Microsoft is the master of a very big niche. “GNU/Linux” is in a very small niche. Android is in a very large niche, but it gets essentially zero price realization on a unit volume basis and is, therefore, not very interesting as a business proposition.

  18. ch wrote, “It’s the only explanation I have for their hardball tactics which – as we know in hindsight – weren’t really necessary.”

    That’s a claim not in evidence. I see M$ failing miserably to acquire monopoly on its own. It needed the impetus of IBM’s PC to gain monopoly in personal IT. Once the base of applications for their OS on x86 was secured, they could require anyone in the supply chain to dance M$’s tune. As a result, M$ has no monopoly on any other aspect of IT. The database and servery is all tied to the desktop. M$’s diversification will permit them to survive indefinitely but never again to dominate any market as a monopolist. Their share of the desktop is constantly declining by their own numbers if not NetApplications’. That share could conceivably fall as low as 25% eventually, just leaving the truly locked-in as their slaves. OEMs will soon be free of M$ or in the case of those dependent on Wintel, die. OEMs must diversify to survive, too. So will retailers.

  19. oiaohm says:

    Ch AppleWorks if you like it or not is officially the first Office suite.

    It contained word processing, spreedsheet, presentation and database. Yes the 4 items required to officially a office suite.

    This is the problem AppleWorks is officially the first but it was restricted to apple computers only lead to its defeat. Destroyed by the lower cost of PC machines. Not by functionality.

    The idea of a office suite was old by the year 1990.

    MS Office was not the only office suit to release in the year 1990. Breadbox Office.

    WPS Office is 1988 that today is know as kingsoft Office.

    SoftMaker Office was 1989.

    Lets be simple here MS not first with the office suite idea it was jumping up all over the place at the time MS Office appears. I can bring more of the projects that failed. 1988 was the year Office suites started popping up named Office. Ever since Office suites have ended in Office has become common.

    Basically ch if you see MS Office as some new idea you have not read the history. MS Office is just the most successful out of the programs called Office for many reasons some very illegal.

  20. ch says:

    Of course you’re right, but Pogson’s allegations were just too hillarious to ignore. IMHO, the main reasons for MS’s success are:

    – They never made a BIG mistake (and took most significant opportunities when they came along). By BIG mistakes I mean stuff like DR botching the CP/M deal with IBM, Netscape’s decision to completely rewrite Navigator from scratch or WP’s and Lotus’ decisions to do Windows versions of their main products with a kind of DOS-sy interface.

    (I have the impression that all along the 1990ies, BG was looking over his shoulder: “It’s just not possible that ALL of the competition screws up! Someone MUST be coming after us!” It’s the only explanation I have for their hardball tactics which – as we know in hindsight – weren’t really necessary.)

    – Backward compatibility.

    – They don’t aim for purely technical brilliance, they aim for the mass market where “good enough” plus easy-to-use at a good price is what most customers want.

    – Backward compatibility.

    – They produce plattforms, and they understand what a plattform is and what it needs (“Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers!”, indeed). I have to admit that the idea of not just the OS and SQL Server but even Office, VS and the good ol’ FS beeing turned into plattforms still amazes me.

    – By now, MS is so diversified that no single product failing could bring them down.

    – Backward compatibility.

    – And the most important point: They do corporate IT. Essentially, they produce a highly-integrated and (mostly) easy-to-use complete infrastructure covering OS (client and server), office apps, communication and collaboration (Exchange, Sharepoint) and in-house development (VS, SQL Server, IIS). And they listen to their big customers (that’s why the MSO file formats don’t change as frequently anymore as they did way back when: One old format for 1997 to 2003 that newer versions understand, one new format for 2007 and 2010 that 2003 can handle.) That’s why most businesses and other organisations use MS stuff, and that’s the big money for MS. The small change from home users is just icing on the cake. (Most home stuff is just a byproduct of the corporate stuff.)

    – Oh, and did I mention backward compatibility?

    – Their main weakness IMHO is their complacency once they comfortably rule a market, like they did with IE (stopping development when IE6 was at 90%), Windows (taking forever to roll out Vista), Office (few improvements in 1997-2003, then taking four years for 2007 – which at least was a huge improvement) and partly WM.

    – A minor weakness is MS’s almost non-existing marketing: No counter to the overblown slamming of Vista, baddest possible reaction to the iPhone (“Yes, we know our current product is shite, so just stop buying it. Oh, our new and improved product will be out sometime next year or so.”), and nobody is bringing the messge out regarding WP7 (there is actually a good idea behind it, but almost nobody is informed about it).

  21. ch says:


    Ok, so that ages-old ftp client still includes BSD code ? Maybe, but that doesn’t mean that XP “use[s] BSD UNIX for networking”. BTW, “networking” in Windows includes a bit more than TCP/IP, and the most important heritage here is LAN Manager.

    Word an imitation of WP ? Sorry, but you must be joking, or – more likely – you never used the DOS versions (or even the early Windows versions) of them. The original DOS versions had completely different UIs. The early versions of WP for Windows tried to retain as much of the DOS version’s UI as possible, which made it extremely hard to use. (Lotus 1-2-3 made the same mistake, with the same result). Word for Windows (and Excel) were real GUI programs from the start and thus much easier to use, yet still powerful. Customers loved that, and they sold like hotcakes while both WP and 1-2-3 faded into insignificence. (And of course Word and Excel went to some pains to make it easy for WP and 1-2-3 users to switch – that’s what you better do when you’re Nr. 2 in the market, as Word and Excel were before.)

    Re. DOS: Yes, it had a command line. Yes, Unix has a command line. BTW, other OSes had a CLI before. Does that make all of them imitations of one another ? Hardly. “It certainly had the look and feel of a UNIX OS which had been around for decades.” Seems that you didn’t have any actual Unix experience.

    DOS was never designed to be a multi-tasking, multi-user OS (reasonably since it was to run on a machine with just an 8088 and KBs of memory that wasn’t even networked). It was created as a replacement for CP/M-86 which DR at the time just couldn’t get out of the door, which was worrying IBM. (CP/M was the OS standard on early, 8080- and Z80-based PCs. There was even an 8080-card for the Apple II so it could run CP/M as well. So IBM really wanted CP/M-86 for their PC but DR botched the deal.) BTW, our beloved drive letters and the BIOS concept are CP/M heritage.
    Stuff you might want to read:

    No, DOS itself never had ipconfig, ftp or telnet.
    (And ipconfig and AFAIK help and edit are not Unix commands while DOS never had shutdown – the reason should be obvious. And the two find commands in DOS and Unix do rather different things. And the difference between ipconfig and ifconfig is significant.) The commands of DOS itself have often different names than the Unix commands (del vs. rm etc.), and the parameter indicator is typically the slash “/” instead of the dash “-” because that’s how CP/M worked. (Try in Linux: “cd /?”) Oh, and the shell doesn’t resolve wildcards (“*”) into filenames like Unix shells, that’s done by the individual programs – the single point where DOS does it better than Unix.

    No, the early MS SQL Server was NOT a COPY of Sybase – it WAS Sybase. Today it is MS’s own implementation but AFAIK still compatible to Sybase.

    “Never bring a knife to a gun-fight.”
    Good advice – why don’t you heed it ?

  22. ch says:

    Sorry, but neither AppleWorks nor MS Works was ever an Office suite, they were absolutely home-user stuff. The new thing about MSO at the time was that it contained the bestsellers Word and Excel plus the not-so-great Powerpoint for the price of just Word and Excel. Thus began the decline of Office SW prices. (The first version of MSO was really not more than a bundle of different pieces, but by version 6 it was truely integrated.)

  23. Andrew says:

    The post from Clarence touches on some of the behaviour concerning most propriety software.

    “Microsoft simply took things that existed…”
    “Apple did much the same thing…”
    “Microsoft has essentially purchased whatever technology they saw as salable…”

    In a nutshell there is no innovation there; just marketing and hype.

    “That lack of overall planning is what has contributed to the hodge-podge of conflicting functionality and opportunity for malware.” Valentine(MSFT department head) said in an interview, security was never a concern at microsoft.

  24. Clarence Moon says:

    I think you are missing the essential element of Microsoft’s business strategy by focusing on such unimportant minutiae as the technical hair-splitting that you all reference. I am sure that you are all very nearly, if not exactly, correct in your assessments of who had what and when.

    The important part, though, is who sold the most to the mass market. Microsoft simply took things that existed, figured out what was immediately useful, and went about convincing end users to think they wanted to buy it. Apple did much the same thing on a much more vertically integrated scale, adding hardware to complete the mix.

    At every step along the way, Microsoft has essentially purchased whatever technology they saw as salable at the time. They went to a GUI when people wanted a GUI. They added networking when people developed a need for networking. They bought the rights to sell Sybase as SQL Server when people with Windows servers were looking for a low-cost database.

    Microsoft isn’t bringing anything to any sort of fight, they are selling tickets to a major sporting event. The notion that Microsoft is abusively forcing customers down some road is totally incorrect. They owe their success to pandering to each and every popular whim that arose in their mass market. That lack of overall planning is what has contributed to the hodge-podge of conflicting functionality and opportunity for malware.

  25. XP, a very popular and current release of that other OS uses the BSD network stack.

    IE and Netscape both evolved from Mosaic.

    I stand corrected. M$’s word-processing application was an imitation of WordPerfect. In 1993, M$ even renumbered their version to match WP. WP had started before Word and in the early 1990s was far more popular than word. Word was designed to import WP files. WP gained popularity even after Word was released and M$ had to use its monopoly to kill WP. While M$ encouraged ISVs to make software for that other OS, WP was too popular.

    Both IIS and Apache copied from NCSA httpd. IIS6 still used the log-file format of NCSA.

    DOS commands: cd, exit, find, fdisk, edit, hostname, for, ftp, help, if, ipconfig, route, mkdir, netstat, nslookup, rmdir, path, ping, shutdown, sort, telnet, time, print, tracert, … I used DOS in the old days. It certainly had the look and feel of a UNIX OS which had been around for decades.

    Is not cp a b making b a copy of a? If MSSQL started as SyBase, it was a perfect copy of SyBase.


    Never bring a knife to a gun-fight.

  26. oiaohm says:

    “When MS delivered the first Office package, WordPerfect was only the word processor. MS invented the Office package.”
    No please do not give false credit. The first integrated office suite is AppleWorks 1984. MS Office first release in 1990 on MS platforms. 1989 on Mac. MS first cloned this as MS Works before redoing as MS Office.

    “IE was an imitation of Netscape.” That is by MS own documents. MS wanted to acquire Netscape failed so worked out how to make clone using spyglass and end up not paying spyglass.

    Its also strange that some of the networking error owning to BSD networking stack keep on turning up in Windows.

  27. ch says:

    “M$ used BSD UNIX for networking because their own stuff was too pathetic.”

    To be more precise, decades ago MS used the TCP/IP stack of BSD (which is the reference implenmentation), but they have long since replaced it by their own.

    “IE was an imitation of Netscape.”


    “Office was an imitation of WordPerfect.”

    When MS delivered the first Office package, WordPerfect was only the word processor. MS invented the Office package. And MS Word was definitely NOT a copy of WordPerfect in any way whatsoever.

    “IIS was an imitation of Apache.”

    Both are web servers, but I am not aware of any more similarity between them. Can you enlighten me ?

    “DOS, itself was a pale imitation of UNIX.”

    Absolutely not, it started out as a copy of CP/M and quickly grew more capable. However, you might look up Xenix.

    “MSSQL was a copy of SyBase.”

    Wrong again, the early versions of MS SQL Server actually WERE licensed from SyBase and ported to OS/2 and then Win NT by MS. Later on, the DB engine in MS’s version was completely rewritten.

    Nonetheless: Happy new year, everybody!

  28. oiaohm says:

    NT JERKFACE really funny that some countries can operate without MS Windows at all.

    Remove every copy of Windows the economy might collapse.

    Remove every copy of Linux it down right will. Reason Removing Linux removes every major share market and money exchange system around the world.

    Basically Linux has the foundations of the bridge. Mind you remove every bolt from the syndey harbour bridge and nothing nothing happens. Reason it held up by rivets not bolts.

    Same with trestle bridges there are some around the world that are rivets not bolts holding them up.

    Unix companies were on the ropes before Linux turned up. They were normally only called usable after gnu software had been installed. By 1990 GNU had replaced everything bar the kernel in most Unix’s with more functional parts.

    Windows and Linux are like bolts vs rivets both can do each other job mostly but they are not a perfect replacement to each other.

    If all you had was rivets you can assemble a trestle bridge but its more of a pain to repair. Rivets don’t come lose due to earthquakes. Both techs diffeent advantages different reasons for using them.

    Trestle bridges are basically never done by bolts in Australia they are rivets. Really NT JERKFACE example is a perfect example of the fake reality MS users live in.

  29. Kozmcrae says:

    “If you removed every copy of Windows the economy would collapse. WINDOWS wins.”

    Not if you are talking desktop OS. People will just migrate to GNU/Linux or Apple. There are real choices.

    The Internet isn’t dependent on Windows, it is on FLOSS. Too many systems now rely on the Internet, so while no bridges would fall down many other important systems would. FLOSS wins.

    JERKFACE loses.

    “The are massive areas of the software world where there is no FLOSS solution and there won’t be for a thousand years.”

    I’ll just let that statement speak for itself.

  30. NT JERKFACE says:

    There are enough thriving ones to make FLOSS so tied in to the World’s infrastructure that without it, it would collapse. FLOSS wins.

    If you removed every copy of Windows the economy would collapse. WINDOWS wins.

    If you removed every bolt from every trestle bridges all over the world would collapse. BOLTS win.

    The world could have gotten along fine without Linux. It just would have meant that proprietary Unix companies would have stayed in business. The are massive areas of the software world where there is no FLOSS solution and there won’t be for a thousand years. There aren’t enough developers for The Gimp let alone commercial trucking tracking software. But please keep repeating your mantra like a mindless sports fan.

  31. Netscape also copied Mosaic… Two copies of the same thing are bad copies but they are still copies.

  32. gewg_ says:

    @Pogson IE was an of Netscape.
    Uh, no. Andreessen’s Mosaic was licensed to Spyglass, Inc. who, in turn, licensed it to M$ (and got screwed in the process, of course).
    Internet Exploder development under M$ also did everything possible to *break* compatibility with Netscape.
    To this day, M$IE is the outlier among browsers.
    Netscape was a fresh start for Andreessen (after having learned what NOT to do).
    I don’t think “imitation” is apt.

    The other follow-the-leader memes you noted are valid, AFAIK.

    DOS, itself was a pale imitation of UNIX.
    Start with the 2-bit (literally and figuratively) “permissions” that DOS has.
    For another 7 bits per file, M$ could have had what OS developers had long known was necessary.
    …then there’s the *fragmentation* thing with M$’s pathetic filesystems.

  33. Kozmcrae says:

    “I can cite numerous projects that might as well be dead since the developers lost interest and moved onto something else.”

    So can I. In fact, there may be more dead projects than live ones. What does that tell us? It tells us that FLOSS is not a company, entity or organization so you cannot apply the same constraints to it as you can to a company, entity or organization. It doesn’t matter how many dead projects there are. There are enough thriving ones to make FLOSS so tied in to the World’s infrastructure that without it, it would collapse. FLOSS wins.

  34. I have a naughty-words filter. It’s empty currently.

    I think RMS’s plan to free the world of IT has succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. In the beginning it was a personal crusade against a printer driver, then it was the GNU system, an alternative to UNIX OS, and then Linux happened, making all that came before a flash in the pan. Now we have Android/Linux and whatever you may think of it, it’s FLOSS and wildly successful. There is hardly any part of IT untouched by RMS one way or another.

    What clearly makes no sense is to have one company/entity run everything. That doesn’t work. It’s been tried and failed every time. FLOSS is so diverse and flexible, I am sure it will continue to succeed. There’s no single point of failure like M$’s OS. With more ARMed things running Linux than that other OS in installed base and annual shipments, it’s only a matter of time before M$ is cut down to size. They can have a share of IT if they work for it but the world does not owe them a living.

  35. NT JERKFACE says:

    Did my post not show up because I used the f word? Whatever.

    FLOSS can’t be killed but it can stagnate and be effectively dead. I can cite numerous projects that might as well be dead since the developers lost interest and moved onto something else. I got a Nook Tablet from Santa and it sure doesn’t feel like a “win” for FLOSS. It’s far more locked down than Windows and no one would notice if the kernel was swapped for something else. If anything has lost it is Stallman’s plans for open source everywhere. Hybrid and proprietary business models make more sense.

  36. Kozmcrae says:

    “As to the rest, in the PC world, the open source products have often been behind the times due to having to copy what some proprietary product company has provided and shown to be attractive to buyers”

    Clarence you loon, you are as blind as a bat. Look at what you are doing right now at this very second. You are using the Internet, the biggest open source project ever. Did Microsoft pre-date that? Hell no. Bill Gates was betting his company on products like the Encarta CD. He missed the boat entirely. Then he tried the old “Embrace, Extend, Extinguish” move but failed because the Internet was already too big by then (1995).

    Sure Microsoft started out small, what company doesn’t? Besides, Bill had his father’s money and influence. Once he had IBM in his pocket the rest was as simple as not blowing it like Gary Kildall did.

    Your opinion on the originality of open source products is just that, an opinion. Open source is just as likely to originate an idea as a proprietary company is and is more than likely to improve on an existing one. “Open Source is not a company or a product, it is a licensing and development paradigm that helps respect nation’s autonomy and self determination. []”

    I borrowed that quote from TechRights because I don’t see how it can be improved upon. It says it all. A company can die. You can’t kill an idea. FLOSS wins.

  37. Clarence Moon wrote, “The courts have also ruled that the antitrust violations noted in the US trial ten years ago played no part in creating or even maintaining Microsoft’s market success.”

    That just proves that some courts are run by idiots. US DOJ v M$ clearly demonstrated that M$ used illegal tactics to strengthen the monopoly, forcing other businesses to do what was not in their best interests. I repeat, “Why did M$ insist on exclusive dealing?” if they were open to the competition in the market. They were a house of cards that could only take a share of the market without the monopoly granted by IBM. They would have been kicked to the curb when the waves of malware hit if the OEMs and retailers were not an exclusive club run by M$.

  38. Clarence Moon wrote, “As to the rest, in the PC world, the open source products have often been behind the times due to having to copy what some proprietary product company has provided and shown to be attractive to buyers”

    There are examples, like StarOffice, that were intended to fill the form and function of non-Free software but there are many others that are original conceived and executed by authours of FLOSS. Further, non-FREE software also imitates other successful products. M$ used BSD UNIX for networking because their own stuff was too pathetic. IE was an imitation of Netscape. Office was an imitation of WordPerfect. IIS was an imitation of Apache. DOS, itself was a pale imitation of UNIX. MSSQL was a copy of SyBase.

    Programmers are programmers. They use what works and tweak the rest. It would be rare and inefficient to try to do a whole project without reference to what is out there.

  39. Clarence Moon says:

    As to the rest, in the PC world, the open source products have often been behind the times due to having to copy what some proprietary product company has provided and shown to be attractive to buyers. However, many such products have matured to the point where there is no good reason for many people to continue to buy the proprietary product, but most people do so out of habit, with no understanding that the free product is just as useful for their purposes.

    The commercial products continue to sell well, though, because force of habit is pretty strong and there is next to no effective process for any consumer re-education as to what the free products can do. Who is going to spread the good word? Microsoft? Not very likely. Ubuntu? Who’s that?

    It seems to me that you need to already know about these products in order to know that they are useful. Even then, I do not think that many people really care. I know all about Open Office, for example, and I have downloaded it a couple of times and found that it works just fine. But I don’t really care. I get MS Office with my job and now I get Word and Excel for free with a new computer. Why should I bother with the little bit of learning necessary to change? I don’t use word processors or spreadsheets at home very often anyway.

    The same is true about Linux, only worse. The very few people building a computer from scratch might face the cost of Windows as a significant element, but just about everyone else buys a computer already built and it comes with Windows (or Macintosh). The only way to get a Linux pre-install is via online purchases and if you look at the ads for companies that offer that sort of thing, it is easy to see that you can get the same thing from Dell or HP for less money with Windows pre-installed.

    But once you obtain a Linux computer, you suddenly find that a lot of stuff is up for grabs. With me, it would be Quicken for sure. And TurboTax. And my email archives that I use as a sort of contact management list. Everyone has personal items that they cannot do without and that they fear they would lose access to with such a change.

    There has been a lot of discussion here about Munich, pro and con, but the facts are that, even with a professionally managed change over, even with a dictatorial sort of control of what people had to do, and even with detailed planning, it is still not completed. It will have taken an orderly process, in Germany at that, a decade to achieve. Even if it ever got started, it will not happen overnight in some grass roots setting.

  40. Clarence Moon says:

    “If the technology of the monopolists really had merit they would not have needed monopoly to thrive.”

    The more conventional wisdom, as underscored by the world’s courts, is that these software monopolies, Microsoft’s in particular, arose from the original triumph of the monopolists success in some emerging market. Microsoft, for example, was a very small fish in a large pond when presented with the PC-DOS opportunity.

    They were so small that they had to look up to a garage shop, Seattle Computer Products, for help in providing what IBM wanted to buy. One thing led to another and Microsoft was able to stay on that bronco over time, reaping the rewards that followed.

    The courts have also ruled that the antitrust violations noted in the US trial ten years ago played no part in creating or even maintaining Microsoft’s market success.

  41. Andrew says:“A child’s exposure to technology should never be predicated on an ability to afford it”.

    Our group of little ones at our school are no exception. They’re from different nationalities, different social make-ups, yet one thing in common: the thirst for technical knowledge and for people who can lead them in the right direction.

  42. Amen. FLOSS really does work locally for the benefit of local people. FLOSS works against the pathetic creatures who equate global monopoly with goodness. Monopoly is sometimes associated with goodness when we choose to have a single telephone company or legal entity in charge of roads or common national property but M$ and its ilk try to impose monopoly in order to maximize their profits not national objectives. Governments in particular often have a duty to do what’s best for their people, not M$ or other foreign monopolists.

    In government the simple act of preserving documents or being open with people demands FLOSS. It is folly for governments to surrender open standards to the walled gardens. Similarly education should be about preparing youth to function in society and not to be slaves to the monopolists.

    If the technology of the monopolists really had merit they would not have needed monopoly to thrive. The fact that they cannot abide competition is prima facie evidence that their technology is not the right way to do IT. The burden of proving licences/software audits, malware, and working around restrictions in the EULA are huge negatives for non-FREE software over and above the inefficiencies protected by monopoly.

  43. Andrew says:

    I’ve noticed that when national governments (Venezuela, Brasil, Bolivia, Vietnam, Germany, etc.) decide to use open source software as their first choice they’re met with visceral opposition from mainly U.S. corporations (microsoft, intel, etc.) and the OEMs (Taiwan electronic consortium), Samsung, LG, foxconn, etc.

    About half the commentors on blogs covering this type of subject are condescending, disingenuous, and insulting to say the least.

  44. Brazil is more or less self-sufficient in IT and could easily supply good stuff for Cuba’s infrastructure. No need for USR. According to the CIA, Cuba has a million land lines and a million cell phones for a population of 11 million. 1.6million people use the Internet there. I expect the number of users will increase now that the government permits people to buy/build PCs and promotes FLOSS.

  45. NT JERKFACE says:

    Well spite is one of the better reasons to not use Windows. Non-emotional reasons like cost really don’t pan out, especially when an organization like the Cuban government can bargain down Windows to piddles.

    I’m against the embargo but the Cuban economy would still be a mess even if it didn’t exist. They still hold onto the Soviet belief of trying to price control everything. Capital isn’t allowed to work which leaves the country dilapidated. The embargo is too often used as an excuse for the failure of hardline communism.

  46. gewg_ says:

    …and once you break free from the M$-only/EULA way of thinking, things become quite simple:
    LiveCD; APTonCD; rsync.
    Community and sharing is SO cool.

  47. Dr Loser says:


    Good Lord, man.

    Have you ever been to Cuba?

    It’s awfully good for underage whores and wretched old superannuated Leninists, but you have to remember that there’s been an embargo on exports from the US since 1963 or so. I’m not saying I agree with it (in fact, I don’t. It’s a disgraceful stain on US foreign policy). I’m just suggesting that US Robotics never quite made it there.

    Not that this explains the Cuban State’s desperate desire to stick it to the Man with ridiculously outdated and worthless technology, of course.

    Oh no. As oiaohm would say: “simple fact.”

  48. Ivan says:

    I bet they are all having fun downloading Gentoo at 56k speeds.

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