Nova (operating system)

Nova is a Cuban state-sponsored Linux distribution launched in February 2009.[1][2] It was 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]

Nova Linux 4.0 Screenshot (1).png
Nova 4.0
DeveloperUniversity of Information Science
OS familyLinux
Working stateActive
Source modelClosed source with some open-source components (5.0 and up)
Initial releaseFebruary 2009; 12 years ago (2009-02)
Latest release7.0 (2020) / June 20, 2020; 10 months ago (2020-06-20)
Available inMultilingual
Kernel typeMonolithic (Linux)
LicenseGNU GPL
Official website

In May 2016 discussions about a new version 6.0 were underway.[4] However, by 2016 Distrowatch had marked Nova as discontinued.[5] and its website, had been taken down. Nova re-entered development later, and version 6.0 was released in March 2018.[6]

In early 2018 its repositories and download server ( was shut down temporarily, with users being told to switch to CentOS, after which Nova resumed development a couple months later. By early 2019 the distribution website was again active and DistroWatch listed it as under active development.[5]

Goal and adoptionEdit

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 is still the most widely used operating system.[7][8] 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."[7] 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][8]

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.[9][10] In early 2011 the UCI announced that they would migrate more than 8,000 computers to the new operating system.[11] Beginning in 2011, new computers were intended to come installed with both Windows and Nova.[10]


The first version of Nova, called Baire, was based on Gentoo Linux, while Nova 2.1 Desktop Edition was based on Ubuntu.[1][12] Nova Escritorio is UCI's office suite meant to replace Microsoft Office.[10]


Version Codename Date
Old version, no longer maintained: 1.1.2 Baire 20 February 2009
Old version, no longer maintained: 2.0 2 December 2009
Old version, no longer maintained: 2.1 4 June 2010
Old version, no longer maintained: 2011-beta3 12 February 2011
Old version, no longer maintained: 3.0 (2011) 2011
Old version, no longer maintained: 4.0 (2013, long term support) 7 May 2014
Old version, no longer maintained: 5.0 (2015) 22 March 2015
Old version, no longer maintained: 5.1 (2017) 21 September 2017
Old version, no longer maintained: 6.0 (2018)[6] 13 March 2018
Current stable version: 7.0 (2020) 20 June 2020

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d 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. ^ a b "Who are we?". Nova — Distribución Cubana de GNU/Linux. n.d. Archived from the original on 7 August 2011. Retrieved 24 May 2011.
  4. ^ UCI. "Se ultiman detalles para migración a Nova 5.0 en la UCI". Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  5. ^ a b DistroWatch. "Nova". Retrieved 13 May 2016.
  6. ^ a b DistroWatch. "Nova". Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  7. ^ a b 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.
  8. ^ a b Brown, Eric. "Cuba launches Gentoo Linux distro". Archived from the original on 27 May 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2011.
  9. ^ "Cuba sets to migrate to free, open-source software". Xinhua News Agency. 29 December 1010. Retrieved 24 May 2011.
  10. ^ a b c "Cuba presents Linux-based operating system". Cuba Standard. 10 February 2011. Archived from the original on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2011.
  11. ^ "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.
  12. ^ "Productos" (in Spanish). Nova — Distribución Cubana de GNU/Linux. n.d. Archived from the original on 8 June 2010. Retrieved 24 May 2011.

External linksEdit