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The Cuban government has found another way to thumb its nose at the US, its bullyboy neighbour - opt for open source and throw its Microsoft software in the dustbin.

According to the Associated Press, Cuban ministers believe their national security depends on ditching Microsoft because its software could be made with backdoors built in for the US military and intelligence services.

Brazil, China, and Venezuela have already embraced open source, while academics allied to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a spiritual home of the free software movement, have produced an open source alternative to the Wintel computer for sale to African countries.

When Bill Gates, emperor of Microsoft, criticised the open source movement last year for being a bunch of communists he sort of missed the point.

The whole point of open source was its ideology, its ability to grant its user "technological sovereignty", Hector Rodriguez, head of a 1,000-strong university department of opensource programmers, told AP. ®

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