The Document Foundation’s Italian subsidiary, LibreItalia, said Wednesday that the Italian Ministry of Defense has agreed to adopt LibreOffice, the open-source productivity suite, in October, and that it will create its own online training courses for the new software by the end of 2016.
The move was prompted, in part, by an Italian law that mandates the consideration of open-source alternatives to proprietary software for government use, which was originally passed in June 2012. LibreItalia and the military’s IT staff will release the educational material to the public at large under the Creative Commons license.
About 150,000 workstations will run LibreOffice by the time the implementation is complete, according to a report from European Commission website Joinup.
The military is the first governmental open-source adopter of productivity software at the national level in Italy, though local governments in Emilia-Romagna, Cremona, Perugia, Bologna and many others have already made the switch. Advocates tout price, security and interoperability advantages over proprietary incumbents like Microsoft.
Italy is one of several governments in Europe making serious moves toward open-source software for desktop users, along with France and Spain. Yet the most prominent deployment of open-source on the continent is probably Munich, Germany, where the city government’s use of Linux has become a minor political football – vague hints and rumors of dissatisfied users and potential switches back to Windows have surfaced, despite the fact that all public statements have confirmed the city’s commitment to its Linux deployment.
Europe has been a more fertile territory for open-source use than North America, where despite the presence of initiatives from NASA and the White House, governmental offices still tend to use proprietary software.