The Italian city of Genoa is increasing its use of free and open source software, aiming to reduce its dependency on IT vendors. "The Municipality will favour the use of free software or open source, wherever possible", Genoa announced last week Friday.
Increasingly turning to free software solutions is a strategic move, the city writes. It will result in cost savings and extend the life span of computer work stations. Genoa's IT department is making available online training modules, where civil servants can familiarise themselves with the use of free software applications.
Genoa announced it will start using the Open Document Format for its electronic documents. "This ensures long-term access to data, without legal or technical barriers. Public administrations are increasingly aware of these issues."
"Given the breadth and complexity of our information systems, grown over the years out of numerous systems and applications and differing in age and technology, the introduction of free software and open source is approached carefully", the city writes in a statement. "We will assess the impact on systems in use, compatibility, complexity of migration, the potential costs resulting from adjustments of systems and training needs."
The city announces it will start using for instance the image manipulation tool Gimp, document archive solutions 7Zip and PDFCreator. It is already using the open source mail and group-ware server Zimbra. Genoa is also testing the use of Quantum GIS, Kosmo, Postgres and PostGIS for its Geograhic Information Systems.
The city is to use Linux for a number of PCs meant to be used by city staffers that do no by default have access to a computer. Here they will be able to access the municipal human resource services.
The Italian news site Lettera 43 this week Monday quotes city councillor Isabella Lanzone, "(moving to open source) will free us from the monopolies of the big computer companies and limit the costs of the local computers." A report by Genova Mente Locale quotes Rosanna Garassino, head of the city's IT department. "The free software project offers long term benefits, easing management tasks and by using open data formats ensuring access to citizens."
Genova Mente Locale news item (in Italian)