Cuba Uses Linux To Stick It To The US

from the take-that-evil-capitalist-pigs dept

It looks like Fidel Castro's plan to build a Cuban software industry has paid off, somewhat: the country has announced that it's launched its own variant of Linux. The goal is to replace the Microsoft operating systems that runs most of Cuba's computers, because the government sees Windows as a security threat. Insert your own punchline there, but for Cuba, it's because it believes US authorities have access to Microsoft code, and can therefore spy on Cuba through it. That's debatable, but so is the claim from the dean of the School of Free Software at Cuba's University of Information Sciences, who says the "black holes and malicious codes" in proprietary software "doesn't happen with free software." While open-source projects often offer better security than proprietary platforms, open-source or "free" software isn't inherently more secure. But somehow it seems ideology is probably more important than facts here.
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Filed Under: cuba, linux

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  1. identicon
    Rich Kulawiec, 13 Feb 2009 @ 12:41pm

    Of course, they're quite correct

    It is, as a practical matter, impossible to properly secure any Microsoft Windows system. Even Microsoft acknowledges this, in its own recommedations for (a) the band-aid of frequent patching (b) the band-aid of a firewall (c) the band-aid of anti-virus (d) the band-aid of anti-spyware, etc.

    Compare and contrast with OpenBSD, for example, which is readily deployed on the open Internet without any of these things, and is vastly more resistant to attack.

    There's a reason why nearly all of the 100M+ zombies out there are running Windows, and it is not -- contrary to the delusions of Microsoft fanboys -- because Windows is popular. It's because it's pitifully weak, which is no doubt also why Windows system are routinely compromised in large numbers via software written by children.

    So yes, open-source software IS more secure, both because it facilitates peer review (any software which does not should be classified as "snake oil", just as any drug which does not should be) and because the results as proven in the field over the past thirty years indicate that it clearly outperforms closed-source software by a wide margin.

    Case in point: last time a significant fraction of the Internet-connected hosts running an open-source operating system were hijacked by malware: November 3, 1988. Last time a significant fraction of the Internet-connected hosts running a closed-source operating system were hijacked by malware: rignt now.

    It really does concern me that it seems necessary to reiterate this point to the inexperienced members of the audience. Surely it can't be asking too much for them to review the brief history of the Internet vis-a-vis security before parroting the primitive and obsolete concepts of the software equivalent of the flat-earthers?

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