Nova (operating system)


Nova 4.0
Developer University of Information Science
OS family Linux
Working state Discontinued
Source model Open source
Initial release February 2009
Latest release 5.0 (2015) / March 22, 2013
Available in Multilingual
Platforms IA-32, x86-64
Kernel type Monolithic (Linux)
License GNU GPL
Succeeded by newVA 5.0
Official website

Nova was a Cuban state-sponsored Linux distribution launched in February 2009.[1][2] It was being developed in Havana at the University of Information Science (UCI) by students and professors to provide free and open-source software (FOSS) to inexperienced users and Cuban institutions. While the initial version was Gentoo-based, the developers switched to Ubuntu beginning with Version 2.1[3]

In May 2016 discussions about a new version 5.0 were underway.[4] However, by 2016 Distrowatch indicated that Nova had been discontinued.[5] and its website, had been taken down.

Goal and adoption

The goal of Nova was to achieve "sovereignty and technological independence"[3] and to have it installed on all computers in Cuba where Microsoft Windows still is the most widely used operating system.[6][7] The system was central to the Cuban government's desire to replace Windows.[1] Hector Rodriguez, Director of UCI, said that "[t]he free software movement is closer to the ideology of the Cuban people, above all for the independence and sovereignty."[6] Other cited reasons to develop the system include the United States embargo against Cuba which made it hard for Cubans to buy and update Windows, as well as potential security issues feared by the Cuban government because of the U.S. government's access to Microsoft's source code.[1][7]

Cuba was planning to convert to Nova as its main operating system; once the migration is complete it was intended to be installed in 90% of all work places.[8][9] In early 2011 the UCI announced that they would migrate more than 8,000 computers to the new operating system.[10] Beginning in 2011, new computers were intended to come installed with both Windows and Nova.[9]


The first version of Nova, called Baire, was based on Gentoo Linux, while Nova 2.1 Desktop Edition was based on Ubuntu.[1][11] Nova Escritorio is UCI's office suite meant to replace Microsoft Office.[9]


The developers were working on Version 5.0 aka "Nova 2015", which was meant to be a major update.[12]

Version Codename Date
Old version, no longer supported: 1.1.2 Baire 20 February 2009
Old version, no longer supported: 2.0 2 December 2009
Old version, no longer supported: 2.1 4 June 2010
Old version, no longer supported: 2011-beta3 12 February 2011
Old version, no longer supported: 3.0 (2011) 2011
Old version, no longer supported: 4.0 (2013) 22 March 2013
Current stable version: 5.0 (2015) 22 March 2015
Old version
Older version, still supported
Latest version
Latest preview version
Future release

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 Israel, Esteban (11 February 2009). "Cuba launches own Linux variant to counter U.S.". Reuters. Retrieved 24 May 2011.
  2. Timothy Prickett Morgan (12 February 2009). "Cuba crafts extra-communist Linux distro: Down with the Microsoft bourgeoisie". The Register. Retrieved 24 May 2011.
  3. 1 2 "Who are we?". Nova — Distribución Cubana de GNU/Linux. n.d. Retrieved 24 May 2011.
  4. UCI. "Se ultiman detalles para migración a Nova 5.0 en la UCI". Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  5. DistroWatch. "Nova". Retrieved 13 May 2016.
  6. 1 2 Connors, Devin (17 February 2009). "Cuba Declares War on Windows: The land of Castro has gone open source". Tom's Hardware. Retrieved 24 May 2011.
  7. 1 2 Brown, Eric. "Cuba launches Gentoo Linux distro". Retrieved 24 May 2011.
  8. "Cuba sets to migrate to free, open-source software". Xinhua News Agency. 29 December 1010. Retrieved 24 May 2011.
  9. 1 2 3 "Cuba presents Linux-based operating system". Cuba Standard. 10 February 2011. Retrieved 24 May 2011.
  10. "Cuba: 8000 computadoras de la Universidad de Ciencias Informáticas migraran a Nova GNU/Linux" (in Spanish). Somos Libres. 11 February 2011. Retrieved 24 May 2011.
  11. "Productos" (in Spanish). Nova — Distribución Cubana de GNU/Linux. n.d. Retrieved 24 May 2011.
  12. El nuevo shell de Nova Escritorio ya se encuentra en desarrollo,
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