Once upon a time, even a simple business presentation could be quite a costly affair. The person putting together a presentation would create his or her presentation using a word processor (or pen and ink), then transfer all this to a business graphics presentation tool. Alternatively, a special design service might be hired to take that next step, but eventually, the whole thing would be sent to yet another service that would create 35-mm slides from the finished paper presentation.
On the day of the big meeting, the old carousel slide projector would come out, and the slides would be painstakingly loaded onto the circular slide holder. Then the lights would dim, and the show would begin. With any luck, the slides would all be in the right order, and the projector would not jam up.
These days, we use tools that streamline this process, allowing us to create presentations, insert and manipulate graphical elements, then play the whole thing directly from our notebook computers. The projectors we use simply plug into the video port of our computers. There are many software packages to do the job under Linux. The most popular (and the one I will cover here) is part of the OpenOffice.org suite. It is called Impress. For those of you coming from the Microsoft world, Impress is very much like PowerPoint. In fact, Impress can easily import and export PowerPoint files.