1 million Classmates headed to Venezuela

1 million Classmates headed to Venezuela

Summary: 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.

Topics: Software, Enterprise Software, Government, Government US, Hardware, Intel, Linux, Open Source, Operating Systems

Christopher Dawson

About Christopher Dawson

Chris Dawson is a freelance writer, consultant, and policy advocate with 20 years of experience in education, technology, and the intersection of the two.

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  • Know one, know all...

    If you know one Debian or Debian derivate, you know them all. At least, that's my experience. I have used Ubuntu, Debian unstable, Mepis and Xandros. All of them Debian family members.

    The only difference is in the applications, or (to be more precise) the versions of the applications. Firefox 2 or Firefox 3, Open Office 2.1 or 2.4.

    Under the hood (terminal) they all function the same way. Debian is a good, reliable and sturdy operating system. With a lot of applications available in the repositories, easily installable with the great Synaptic (or apt-get, if you prefer the terminal).
    • And, given the choice of Debian, they can take advantage of all of the

      packages compiled and tested for Debian. A very smart choice indeed. Great to see people innovating and realizing they can to it with Linux and all of the great open source applications.
  • RE: 1 million Classmates headed to Venezuela

    i'd say that chavez's decision was obviously propelled by his aversion to the united states.

    the portuguese decision was to dual boot the computer with portuguese linux distro called caixa m??gica and windows xp in order to familiarize children with both environments, which makes more sense in my opinion.
    lobo is free
    • Agreed

      Chavez can control any Open Source software in his country, as the government is taking control of all private industries.

      This is not really about what he feels is best for all, but instead of what he feels he can control the best.
      • I think if you talk to the kernel group, they will not be letting Chavez

        control anything. It is just that Venzuela realized that Windows / MS Office are not appropriate for these computers and, in any case, way too expensive. That simple.
      • Only Key Public and Private Industries ...

        [i]Chavez can control any Open Source software in his country, as the government is taking control of all private industries.[/i]

        Yes the government is taking control of certain private and public industries, paying fair market value for the assets, that benefit a large portion of the population of Venezuela and they are profitable.

        This is in stark contrast to the United States who takes control of private and public compaines, such as AIG, Freddie and Fannie Mac, and Washington Mutual when they've have been run into the ground because of speculative loans and derivatives all at [b]taxpayer expense![/b]

        Dollar for dollar Bush, Cheney, democrats, republicans and the rest of the U.S. government are bigger "Socialists" then Chavez will ever be except that with U.S. socialism only the top 10% will benefit.

        It's socialism for corporations and the rich, market capitalism for everyone else. Pot, kettle, black? ;)
    • You failed to notice that he went with Intel processors and Intel design

      for the computer as a whole. In case you did NOT notice, Intel is a US company.

      And, if Windows / MS Office is not a good choice for these computers, they SHOULD look for alternatives. Great to see people taking the initiative and innovating.
      • re:you failed to notice

        you failed to notice that i was talking about the software.

        you failed to notice that although initially the computer only comprises about 30% of portuguese tecnology, the plan is to turn jp sa couto into a odm until the end of the year and end up with a computer that fully incorporates national tecnology except for the microprocessor.

        you failed to notice that you're talking about the president that said last week "?v?yanse al carajo, yanquis de mierda!".
        lobo is free
        • Given the arrogant things that the Gringos are doing and trying to lock

          foreigners into over priced technology, they deserve everything they get.

          Los Gringos son muy arrogante y muy est?pido.
          • por que?

            Raaar!!! Evil Microsoft "Gringos"!!! True story: Che Guevara actually developed the first graphic user interface, but Microsoft sent a terminator back in time to gank him and steal his code! Los Diablos!!!! They are also responsible for helping Carlos Mencia steal jokes!
    • Not exactly ...

      [i]i'd say that chavez's decision was obviously propelled by his aversion to the united states.[/i]

      He has an aversion to the Bush administration, not the United States per se, because of the involvement in the attempted overthrow of his government back in 2002:


      He calls Bush names like "Donkey" and "Pendejo" all the time. Seems rather fitting considering the Total War About Terror (T.W.A.T), Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and the "pi?ce de r?sistance" a meltdown in the markets with a $700 billion dollar bail-out.

      To be fair the meltdown had as much to do with the democracts as well as the republicans. It was a republican congress that repealed the Glass-Steagall Act and Bill Clinton who signed it into law.

      Henry Paulson was CEO for Goldman-Sachs prior to his position as Treasury Secretary, but before that former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin also worked for Goldman-Sachs prior to his position and was CEO of Citigroup until he resigned just last year. So believe me everyone in power knew what the hell was going on up to this current "crisis".

      Goes to show where the true concerns for the American public are. Socialism for corporations and the rich, market capitalism for everybody else. ;)
  • RE: 1 million Classmates headed to Venezuela

    Just putting Venezuela even further behind in
    technology if they are shipping these classmates with
    linux. As has been proven over and over again linux
    does not provide students with the educational
    software needed to learn and grow. The
    troubleshooting and maintenance for this is going to
    be a total nightmare. Kids aren't going to want to
    recompile their source code every day just to use the
    laptop. The smart choice would have been to use
    Microsoft Windows on this platform so that they could
    standardize on one operating system and be provided
    with a wealth of compatible software with the rest of
    the world.
    Loverock Davidson
    • Can we just ban this idiot?

      It's not like he actually says anything even remotely true or useful.

      I guess the click count goes up when he throws some obviously stupid comment out there and gets the fans to flame back, but seriously, is it worth it?
      • You can't ban the truth

        And name calling won't get you very far.
        Loverock Davidson
        • .....

          Well if you actually spoke anything remotely like the truth then maybe we could tolerate you. But tell lies and spread deceit. ]:)
          Linux User 147560
          • Maybe he should run for office...

            Everyone is entitled to his own opinion but noone is entitled to his own facts. Unfortunately few people can easily tell the difference.

            Can I just do it til I need glasses?
      • Well, it is a talk back, and him not being as funny as Mike Cox, is NOT

        justification for deleting the posts. He is actually working for Linux adoption by creating an image of how stupid Windows users are. All part of the grand plan . . . .
      • Don't Reply to Loverock "Cocaine" ...

        .. and the problem is solved. ;)
    • What If you ...

      <strong>"What if you were unable to wake from that dream.
      How would you know the difference between the real world, and the dream world?"</strong><br>
      <font color=grey><em>--Morpheus--</em></font>
  • Hogwash and Balderdash!

    This is actually a viable alternative to the OLPC idea; really a higher tech alternative with greater capabilities.

    Most educational software is junk. So whether it runs on a linux-based or Windows-based platform is really immaterial. Affordable, low-overhead: spreadsheet, word processing, graphics, database, browser, communications, and code writing/compiling applications of any type are the answers. Microsoft tends to be a bit pricey, especially in the current world economic environment.

    Odd, I haven't had to recompile any source code on a daily basis under an ubuntu system. No idea where you dug up that objection.