I got home last night in good after after Libre Graphics. I'm pleased I went to the conference -- I learned a lot about the software and got some good leads on where to start improving my knowledge on how to help people create good posters. I think I really need to take a course on design, but I'll probably start with this book.
I was particularly excited by how far Free Software has come: Free Software is ready for prime time. I became converted to the rightness of the free-software cause when I was in graduate school and I had used Supercard to do my doctoral project. When the company that owned Supercard went belly up, it looked for a while like all of that work would be unusable and unsupportable. After that experience, I have tried very carefully to avoid building anything that depends on any proprietary software.
I do still use some proprietary software (principally, the MacOS) but last year I set up a laptop with Ubuntu and I was impressed. The previous time I ran linux on a laptop (on my tibook) it wasn't really ready: I had to hack textfiles everytime I wanted to switch between the wireless or ethernet interfaces. And don't even get me started on trying to get multiple video interfaces configured correctly. Ubuntu looked better when I tried it last year. I was impressed this weekend that even the video issues seem now to be relatively straightforward now in the distributions that people were using.
I'm planning to begin working seriously to persuade people (the department and students) to start moving away from proprietary software. I've been doing this in small ways for years, but I want to get creative with how else I can convince people. I've been thinking that the slogan "Free Software Liberates You" might be a start.