Was helping a not-so-technical friend build a new computer system recently. It used to be that the hardware was 90% of the cost of the system with software being 10%. Those days have long gone and now the equation is inverted.
I already had a copy of Windows 2000 lying around so we just used that instead of shelling out money for Windows XP. Couldn’t find my MS Office CD so instead of shelling at around $300 on Amazon.com for it, I instead went to OpenOffice.org and downloaded a FREE version of OpenOffice.
Its a free office suite that is MS Office compatible and works for all the uses I have. Maybe if you have some funky macros in Excel, they may not all work, but for the average user it should be good enough.
Also downloaded a free copy of TextPad from textpad.com to use instead of the lousy Notepad!