The Italian Parliament in August approved an update to the country's Digital Administration Code, making free and open source the default option for public administrations looking for new software solutions. The draft text was submitted in December by Italy's caretaker government.
The publication of the decree means that, starting from 12 August this year, Italy's public administrations looking for new software solutions may either decide to develop their own software solution, reuse an existing solution previously developed internally, use free and open source or make a combination of these three options. The purchase of proprietary software licences is only allowed when a technical analysis shows that it is impossible for the public institute to apply open source or to reuse an existing solution.
The first proposals to make free and open source the default were submitted to the Chamber of Deputies in December, one of the two parts of the Parliament of Italy. A few minor changes were made by the Senate in June. The latest version of the Digital Administration Code was accepted by the Italian Parliament on 7 August.
"Open source is a strategic tool that can contribute to the growth of the country and to sustainable innovation", comments the Italian ICT lawyer Simone Aliprandi. He also expects that it will help reduce public spending.
On the social network Google+, ICT lawyer Carlo Piana notes that the law does not define free and open source. "I would abhor the idea of requiring a definition, since it is a well understood term in the trade, and surely the Open Source Initiative and the Free Software Foundation have done a good job establishing it."