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Agree it's nice to stretch dollars for an office, particularly for a charity. There is certainly a conspiracy between leading hardware and software developers to drive up the base systems provided and needed. OK conspiracy is too strong a word - it's really just called 'marketing' and 'how can we figure out how to get XX% growth year on year?'.

If you can hop off that treadmill and say "I have enough" then that's great. Various functions have become commoditised and new versions offer "diminishing marginal utility" (had to make use of my Economics classes somehow :-) )

A first generation wordprocessor was better than a typewriter, hugely so. Word 2003 will offer in comparison trivial enhancementsto productivity over Word 2000 for most people.

Here is what appears to be a low cost, high value office-wide solution.

"Emergic Freedom cuts computing costs by up to 75%, thus providing an alternative for the "other 90%" of the world. It makes the dream of a computer on every desktop and in every home a reality, bridging the digital divide in every emerging market and enterprise."

The founder - Rajesh Jain - writes a terrific business oriented blog at


Wow. glad I was able to 'inspire' you.
My journey in to using Linux 100% wasn't a willing one - I accidently deleted my Windoze partition when i was installing RedHat 4.1 - no system restore disk, so off I went!
If you need to use PhotoShop, etc, check out VMWare.
I know of people who have VMWare running Windows running Linux running MacOSX running linux (crazier than I am!).
It's a good solution for people running Linux/FreeBSD that have to run Dreamweaver, Office, etc.
One of my friends back in Portland was a Linux geek, too. He had clients that gave him Visual Basic jobs. He fired up vmware, installed Windows, then installed VB Studio or whatever it is.
There is also Win4Lin.
SuSE Linux Professional is an excellent choice for business needs (commercial software included, etc).
Mandrake Linux was able to detect and set up my computers Winmodem (usually a "no go")and has excellent hardware support.
Mandrake is geared towards higher Pentium class.
Suse will run on anything, basically.
Package management (RPM) is excellent with either one. includes wine (wine is not an emulator), allowing you to run MS Office.
There is also CrossOver Office.
Win4Lin, VMWare and CrossOver Office are not free, but IMNSO probably worth it.
wine is free.

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