1 million Classmates headed to Venezuela

Portugal recently announced it's intention to purchase and deploy half a million Classmate PCs to students in the country. Intel developed the Classmate as a reference design in the hopes that local OEMs would customize it and then handle production and distribution.

Portugal recently announced it's intention to purchase and deploy half a million Classmate PCs to students in the country. Intel developed the Classmate as a reference design in the hopes that local OEMs would customize it and then handle production and distribution. In the latest success for this model, Venezuela has just ordered 1 million second-generation Classmates from the same local OEM (J.P. Sa Couto) producing Classmates for Portugal.

The Portuguese OEM is badging the netbooks as the Magellan and they will be using Intel's Atom processors. Other details are still being worked out by the Venezuelan government with J.P. Sa Couto, but Intel spokesperson, Agnes Kwan, confirmed that they will be running a Venezuelan-developed version of Debian Linux called Canaima Debian (note: the link sends you to a page translated into English; the original page is available here).

According to a feature in Ars Technica,

The government of Venezuela has a long history of commitment to Linux and open source software. Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez enthusiastically endorsed open source last year when the country launched the Bolivarian Computer initiative, a government-sponsored project that facilitated mass production of a budget Linux computer that was sold to the general public at low cost.

Chavez may be a bit of a firebrand, but at least he's a proponent of open source (and generally of open computing in government). I knew I should have taken Spanish instead of Japanese in high school - then I could have taken Canaima for a spin. If anyone out there has used it, talk back below and let us know what the students of Venezuela can expect.

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