The Italian city of Trieste is moving to the Apache OpenOffice suite, replacing a proprietary office suite, the city's newspaper Il Piccolo reported on 7 May. The switch will save some 900,000 euro in proprietary software licences over the next three years.
"It is a cultural choice", the newspaper quotes the city's mayor, Roberto Cosolini, as saying. He points out that open systems are popular on the web. The switch is also economical, he adds. "At this moment, anything that allows local authorities to reduce spending is important. Saving 900,000 euro in three years is significant."
The switch affects around 1,800 civil servants working for the city administration. According to the newspaper, some 1,340 of these have already been prepared for the switch and have been trained to deal with the main differences they will encounter. Apache OpenOffice is very similar to the ubiquitous proprietary office suite, but changing from one to the other will require some readjustments.
To train Trieste's civil servants, the city hired the same consultant that helped train those in the Italian region of Emilia Romagna.
According to Il Picolo, the city administration will retain a few dozen licences for proprietary office suites, in order to exchange documents with other public administrations and organisations.
On 19 May, the LibreOffice community in Italy published an open letter to the mayor of Trieste, to bring their project to the city's attention. "Our community has over 2200 members, sharing knowledge and experience, and offering possibilities for support." The project points out that the LibreOffice suite is used by many other Italian public administrations, including the provinces of Bolzano, Cremona, Macerata and Milan, and the towns of Genoa, Padua and San Benedetto del Tronto.