AFUL, the french Free Software user group, held a half day conference touting the benefits of free software to a government panel in the French Prime-Minister's building. The government panel (MTIC) is responsible for introducing new technologies to different ministries. A french customs official described the easy introduction to their intranet of a Linux web server which has shown itself to be very reliable. Another presentation discussed the commercial need to force customers into an update cycle. It compared Windows 3.11's reliability to that of women's stockings which are designed to break quickly. The french city of Lille's computer department also enjoyed Linux' ease of use, scalability and efficiency on older hardware. Finally, Bernard Lang's presentation did not pull its punches. He discussed the dangers for the French economy of relying on foreign black-box software: proprietary software reduces local employment, tends to concentrate power monopolistically, while free software increases local employment (since most software jobs are in the service industry), guarantees originality, competition, conformity to open standards, and a free choice of service provider. The website referred to is the French Prime Minister's Governmental website, so we can be hopeful things will start happening. Links courtesy of Nouvelles Neuves Linux, and Translation services available from Babelfish.