Introducing Canaima GNU/Linux 2.0
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On 2008, ONUVA, my consulting firm, was commissioned by the Venezuelan
government (Centro Nacional de Tecnologías de Información) to design and
develop a Debian derivative to be "tropicalized" for Venezuela, which
ended up being called Canaima GNU/Linux 2.0
The team I led had Xavier Araque, Kevin Zambrano, Julio Ortega and Ailé
Filippi on board, and Carlos Marrero, Nehomar Barragán, José Alvarado
and Henry Rivero were the government officials. I'm specially thankful
to Carlos and Nehomar for their help on the project.
I was previously commissioned by the Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnología
(OTI) on 2006 to build DiVe, another Debian derivative, but the project
was not completed due to OTI's disappeareance. I also developed some 4-5
derivatives for specific purposes in the past.
Canaima took profit of the lessons learned with these older projects and
took the "maintain severely less than 10% of the packages" mantra, so an
approach with the alternatives system was taken. Basically, if base
files need to be changed, alternatives are used so to not mess with
painful package upgrades and new installations. A set of specific
packages (canaima-*) were developed with core functions, a deep new
visual style and facilities for updates.
A full Debian repository was setup (it's public, among the other 3-4
fully maintained Debian repositories in Venezuela) and a more compact
version of the repository with about 1,500 packages that are used by the
distribution. Canaima 2.0 was released for i386 and amd64.
Canaima has an impressive market share in Venezuela. It is not only used
in hundreds of workstations of the government, but also it's pre
installed on tenths of thousands of desktops and laptops produced by the
Venezolana de Industrias Tecnológicas factory in Falcón.
A local community handles development. Some bugs were issued against
Debian but no constant collaboration seems to be happening. Developers
of Canaima are heavily involved in Debian, too. Venezuela's government
is a heavy user of Debian in servers and desktops alike.
ONUVA also prepared a version of Canaima for PowerPC/64. Julio Ortega
led this development.
I'm CCing Luis Martínez and Carlos Guerrero, which are government
officials in charge of Canaima.
References, cleverly encrypted in spanish, follow:
José Miguel Parrella Romero (bureado.com) PGP: 0×88D4B7DF
Debian Developer Quito, EC
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