The city of Rome, the fourth-largest city in the European Union, will increase its use of free and open source software, it decided in October. All new software solutions will be based on open source, and the city is to consider replacing existing proprietary solutions by open source alternatives.
The city council on 14 October approved the proposal from councillor Flavia Marzano - responsible for government simplification. "This resolution marks a turning point in the approach of the Rome city council’s acquisition of software”, she explains on her Facebook page.
One of the aims is to rid the city of IT vendor lock-in. Furthermore, Rome wants to use open and scalable software solutions, that will allow it to switch between ICT service providers. Switching to free and open source software will increase efficiency, openness and sustainability, the councillor writes. It also gives the city autonomy in exercising its public administration tasks.
Rome is choosing free software for its ability to generate economic and social value, Marzano writes. The councillor has long been involved in free and open source communities, and is a well-known advocate of its use by public administrations.
According to Marzano, the city should begin with an assessment of the current costs of proprietary software licences. This will help identify ICT areas where free software alternatives will have a big impact. She also wants to see plans for the migration of existing proprietary solutions to free software alternatives.
“Free software can guarantee that authorities have complete control over the ICT choices they make. Moreover, it is an excellent method to disseminate knowledge and expertise“, Marzano writes.
The city has about 24,000 employees.