The administration of the Italian region of Umbria has started a project to migrate a first group of 5000 users to using LibreOffice, a free software suite of office productivity tools. Getting rid of IT vendor lock-in is one of the major motives for the migration, says Osvaldo Gervasi, president of Umbria's Open Source Competence Center.
To improve the public administration’s use of IT, says the CCOS president, it is necessary to switch to LibreOffice and to adopt open document standards. "This allows us to refresh the most important office tools, at the same time carrying out the government's policy on the use of public resources."
For the region's civil workers, this so-called LibreUmbria project will be the most visible part of an overhaul that started six years ago. The legal basis for the migration is a 2006 regional law, promoting the use of free and open source software in the administration.
CCOS will be involved in providing training and assist in a "participatory process that will simplify and greater quality in the office work of the regional public administrations", Osvaldo told the Italian newspaper La Stampa last August. A communication campaign is scheduled to explain to the region's civil staff why the administration is moving to free software, and to counter any prejudices.
CCOS has involved many administrations in the regions in the move to open source. The coalition included a consortium of Umbrian authorities (Consorzio SIR Umbria), the administrations of the regions of Umbria and Perugia, a local health authority and the administration the province of Terni. Also involved is the Document Foundation, representing the developers of the LibreOffice software.
The Umbria project group is maintaining a blog on the progress.