Karmic Koala: Ubuntu Linux 9.10 Goes Live (and Free)
Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) is now available for download. Sure, The newest Linux distro doesn't get the same sort of media attention as the Windows 7 release or the Snow Leopard upgrade, but hey: it's free. Bonus: you don't even need to use the command line to install stuff anymore. One feature that jumps out at me is Rhythmbox, which is a media player that syncs with PSPs, iPods, and other commercial MP3 players. It can also stream video from BBC's iPlayer if you're in the UK (or if your IP address says you're in the UK). Evolution, the email/calendar/address book app, is compatible with Outlook. Nice.
... Plus openOffice.org, which still kind of looks like something you'd find on Windows 98, but it's free and stable.
OpenOffice.org is compatible with all office applications including Microsoft Office.
The big difference is that OpenOffice.org is free (and promises never to introduce Mr Clippy)
If you've never used Linux before, Ubuntu worth a look, since it's very user-friendly: imagine if an entire operating system looked like Firefox, and you get the idea. I use an older Ubuntu distro on the test machine, and I really enjoy it. Linux still has considerably less software than Windows or Mac OSX, but most users only use their machines for office tasks and web browsing anyway. So, next time you need to reinstall your Windows OS (which will likely be sooner rather than later), just try installing Linux instead and see what happens. Besides, now you can be geeky in 23 languages, and that ain't bad.