The Agenzia per l'Italia Digitale (AGID) is finalising its recommendations on how to best compare open source and proprietary software solutions. The Agency will soon publish the criteria and a guideline written by an expert committee. Reports last week suggested that AGID was to ask for public comments on these texts. Today the agency said this consultation will not take place.
Following a change in the national law in December 2012, Italy's public administrations are to give priority to free and open source, and to the re-use of software paid by other public administrations.
The publication of the work by the expert committee is expected any day now, says Carlo Piana, a lawyer and member of the working group on behalf of the Free Software Foundation Europe and the KDE foundation. Computer scientist Stefano Zacchiroli, who participated in the committee representing the Debian project, also confirms that the agency plans to publish the guidelines around mid-November.
The expert committee members met for the first time in January of this year. AGID planned the experts to finish their work in April, but it took more time to get all the members to reach an agreement. Their work was completed in September.
Last week Monday, Italian lawyer Guglielmo Troiano writes on Opensource, a web site for the open source community created by Linux-distributor Red Hat: "The on-going debate regarding the use of free and open source software in Italy seems to be coming to a satisfactory conclusion." He suggests that the agency is to "launch a public consultation" before publication. A spokesperson for AGID said today that the agency "is not planning to perform a public consultation for the guidelines."
Troiano expects that open source software will increase efficiency of public administrations. "For the public administration, it is important that the software works only for the purpose for which it was procured. Beyond that, its value is irrelevant. As such, the return on investment is measured essentially in terms of efficiency. Efficiency which, in turn, must be measured both in immediate terms (saving of resources with an equal output or increased output utilizing the same resources), in long-term savings (lower cost for the update, adaptation, migration to the achievement of obsolescence or the appearance of more efficient systems), and in terms of positive effects to the general or local economy (spillover effects)."