Free Software acquisition by governments

It’s recent news that the Italian Camera dei Deputati (the lower
chamber of the Parliament) has started a project to offer support for
GNU/Linux on desktops for those that ask it. I hope to see Pietro Folena‘s
laptop equipped with Free Sw next time I meet him πŸ™‚ From what I
understood also the backend infrastructure of the chamber will also
migrate to GNU/Linux.

The big news, IMHO, is that the
technical helpdesk has been prepared to support GNU/Linux, which is an important achievement. I’m one of those that believe that Free/Libre Software
shouldn’t need laws that mandate it. What is most needed IMHO, is that
CIO of public administrations are trained and prepared to deal with
Free Software acquisition. Tenders to “buy” software often contain
provisions that cut out Free Software based solutions (as it was the case
fought and won by Assoli).

We need leadership (as Matt says) but we also need lobbyists
and think tanks that are strong and credible to support those leaders
because it’s a war out there, as Massachusetts demonstrated. FSFE’s Freedom Task Force training goes in that direction, but more more more is needed and should be done. I think that good-will, as Roberto puts it, is the same thing as leadership in this case.

BTW: DoD (Naval Research Lab) does and did “C”. At least one example is the project TOR, The Onion Router. Oddly enough, DoD shared development costs with those liberals of EFF πŸ™‚