Everyone knows and agrees that “Blackboard is Ugly” but Blackboard simply won’t die because having been in the market the longest they are in someways best (if minimally) adapted to provided the services that colleges need.
Freeware suffers from a lack of development support, and as Blackboard imitators age they too grow less intuitive complex and outdated in their presentations of information.
I do think there is a solution, and it comes from the early days of the internet, a concept largely abandon except in the world of mathematics where we still use LaTeX. That solution is MARK UP LANGUAGE
more on LMS in this IMS blog