[Techtalk] Linux for Presentations HOWTO

Malcolm Tredinnick malcolm at commsecure.com.au
Mon Feb 17 12:42:18 EST 2003

On Sun, Feb 16, 2003 at 04:04:34PM -0800, Akkana wrote:
> A couple of us got involved in a discussion on the local LUG mailing
> list about how presentations at the LUG are almost always given
> using Microsoft software, with the result that I decided there
> ought to be a HOWTO to help people who want to give presentations
> using linux and free software but aren't sure what the options are.
> Here's the first release:
>   http://www.shallowsky.com/LinuxPresentations.html

This is very nice. A few comments, mostly of the personal opinion and
experiences kind.

	- I'm not sure the "integrated GUI creation tool" for Open
	  Office counts as a plus for all people (for me, a real
	  drawback of Open Office is that it takes ages to create the

	- From watching a number of people give OO.o presentations, it
	  does not appear to be easy to drop out of the presentation (to
	  give a demo or whatever) and then quickly go back to whatever
	  slide you were previously at. Same thing applies to being able
	  to jump around between slides (which is pretty common in Q&A
	  periods and also happens if you have a talk with possible
	  branches, which I have done a couple of times).

	- The majority of my talks for the past three or four years have
	  been given with MagicPoint. I find it pretty easy to just
	  quickly knock out the ASCII files it requires. At the recent
	  linux.conf.au, I was talking with Rusty Russell about this and
	  he said he could do a slide in one to two minutes, which sort
	  of matches my experiences. So the "minus" point you mention
	  about lack of creation tools can be overrated.

	- Just for laughs, I experimented at l.c.a with using Galeon to
	  present my HTML slides. I created the slides from DocBook XML
	  markup and using Norm Walsh's slides package to create the
	  HTML. Turning on the appropriate options gave nice slides with
	  hotkeys to move between the pages (in particular, <space> to
	  go forwards was a boon). Of course, because I had control over
	  which browser to use, I could exploit the Javascript and
	  stylesheet compliance of the browser. I think the experiment
	  was a success (a bit slower than MagicPoint to create the
	  slides, but not too much).

	- As you mention, there is a bug (and it is a bug) in Mozilla /
	  Galeon's window mazimizing code (I suspect it does not listen
	  to what the window manager tells it, so it _assumes_ it gets
	  the whole screen). This results in a line of two being hidden
	  off the bottom of the screen. I worked around this by just
	  turning off the menubar, statusbar, toolbar and bookmarks bar
	  from the menu and then manually resizing the window to use up
	  as much screen space as possible. That avoided the problems
	  that just hitting <F11> caused.

	- In the "connecting to the projector" section, you may want to
	  mention that some laptops do not have the ability to
	  simultaneously display to an external monitor/projector and
	  their own screen. This leads to awkward talks where the
	  speaker has to keep looking up at the overhead projection,
	  rather than facing the audience. This is something that needs
	  to be tested before using the laptop for the presentation and
	  to be avoided if at all possible (this was something I
	  considered and verified when buying my last laptop, since my
	  previous one did not have the simultaneous display property
	  and I give enough talks that it was a problem).

	- On the PDF front, I have only used it for one presentation and
	  it was not really worth it, I feel. I typically create papers
	  and handouts in PDF format anyway (using LaTeX or DocBook),
	  but fiddling around to get the PDFs looking right when
	  projected did not seem to be worth it when I could just use
	  MagicPoint or a web browser. I have, however, used XDvi to
	  display LaTeX output for some mathematical talks (lots of
	  equations and diagrams) and that was fine (XDvi knows that
	  "screen" and "paper" are different media, so it behaves

Hope this is of some use. Feel free to ignore at will, though.


I don't have a solution, but I admire your problem.

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