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I started using Linux back in '94 and indeed it has changed quite a bit during the 11 years. I must admit that the OS I use today I enjoy much more than back then.
My point is in office applications. Though I know little of spreadsheets and presentation software, as an academic, I write a ton of papers. My wordprocessor of choice has been LyX from back in 98 to today. It is a much more innovative way of handling documents and writing vs. formatting text. I find it an indispensable tool in my arsenal. My wife uses it (on WinXP) for her papers, as does my next-door neighbor (on OSX), and other friends in graduate school (XP). They saw the output, they realized how insanely powerful the system was, and they wanted to start using it themselves.
OpenOffice is basically just a free copy. True. Very useful (I never leave home without it), but there are people innovating out there. They just don't get a lot of press.