Thursday, February 20, 2014

Italian God Fathers May Run Open Source

In the current economic challenges, many countries are looking at saving cost via ICT and Italy is not an exception. Umbria, a region in the centre of Italy that produces cheese, lentils, truffles and have a relatively large number of small industries. This 900,000 strong population region is home to an active GNU/Linux User Group Perugia.

In 2012, Umbria saw the start of a revolution to switch to LibreOffice, which is LGPL or open source software (OSS) licensed. LibreOffice provides office productivity tools that include a word processor (like MS Word), presentation (like MS Powerpoint), spreadsheet (like MS Excel) and more. Advantages of this software is that it is free to download and install for almost all computers as it supports MS Windows, Linux and Mac platforms. Most popular editable document formats can be open and edited and its interface is rather intuitive and easy to use. It comes with a portable version where users can install it on a USB drive and carry it around to run LibreOffice any where. A built in PDF converter allows any edited file to be frozen and to be distributed with read only access and consistent format.

MS Office have been introducing its OOXML format through the docx formats which will eventually required every organisation to purchase an upgrade license for MS Office and this will incur la high upgrade cost. LibreOffice by default save files in Open Document Format or ODF (International document standards ISO/IEC 26300:2006) and it also supports past versions of MS Word, Excel and Powerpoint.

Through LibreUmbria, schools were introduced to use LibreOffice as their primary document editing applications before it was expanded further further to other organisations. This also received the government's top innovation award for Italian Government Projects in 2012/2013. Will the rest of the Italian Government and private organisations follow suit?

Read up news on the region of Umbria to switch over from MS Office to LibreOffice.

Jan 16, 2014 from ZDNet
Sep 26, 2013 from LibreOffice
Jun 5, 2013 from Document Foundation Blog

List of open standards can be found at ISO Public site

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