Open Source Government: About the Open Source session at ForumPA

The objective of the round-table “Between cooperation and competition: the necessary synthesis to help open source dissemination” recently held at the ForumPA was to facilitate a better understanding of what is missing in the Italian open source market from the public administration perspective.

ForumPA, the greatest Italian event of and about the Public Administration, represents the largest community of practice in the Italian Public Sector, gathers more than 120.000 stakeholders of the public sector through the conference and by emailing the newsletter.

In the CrowdIn the Crowd by Pensiero

I am honored to have been asked by Gianni Dominici,Vice General Director of ForumPA, to chair the only open source session. I invited selected speakers to contribute on topics often not well covered by other nationwide open source gathering.

Davide Gorini, Director of the first Italian open source business incubator, told the audience all about the business incubator offering facilities and consulting to entrepreneurs engaged in Free/Libre Open Source Software services and products.

When OSS Incubator project was born we fixed three goals; giving support to FOSS startups, create networking and relationships with the suburb area, facilitate the encounter between software manufacturers and public administrations.After just one year since the launch the assessment is very positive; the response from entrepreneurs is enthusiastic and the structure is nearly full; companies have different business models, from CRM platform to GIS software and that helps the natural collaboration and internal networking.

Contaminations with the suburb area are giving interesting feed-back; there is a growing exchange of ideas and participation to events and activities in order to spread the values and concepts of free and open source software.

The third goal has been achieved and the result is the involvement of the incubator and of the companies working within it in projects of software development, training and support together with local and central PA.

The conclusion is that such initiative has proved to be very effective and should be encouraged from local and Central Public Administration interested in promoting models of local development, knowledge diffusion and innovation.

Italo Vignoli, Italian Marketing Manager, gave a very thoughtful speech on the need to marketing open source products, showing the audience marketing results. I took the chance to mention again ClamAV as example of good open source product with poor branding and hence little diffusion, proving the need for an open source awareness campaign.

Getting back to Italian success, wearing my community hat I asked CNIPA representatives to fund our association with some money to help us to develop an add-on to digitally sign ODF document as required by CNIPA regulations (Adobe is already doing it).

I asked Flavia Marzano, Strategic consultant for public administration innovation and long-time consultant on open source for public administrations, to talk about the story of free software in Italy, below her short recap.

What can we say as a summary of the “story”?
Since 1941 Italy has laws that help Public Administrations in buying free software, since 2004 Regions begun to make laws on free software for PAs, since 2006 Italian Government put money on free software for PAs… in 2008 we are still waiting for free software in PAs! Let’s go on…

Paolo Zocchi, Senior Adviser of the Minister of Regions and Local Authorities by the previous Italian government, instead has adopted a much more positive tone, maybe even too much in respect of the actual Italian open source ecosystem.

The round-table was interesting because of the diversity of the experiences of the speakers, and attendees could pose questions and get answers for about twenty minutes at the end of the session.

My intention for the next year is to run it as an unconference event, do you agree?

Technorati Tags: open source government, gianni dominici, davidegorini, italovignoli, flaviamarzano, paolozocchi, open source dissemination