A few days ago I summarized the most questionable or uncertain points of the software odissey of the City of Pesaro, saying that I’d also post questions and consequences, both for the City and Open Source advocates, not mentioned yet in this story. For Pesaro, the road forward has little or nothing to do with the initial topic, that is Open Source Software in Public Administration. The advocates, instead, should rethink some of their strategies. Let’s start from Pesaro, but what follows applies to practically every city.
Pesaro is a town of about 100 thousands people on the northern adriatic coast of Italy. Its Public Administration has been facing lots of critics from Free/Open Source software supporters because, in the last five years, it changed twice the same, important part of its ICT infrastructure. Both those changes bring consequences and open issues, both for the critics and for Pesaro, that have had little or no coverage at all so far, especially outside Italy (1). Before talking about them, however, it is necessary to summarize what happened.
Today, while cleaning up old backups, I found a text file named as this post, which I saved on November 17th, 2000, but never used. Cannot remember what I was planning to do with it, but here it goes. A bit naive, surely dated (just look at which Free Software companies I was suggesting to go for help…) but still interesting, considering how things stand today. Here it goes, unchanged:
Twelve (TWELVE!!!) years ago I asked OpenOffice users “Are you advocating OO correctly”. Six years ago I said the same things in a different format. A couple of weeks ago, I came across a perfect proof that that kind of advocay IS right, but so far has been never practiced enough.
(this is something I wrote in 2007. Everywhere you read “OO.o” you can (and should) replace it with “Apache OpenOffice or Libre Office”. See the bottom of the page for the origin and history of the text)
Many people, schools and small businesses use OO.o only because
(this is only the final part of something I wrote in 2007. Please do read the first part to understand where the text below comes from!)
A highly structured, metadata rich, application independent XML file format like OpenDocument can finally offer two huge advantages