Nichi Vendola is president both of south-eastern italian region Puglia and of the Italian left party Sinistra Ecologia Libertà (SEL or “Left, Ecology, Freedom” in English).
Free Software is software that can save lots of public money. Even moms like Free Software like Linux, partly because it can be used without problems even by some disabled children. Besides, Free Software is such a good idea that European Parliament representatives of all colors like it !.
On its own website, SEL says “we believe that for a modern party speaking of copyleft, Free Software and Net Neutrality is as necessary as speaking of jobs, environment, economy and civil rights”. Among the more than 100 political candidates supporting Free Software at the latest regional elections in Italy there were several SEL representatives. The Florence section of SEL even presented a motion to promote Free Software in Florence http://www.sinistraeliberta.eu/articoli/sel-per-il-software-libero-al-comune-di-firenze] in January 2010.
In case you’re wondering why I’m telling you this, it’s because, right while I write, Nichi Vendola is signing a deal with Microsoft that “represents the beginning of an important collaboration partnership, whose goal is to promote innovation and excellence in creation, development and usage of ICT technologies and solutions, adding value to the role of the Region in direct relationships with the biggest international groups of that sector”.
In other words, it looks like Nichi Vendola is signing in these very moment a deal with Microsoft that is very similar, in spirit, to the deal signed… with Microsoft by the current Berlusconi cabinet, that favours promotion of proprietary software in Italian Public Schools. A deal signed even if Microsoft, at the time, was still under investigation from UE for abuse of dominant position, and even if Microsoft Office, with active help from certain schools and Public Administrations worldwide, creates cocaine-like dependencies, through secret file formats that Italian Government itself says to be not open.
Why is Nichi Vendola signing this deal, if even in 2008 there were people asking why Vendola wasn’t supporting the Linux Penguin? Oh, and let’s not ignore something that’s even more serious than the deal in and by itself: why wasn’t its complete text published online at least a week before it was signed?