According to some recent rumors, the Italian Parliament has decided to switch to Linux more than 3,500 desktop computers and 200 servers. The Linux distribution that would be most probably used is said to be Novel’s SuSE Linux, even though many considered Ubuntu as more appropriate.
The migration process is said to start this September and the Italian officials estimate it would take almost two years to accomplish this.
Pietro Folena, member of the Italian Communist party, who earlier this year proposed the switch, considers the size of this migration to open source an important case study. According to him, this “will present all public offices with best practices.” Pietro Folena also said he estimates that this switch would make the Parliament’s PCs almost 90 % cheaper and he expects larger savings to be achieved with the servers. According to an interview for The Inquirer, Folena stated:
“The savings are important, but the primary motive for this decision is to gain freedom. Freedom from single technology, freedom from a single software owner and a single contractor, freedom to develop our own applications and freedom from viruses.”
Some unofficial estimations reveal that, by switching to Linux, the Italian Parliament would be able to save more than EUR 3 million every year, since the Windows license for each machine is said to cost about EUR 900/year. There are also many other technical reasons, as well as the fact that an open source solution would better reflect the idea of democracy as opposite to the proprietary software (this one being in contrasts with the meaning of democracy itself).