Open Source Government: IDABC reports first impressions on Ministry’s clarifications

Italian Open Source developers are dissatisfied with a clarification by the Ministry for Reform and Innovation on how it spent ten million euro last year earmarked for Open Source projects.

With a six-page letter sent ten days ago by Beatrice Magnolfi, undersecretary for Innovation Policy, the ministry responded to a request by the Italian PostgreSQL user group, the Italian translators working on OpenOffice, the Italian Free Software Association and several Italian computer scientists.

Roberto Galoppini, one of the submitters of that request, says the ministry’s  letter does not provide enough details and hardly mentions concrete Open Source projects. “It still is hard to tell if those ten million euro were spent on Open Source or not.” Galoppini and his colleagues will ask the minister to organise a public event. “Here, the ministry could disseminate information about Open Source and explain how these funds were spent.”

The ministry writes how it last year decided to primarily fund projects dealing with digital innovation, education, health and on information projects meant for Italians abroad. The ministry writes it will support the application of Open Source solutions and will favour those projects allow public administrations to share and collaborate on software.

The reply also details how it has spent some of the funds earmarked to favour Open Source projects. It lists agreements with the Italian region of Tuscany and Trento province, legal advice concerning projects at elementary schools and agreements with the ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Culture.

The ministry adds that for projects in 2008 it will again give priority to Open Source software and other applications that allow sharing and reuse of software. It also expects to spend money on agreements with the ministry of Labour and Foreign Affairs, on projects for elementary schools and is defining measures to support the creation of a federal interoperable IT infrastructure.

Source: IDABC. Read also Quintarelli’s blog (italian).

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