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.
The first move was the migration, in 2010/2011 of 504 desktops from Microsoft Office to OpenOffice. The second, decided in November 2014, was a U-turn: sorry, we were wrong, let's migrate to the latest and greatest from Microsoft, that is Office 365, to do lots of things better, even working in teams and online.