Italian government on December 2012 changed the art. 68 of the eGovernment Code (Codice dell'Amministrazione Digitale (in Italian)) (CAD) indicating to public administrations (PA) the obligation to prefer Free Software assessing software acquisition.
The novelty aspect of the new art.68 (it) lies in comma 1-ter where is stated that “proprietary software acquisition with user license” (“l'acquisizione di programmi informatici di tipo proprietario mediante ricorso a licenza d'uso”) is permitted only if
“it is motivationally impossible to get existing solutions yet available to public administrations, or to get Free Software or Open Source Software, appropriate for the current needs to be satisfied”.
“risulti motivatamente l'impossibilità di accedere a soluzioni già disponibili all'interno della pubblica amministrazione, o a software liberi o a codici sorgente aperto, adeguati alle esigenze da soddisfare”.
The comma 1-ter, among other things, designates the Italian Digital Agency (Agenzia per l'Italia Digitale (AgID) to write modalities and criteria to perform the assessment. To do this the AgID published a news (in Italian) to form a committee (tavolo di lavoro (TdL)) to write guidelines about “Criteri per valutazioni comparative ai sensi dell'art. 68 del CAD”. I found the news curious because there were explicitely written:
“It will be a privileged title holding a role as […] open source software community’s representative”
“Costituirà titolo di preferenza rivestire un ruolo di […] referenti di community del software a codice sorgente aperto”
On December 2012 I sent my application as Java User Group Padua (in Italian)’s representative, on March 2013 I was selected, and in the middle of March I started working at the TdL.
TdL’s activities took place among March and July 2013, by 9 meeting e 5 hearings.
On the whole I’m almost satisfied. Certainly we might discuss about how these guidelines were or weren’t simple, but undoubtedly they help delineating the path stated by the art. 68. Moreover I’m proud to have participated in defining a national law which rules the country where I live in. I’m also grateful to had the opportunity to live an experience from which I learnt a lot.