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Puglia region makes open source and standards mandatory

The Italian region Puglia will make the use of open source software and open standards mandatory for its public administrations. A law, adopted on 2 December by the regional administration, instructs regional and local public administrations to use open formats for the electronic disseminations of documents, and wherever possible use free and open source software.

According to the law, public administrations will have to explain why they are using document formats that are not open, or why they are using applications that are not open source.

The bill is intended to increase the electronic interaction between citizens and government, aid the region’s scientific and technological development and maximise the amount of software published as open source by public administrations.

In a statement published on 6 December, the region’s president Nichi Vendola, who also is the leader of the Left Ecology Freedom (Sinistra Ecologia Libertà) political party, wrote: “I feel the duty and responsibility to choose, for the technological development of my administration and local authorities in Puglia, the more secure, convenient and open options.”

Memorandum – The past few weeks advocates of free and open source software have been criticising Puglia’s president Vendola, for his signing of a memorandum of understanding with a vendor of a proprietary PC operating system and of office applications. The software vendor is to invest in a IT competence centre that will focus on the use of IT in public administrations, by SMEs and in schools.

Vendola, in a statement published on his party’s website, defended the deal, writing that the region favours open source, “but does not close the door to large international competitors who respect the region’s technological neutrality and will help to make the South a centre of excellence.”

In a reply to the Pirate Party, Vendola referred to the open source law adopted by the region. The bill will strengthen the migration to open source by all public administrations in the Puglia region, wrote Vendola. “It is more than just a statement of principle. We will finance the ICT services of public administrations only if they convert to open source.”

This article was originally published on Open Source Obeservatory & Repository Europe.

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