Last May 23th, the Council of Region Lazio, Italy, approved a Regional Law on "Reuse of information and public data, and connected initiatives". With further regulation, methods and technical rules for reusing software will be determined. In the meantime, we proposed them a checklist of motivations by which both Institutions and the Community would be advantages by a migration to systems based on Free Software.
Free Software can be freely modified. The Public Administration can adapt him to her needs, how best required, with a flexibility advantage. In case the PA wouldn't have the necessary human resources, she can demand the adaptation to local partners, who don't have to refer to any software vendor. This advantages the local industry and encourages competition among different developers or providers of IT services: Free Software adoption allows to foster the development of private economical initiatives, and of technologically innovative projects. Actually, the freedom to modify software allows to private economical operators to directly operate on software.
Free Software is characterized by a type of licence allowing use, analysis, modification and redistribution of software. Thanks to Free Software, public authorities can use software already developed, or they can provide their own solutions to other public authorities. This favours cooperation among different entities, and allows to save on public resources, assigning them to developments to improve software features. Indeed, problems faced by different organisms tend to be similar, and can be solved efficiently with a common effort.
The use of Free Software allows public authorities to nullify licence costs. This does not mean that adopting Free Software is a costless choice. Implementation, adaptation, technical support, maintenance, staff training are activities which generate costs. A part of those costs are to be faced also in case of choice of a proprietary solution, but given its flexibility and the free competition among suppliers, Free Software will be by far the more cost-effective choice in the long run.
The freedom to study and modify software favours innovation and cooperation among citizens and institutions. Free Software introduces a model of conduct based on solidarity and civic commitment.
Original text of the letter (Italian)