LibreOffice is a comprehensive and free suite of business applications. In addition to text documents, spreadsheet, and presentations, LibreOffice is capable of creating and managing drawings, databases, and formulae. In this way it offers an alternative not only to Microsoft Office but also to MS Paint, LaTeX, and database managing software.
Although I cannot claim to have used LibreOffice as extensively as one who uses it as a complete substitute for commercial products, my impressions of it are highly favorable. The interface may not be quite as slick as I've become accustomed to with modern Mac software, but the integration of basic image creation and database manipulation seems like the perfect complement of this software to me. Back in the days of Appleworks, bundling basic graphical software with text software was a no-brainer - how is it that no basic Mac application today is capable of permitting a freeform squiggle? Databases, perhaps, aren't quite as useful to the average user, but the programmer in me rejoices at having an alternative to spreadsheets, one with the logic of a database built in rather than slapped on top.
LibreOffice is highly flexible and, what's more, appears to run faster than the free or commerical alternatives. I can't recommend enough that you give it a try and see if it suits your needs before spending hard-earned cash on the latest-and-maybe-not-greatest version of the industry standard. more