Open source on the advance in Italy
On Wednesday, the Italian region of Puglia passed a law requiring the public sector to utilise more open source software and to make more data freely available to the public. The law consists of 21 articles setting out a series of rules aimed at fundamentally changing the relationship between the citizens and the regional government. The law gives the region's citizens the right to access all information and services provided by the public sector in digital form. Digital diversity is also to be encouraged through the use and dissemination of open source software.
Article 4 states that all digital documents must use open formats such as ODF, whilst Article 6 sets out rules for publishing public sector data online, where it is to be made available free of charge for re-use. Software written in-house must also be open source and where possible licensed under the GPLv3.
Puglia is not the only Italian region to be planning greater use of open source software. In June, Emilio de Masi, regional chairman of the Partei Italia dei Valori (Italian party of values), submitted draft legislation to the Calabrian regional government which also called for greater public sector use of open source. At a press conference, De Masi estimated that by switching from Microsoft products to open source software, the public sector could save around €675 million (£532 million). The Lazio region passed an open data law back in May. Piedmont also requires that open source software be given preference when procuring software for the public sector.