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As with most people, I think it comes down to the type software you require. Being in the design business, the main leader in this field is Adobe. You’ll find that 99.9% of ‘professional’ designers use this software, no matter whether they’re on a Mac or PC, designing for the web or print. It’s purely something that’s required, if you want to keep in the game.

On the other hand, providing web development services, I find that there is a huge uptake of Open Source software. This can range from operating systems like Linux, web development software such as PHP, mySQL, or even software applications such as Shopping carts (osCommerce), Forums (phpBB) or as others have mentioned, Open Office (just to name a few).

The best thing to do is to have a good look around to see what’s available, both ‘free’ and paid and weigh up the merits of both in terms of what they can provide, price etc. etc.