Galicia will invest 915,000 euro to promote the use of free and open source software to enterprises, public administrations and public organisations, the region's government announced in mid-May. The autonomous region will also begin a feasibility study on the use of free office tools for all of its staff.
Galicia is a member of Cenatic, the country's resource centre on open source and open standards. The centre last month signed a cooperation agreement with by Agasol, an association of the region's free and open source IT service providers.
At a press conference, Mar Pereira, director of Amtega, Galicia's Agency for Technological Modernization, explained that the regional government in 2010 was among the first to design an overall free software strategy. A year later it began offering computer training focussing on open source and started Abalar, a free software project for schools. Abalar helps them to combine Drupal, a content management system, Moodle, an e-learning system and Coppermine, for displaying images and videos.
By using free software for these initiatives, the regional government has saved 2.5 million euro in 2010 and 2011. According to Pereira, the use of free and open source software by the region's public administrations has increased from 46 per cent in 2009 to 94 percent now.
Pereira announced a feasibility study on moving all public employees in Galicia to free office software. "This study is a required step in the development of a migration plan. It is also in line with plans Galicia announced earlier this year to install free office tools on all new computers."
The government of Galicia last year became one of the board members of Cenatic. The aim is to make it easier to share and re-use strategies with other regional administrations. Pereira said that the membership should help to share and re-use software applications made specifically for public authorities. The region will this year launch a policy requiring public administrations to first consider the use of such tools, before procuring proprietary alternatives.
Earlier this month, the Spanish region of Aragon announced plans to boost the growth of the region's open source IT companies.