The regional government of Sardinia, has approved a bill designed to promote the use of open-source software throughout the region, an official said Monday.
The bill was given a green light by the center-left regional government just over a week ago, and the administration hopes it will be passed into law by the regional council (parliament) by next January, Massimo Dadea, a councillor responsible for general affairs, said.
"The bill has had a fairly difficult ride so far. It has run into cultural difficulties and there may have been some lobbying activity against it, so its passage though the council may encounter difficulties too," Dadea said.
Sardinia had drawn on the previous experience of regions such as Emilia Romagna and Tuscany, which have also passed laws encouraging the adoption of open-source software, but Dadea said he believed the Sardinian bill went even further.
"The novelty is that we put together the promotion of open-source software with measures intended to promote a knowledge-based society. That means investing in research and development, new technology, and human resources as well."
Article nine of the proposed new law says the region "promotes and uses solutions based on free software in order to contain and rationalize public spending, to favor the possibility of reuse and the interoperability of components produced by various suppliers making use of open protocols and formats."
It says the regional civil service must cite specific reasons justifying the choice of proprietary software over an open-source alternative. And the bill says companies bidding for public contracts can be given extra points in the tender process if their proposal makes use of open-source software.
The new law will reduce costs, boost local software enterprises, and encourage experimentation and innovation, Dadea said. Another of its articles calls for the creation of a partnership between the Sardinian Research Agency and local businesses, academic institutions and the regional civil service in order to promote the development of an information society by harnessing locally available information technology skills.