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fully free presentations - pdflatex + ppower4 + xpdf
 
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Boud Roukema



Joined: 24 Feb 2005
Posts: 82
Affiliation: Torun Centre for Astronomy, University of Nicolaus Copernicus

PostPosted: March 23 2005  Reply with quote

For people interested in academic freedom in cosmology, i.e. using free software in the sense of "free as in speech" (e.g. GPL), please remember that there's no need to use powerpoint(TM) to make nice computer projector presentations.

    * pdflatex e.g. with foiltex, produces nice pdf files for presentations

    * you can get fancy stuff by also using ppower4 - http://www.tex.ac.uk/tex-archive/support/ppower4/readme.html

    * acroread(TM) requires you to agree to the protection of adobe's "trade secrets" in addition to non-free copyright (you did actually read that legal notice before you clicked yes, i presume? ;) - acroread(TM) is not free software, it's only "free as in beer", or rather, "free as in opium" or some other illegal addictive drug... it's not "free as in speech"

    * instead IMHO you should try xpdf - it's also faster than acroread, it includes stuff like internal cross-links, links to URLs which open windows in mozilla/firefox/etc - but it does lack a few of the more fancy features in acroread



In my own experience, pdflatex + ppower4 + xpdf on a 200 euro/dollar second-hand laptop are perfectly fine for cosmo presentations (without fancy stuff like live rotation of 3-D figures, movies, ...) - this may be useful for students, postdocs, and faculty in "third-world" countries...

You can carry your pdf file to conferences on a floppy (if you decide not to overwhelm the audience with more info than they can absorb), but probably best to have a CD-R copy anyway, since some laptops don't read floppies, and/or have problems reading CD-RW's.
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Boud Roukema



Joined: 24 Feb 2005
Posts: 82
Affiliation: Torun Centre for Astronomy, University of Nicolaus Copernicus

PostPosted: April 27 2005  Reply with quote

Rather than having to install the ppower4 java package, a \LaTeX package
for presentations which has been very strongly recommended to me is prosper - i haven't tried it yet,
but since my above comment has been viewed 92 times, my guess is that people are interested in the question of using free (as in speech) software for presentations.

Read about it from people who know more than i do:

http://www.ma.man.ac.uk/~mheil/Prosper/

http://freshmeat.net/articles/view/667/ - this page has a nice
comparison between different latex approaches
- slide
- seminar
- pdflatex (foiltex + ppower4)
- prosper

prosper includes things like making movies (or arbitrary linux commands)
runnable from inside the pdf file => more elegant/less distracting for the
audience than watching you close/open windows, go to the command line
etc.
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