Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Free and open source software takes precedence. By law!

[this post - orinally posted on my blog on August 29, 2012 - has induced two further items:
- an updating blogpost posted on December 13, 2012
- a peer-reviewed article (co-author: Carlo Piana) published in March 2013
on International Free and Open Source Software Law Review]
With the recent changes made ​​to Article 68 of the Codice dell'amministrazione digitale* by Law 134/2012 (approved by the Italian Parliament on August 7, 2012), every Italian public administration is formally obliged to choose open source software wherever possible.

Here is an English translation of the main part of the article:
Only when the comparative analysis of technical and economic aspects demonstrates the impossibility to adopt open source solutions or any other software solution already developed (at a lower price) within the public administration system, the acquisition of proprietary software products is allowed.
Before this modification has become effective (August 12, 2012), Italian public administrations could select between 5 options:
a) develop a solution internally
b) reuse a solution developed internally
c) obtain a proprietary license of use
d) obtain an open source license
e) a combination of the above
Now the rule is that option c) above is not allowed anymore by default: “free or open source software” is an overriding option.

Some issues are still not so clear, for instance time and manner for the implementation of this new principle (not a little point!). However it is a very nice goal and a good start for a truly open e-government system.

* it is the most important Italian act about e-government

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