The Italian city of Turin will switch to a complete open source desktop system, over the next 18 months. In August, the city administration decided to phase-out the current outdated proprietary system on its 8300 PCs and replace it by the Ubuntu open source alternative. Turin estimates the move will save some six million euro over the next five years.
"It is important to have hardware and software, including operating systems, that meets public administrations' needs", explained Enzo Lavolta, Councillor for Innovation and Development, on regional television on 14 September. The TV reported on Digital Freedom Day, sponsored by the city.
The city's decision had earlier this month been reported by Italian newspapers and by English and French IT trade publications. The Italian newspaper La Stampa, for example, quotes Lavolta as saying that Turin will be the first major city to move to an open source desktop: "(The migration) will result not only in economic savings, estimated at 6 million euro, but also improve management of service."
IT news site ZDNet points out that Turin has several organisations and institutes advocating the use of free software, including the city's polytechnic university. ZDNet quotes councilwoman Fosca Nomis, saying the city had discussed the switch two years before. The council decided to use the licences for its proprietary PC operating systems until these expired, earlier this year.
From the West unto the East
Last week, ZDNet reported a similar move to open source in another Italian city, Udine. A budget report from the IT department shows the town will train 400 civil servants to use Apache Open Office, a free software suite of office productivity tools. According to ZDNet, the city will gradually implement OpenOffice as its default office suite. The software is already installed on all of the city's 900 PCs.
Next year, the city will also being pilots with the use of complete open source desktops.
The Italian city of Udine has been using open source solutions wherever possible for years.