Open Source Government: Italy seen from UK, by Matthew Aslett

To coincide with EURO 2008, Matthew Aslett is embarking on a virtual European tour, taking a look at open source policies and deployment projects in the 16 nations that are competing in the tournament.

We lost with Spain, and Matthew wrote his Italian Open Source Tour.

Key policies:
In October 2002, a commission for free software in public administration was established to study open source adoption. in May 2003 CNIPA (Centro Nazionale per l’Informatica della Pubblica Amministrazione) published a study (PDF in Italian) that recommended (amongst other things) that public offices should neither prohibit nor penalize the use of OSS packages. A working group later produced guidelines (PDF in Italian) as to how to remain compliant with the recommendations.

The Italian government put its money where its mouth was in December 2006 as Italian budget law committed €30m over three years to projects that stimulate the information society (although what happened to those funds is open to question) while in May 2007 Italy launched its own repository of open source software for public administrations, the Collaborative Development Environment.

In June 2007 Italian Minister of Reform and Innovations in Public Administration, Luigi Nicolais, announced the creation of the second Open Source Commission to define guidelines for public procurement of open source software. In May 2008 it published its first draft report.

Key projects:
National open source success stories include the Ministry of Justice, which has adopted Red Hat Enterprise Linux, as has the Ministry of Economics and Finance.

Meanwhile the National Institute of Design and Mint is using JBoss, and Corte dei Conti is also using Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

In July 2007 the IT department of the Italian Parliament presented plans for the migration of 200 servers and more than 3,500 desktop PCs to Linux and OpenOffice. The migration was due to begin in September and take two years.

Regional government projects include Cremona, Foggia, Rome, Tuscany, Emilia Romagna, Genoa, Bologna, Balzano, Savona, Umbria, and Tuscany again.

More details are available of Rome’s open source policy, Genova’s OpenOffice trials, Bologna’s open source projects, and Bolzano’s FUSS project.

Read the full article.