This is always a fun tool to experiment with, overlay historical maps, and download them.
I don’t know when my laptop automatically upgraded, but the new version of Quantum GIS is out. With Linux you get new versions of software, for free, with minimal hassle.
It has some pretty nice new features, probably most important of which is the use of multiple-processor cores. This day of age, almost all computers have multiple-processors, such as my Samsung laptop with four cores. At least for on-screen rendering, having a multi-threaded setup, dramatically speeds QGIS. It also seems quite stable. I’m not sure if the map export feature is multi-threaded – it doesn’t appear that way, but I didn’t watch the CPU monitor that carefully. But it also seems somewhat faster.
Another great feature is “Shapeburst” shading. This makes the lakes and waterbodies look like Google Maps, where the center of the lake is a lighter color, while it gets darker as the borders approach, to make things stick out and more glossy. You can also use “Shapeburst” shading with state lands, to make glossy, easy to spot state land borders, like the DEC has done for years with their state land maps.