Software development in Cuba

Some weeks ago I was attending the Python Unconference in Hamburg. It was an amazing community event, I had a lot of fun and met many awesome people. Pablo, an Open Source enthusiast from Cuba gave a keynote about the state of software development, Open Source and the web in Cuba. In Cuba the daily life and software development is quite different to Germany or the US. There is no mobile web, there is no internet at home. There are a few exceptions given you work in health care or education, but it is not the majority. Repeat after me: no internet at home, no mobile web. The usual way you can access the internet is at work or in the university.

Even if you made it into the internet most doors will stay closed for you. Many Open Source producing companies are based in the US and the US embargo applies to them. You can’t just open the forums and wiki pages from e.g. the Fedora project, which is backed by Red Hat.

The internet itself is limited to special places and as it is so hard to obtain Open Source software, the cuban software developers usually have to meet in person to get Open Source software. Around 20 years ago we did the same in Germany as pupils, but for different reasons: internet was very expensive in those times in Germany.

The cuban developer community runs several mailing lists and websites. One of them is a wiki which contains a lot of home addresses from people that are able to share Open Source software to others, e.g. Ubuntu 14. To get the software you just visit the person listed in the wiki at their home to get a copy.

When you are born in Cuba it is also quite hard to visit conferences. Unlike us, they can’t just take a plane to other countries and attend a conference.

The talk ended with an announcement: Pablo and other members of the cuban developer community had an awesome idea. Why not make an Unconference in Cuba instead of the rich countries? They are organizing the which takes place on the 25-27th April 2016 in Havana.

I will definitely attend, so see you all in Cuba!