The government of Italy's South Tyrol province this morning announced a plan to implement LibreOffice, a free and open source suite of office productivity tools, in all of its public administrations, including municipal administration and healthcare organisations, during the next three years. The plan was unveiled today by the province's Minister for Innovation and Information Technology, Roberto Bizzo.
The past months, the government has been studying the feasibility of replacing the ubiquitous proprietary office tools by LibreOffice. "We conclude that we should gradually phase in LibreOffice, in close contact and dialogue with the administration's civil servants", the government writes in a statement disseminated at a press conference today. "The paradigm shift involved in the broad-scale introduction of free and open source software in office administration calls for a strong commitment to the project from politicians as well as from the highest managerial echelons within the respective administrative bodies."
Minister Bizzo announced the switch at ten today in Bolzano, during a press conference in which he announced the decision taken based on the indications by the 'Technical Roundtable for Open Source'. The group is composed by the province's public administrations IT responsibles, which decided to implement free and open source office productivity tools. Its members include local government ICT experts, municipalities, healthcare, labor unions, including the TIS Innovation Park's Free Software and Open Technologies Centre.
By switching to LibreOffice and other free and open source software solutions, South Tyrol aims to rid itself of vendor lock-in, increase flexibility save costs and support the region's small and medium sized ICT service providers.
The government writes: "The acquisition of proprietary software licences for office automation, for every work station in the public administration, is difficult to justify in light of the availability of the free software solution LibreOffice, which is capable of meeting the needs of the vast majority of employees in such institutions.
The government is making funds available to help the transition. It has also published a European reqeust for tender, calling for ICT firms to assist the government with its move to LibreOffice.