Apretaste: the free (as in beer and as in speech) way to connect Cuba to the Internet

Saturday, Nov 21st
10:00am to 11:10am
Palm 1

For the past two years now, I have been working on a non-profit organization that is currently connecting more than 27,000 people in Cuba to the web, via email. Cuba is one of the most disconnected countries in the hemisphere, with more than 11,000,000 inhabitants, but less than 23% with access to email only, and a staggering 5% of the population with access to the Web without restrictions.

We are providing Cubans with free, open access to the Internet by using the email as a proxy between our users and the web. Our source code is licensed under GPLv3. We have embraced collaborations from the community, and so far have been fortunate to receive help from many programmers.

I want to speak about why free software is best when it comes to fostering collaborative environments that build applications and services intended to promote a social change. I firmly believe that free software can be used to create the sort of change that will allow people from different backgrounds and cultures to fight for one common goal. I plan on sharing why I decided to go open source instead of keeping the code to myself, and will explain how that decision benefited my non-profit.