The regional administration of the Italian island of Sicily is to consider a law nudging public administrations to use of free and open source software. The proposal, by Massimo Ferrara, a member of the Democratic Party, might also help prevent the break-up of a school on the island, the Instituto Majorana, involved in producing instruction videos on this type of software.
Ferrara presented his bill "the law on free software in Sicily" early last month.
According to an article on a local news site on the initiative, the bill aims to 'close the digital divide and promote the use of open source in public administration'. The news site quotes the Democrat explaining how the law aims to counter monopolies and help reduce the costs for public administrations. It also aims to increase citizen's access to government data.
The proposal is similar to a law adopted almost exactly a year ago in the Italian region of Puglia, that makes the use of open source software and open standards mandatory for its public administrations.
A school in the city of Gela, on the south coast of Sicily, the Instituto Majorana, hopes that the bill will help to prevent its break-up. The school, with 633 pupils, is to be split in two, with a major part of the students to go a school with 433 students in the same area.
Italy recently decided to close all schools with fewer than 600 students. The measure is part of the government's austerity measures aimed to lower the country's 1.9-trillion-euro public debt.
The Majorana school teachers two weeks ago started a campaign to save their school. They hope, among other things, to be able to continue to promote the use of free and open source software in education. "The Majorana is doing a lot of work to spread free and open source software", explains one of the teachers, Antonio Cantaro on the school site, while wondering if that is somehow connected to the decision to close the school.
According to a message posted yesterday, the school is optimistic, following a meeting between a school delegation and provincial and education administrators.
'Free Software in Sicily' blog post (in Italian)
Alqamah news item (in Italian)
Appeal by the institute Majorana (in Italian)
Website of Massimo Ferrara