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Sorry for my ignorance, this is a newbie question:

I am trying to migrate from Mac OS X to a Linux distribution, maybe/probably Ubuntu. One of my favorite applications for the Mac was Apple Keynote, which makes amazing sideshow presentations.

Is there an equivalent solution for Linux distributions that matches/comes close to Keynote in terms of its polish and ease of use? I know about OpenOffice.org Impress but, no pun intended, I am not very Impress-ed...

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Can you list some features of Keynote you're particularly attached to? I'm not really familiar with it –  Michael Mrozek Sep 1 '10 at 20:45
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Keynote is arguably the best application of its kind. You're going to have to accept some loss of functionality by moving away from OS X. I'm curious about why you're doing that anyway. In the past few years, I'd say the trend on the desktop is decidedly the other way: Linux people finding that OS X finally delivers on the "Linux on the Desktop" promise. Real Unix underneath, and a sweet Apple frosting on top. What's not to like? –  Warren Young Sep 1 '10 at 21:22
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@Warren Young: for some of us, the fact that it is not open, matters. It does for me. The fact that it is a Unix, it has a shell, and all that, it means nothing to me without openness. In terms of vendor lock-in Apple is probably worse than Microsoft these days. So what's not to like: that is. –  wzzrd Sep 2 '10 at 13:38
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@Warren Young: Mac OSX is very nice, I agree, but it has a thick graphics and UI layer on top that doesn't play well with more traditional Unix graphics and UI. This means that programs that will run reasonably well on any normal Unix will look out of place on the Mac, and may have other problems. Ports of traditional programs are often out of date. Fundamentally, there are things Mac OSX does better, and things Linux does better. Take your pick. I work mostly on Linux, myself, but also like my Mac. –  David Thornley Sep 2 '10 at 16:23
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@wzzrd Agreed. One of the reasons I am preparing to migrate to GNU/Linux is because of its openness, and that it is free. I am getting tired of Apple's attempts to lock me in, despite their products' ease of use and extreme polish (which I do appreciate, that's why I used it in the past). –  hpy Sep 2 '10 at 21:41
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10 Answers 10

If you are willing to go outside your comfort zone, LaTeX Beamer is really the only thing I have found that can match Keynote's output for Linux.

Ease of use is a problem with LaTeX though, look at LyX for a nice editor, and some examples.

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I'm not +1'ing just because I don't think that LaTeX is really a solution for someone who specifically mentioned 'ease of use.' But LaTeX is well worth learning and the Beamer class is the only thing I have found produces presentations that are as good (and usually better) than keynote or powerpoint. –  Steven D Sep 4 '10 at 6:59
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Ease of use is important to me, because I want to focus on the output, not the technicalities of putting slides together. But if Beamer really produces great slides, that might be worth the learning curve. Will check it out, thanks! –  hpy Sep 9 '10 at 18:44
    
Would like to second the choice of Beamer, and recommend the use of the Impressive (impressive.sourceforge.net) as a tool to presenting the presentation. –  01es Aug 11 '12 at 14:41
    
I'm using beamer on OS X :-) –  myfreeweb Mar 2 at 21:24
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One option that rarely gets mentioned is a little program called Ipe, which can be useful especially if you presentations are heavy in graphics.

Ipe is essentially a vector drawing program that can export pdf and has support for pages and layers, which makes it suitable for designing presentation. It uses LaTeX for text, so you need to learn at least some basic latex, but all positioning and drawing is done interactively in a GUI way. It is also scriptable in lua.

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Yes, there is OpenOffice.org Impress, LibreOffice Impress (which are pretty much the same thing) and there is KPresenter as a part of KOffice.org suite mainly for KDE although it works in GNOME. I would recommend you using a online based presentation editor which I find to be extremely easy and very similar to Keynote. It's called SlideRocket, it's free and requires only a Google account. And since it's web based, you can use it on any platform such as Windows, any Linux distro and Mac OS X.

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You can try the browser based ones and this in my opinion, stands out: Prezi

And ofcourse you have the online MS Office which has Powerpoint in it.

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Keynote is NOT the best presentation software, although it is certainly 10 times better than PowerPoint. There is another reigning king called SCALA InfoChannel that's always been ahead and never behind. The only problem is that sometime in the late 1990s they stopped publicly competing with Powerpoint although they were never that publicly open in the first place. But they have always been the best and easiest, but they have changed their focus to Digital Signage but the software still does what Keynote does and then some! It only runs on Windows, although it originated on the only "Proper Computer" I have ever used, the Amiga! Even on an old Amiga, SCALA InfoChannel (Last updated in 1994) can do things Keynote and Powerpoint cannot. Anyhow what I do is run Linux Mint 9 or 10 or Ubuntu 10.04 and then run Virtuabox with Windows XP Pro SP2, and install SCALA Infochannel Designer and output the presentations to another Monitor (sometimes you have to run Windows on that other monitor and SCALA within it as Virtualbox, ain't that great to give Windows a second monitor in emulation and voilà! Superb presentations! I am running SCALA Infochannel that was made for Pentium IIIs so it's a little old, but runs great. I did this to ensure that it works and because the interface still looks like the original one I used on the Amiga but the Amiga version was slightly better. Ubuntu is really getting darn good and I am glad I can use Windows as just a dongle for running SCALA.

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I just asked an Apple-minded buddy of mine what makes Keynote so cool, and he basically said that Keynote has a nifty screen while presenting, showing your notes and stuff. He couldn't name one unique feature that made Keynote cool apart from that. And as it happens, OpenOffice.org has the exact same thing. Sure the interface will be a bit different, but - as I understand it - there is nothing you can do with Keynote that you cannot do with Impress.

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Keynote produces incredibly high quality output. OO.o Impress is ok, but not even close to the level of polish the Keynote brings. Think of it as comparing an awesome typesetting solution like LaTeX to OO.o writer or MS Word. –  duffbeer703 Sep 6 '10 at 1:33
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Here's what I found at OSALT

They're (Impress and KPresenter) probably pretty comparable. I haven't used KPresenter but it's worth a look.

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if you have not actually used kpresenter, you are not qualified to say something like "probably pretty comparable." also, it is not. –  hop Sep 1 '10 at 21:20
    
Fair enough, just trying to provide a list of alternatives. –  vanillaike Sep 1 '10 at 21:51
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Checkout https://wiki.gnome.org/Ease , (last change in the code was 2010!)

"Present with Ease!

Ease is a modern desktop presentation application for GNOME, with Clutter-based visuals.

With a simple design, Ease is painless to use. It is intended to integrate well > into your current GNOME-based desktop."

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Is it still being actively developed? –  hpy Oct 3 '11 at 6:40
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While this is not exactly an answer, I can contribute describing the differences between Keynote, Impress and LaTeX Beamer. Previous answers only seem to have second hand knowledge of what Keynote can. What makes Apple Keynote "so cool" are the smart grids which lets you align stuff with great efficiency and speed. It also handles all kind of media files and is still extremely fast at it. In OpenOffice/LibreOffice you need much more clicks and submenues to align graphics or text. Once you have added images which have a slightly higher resolution it becomes unusable and slow to the point that you just hate to work with it because you are spending time on waiting for it to save the document. Trying to embed video files is even worse. The LaTeX Beamer class templates look terrible scientific and are not usable for presentations outside academia and research just because of thir graphic design (notable exeption: hsrmbeamertheme has a refreshing look). Sure you could make your own styles, but typically presentations are done with very little time, and you just want to throw some things in, not modify styles just to see how it looks when you have three pictures on one slide instead of one. This is where Keynote shines. Efficiency, ease of use and speed. Scala was praised here, but is a digital signage solution, I'm not sure if it even compares to presentation software at all. I currently use Scribus to make PDF documents, which I present using the pdf-presenter-console package, which is a great little tool. I have no solution for adding videos though, which can be a huge drawback compared to Keynote. There is a page in the Scribus Documentation get you started with PDF presentations

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Have you considered the iCloud based Keynote offering. Obviously not a REPLACEMENT, or OPEN, but it will give you some of that Apple polish on Linux.

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