Yesterday I have been invited to a meeting:
http://www.ba.itc.cnr.it/workshop_2007.html a long course, mainly based on qgis, was administered to 18 young
graduates, who then went for stages to small public administrations who
did not have a GIS infrastructure, and set it up for them.
Now they have enough expertise, and a tool that is good enough for them
to go and search for a job.
I believe this is a success, and one that would not have been possible
without free software (and qgis in particular).
Incidentally, the main problem reported was printing, so the efforts by
Steven Bell are particularly appreciated.
All the best.