Web Browsers included:
Mozilla 1.21 is the default browser in Red Hat Linux 9, and it's a very nice browser by all standards, featuring tabbed browsing and pop-up blocking support among its features. Unfortunately, the included browser does not have plug-ins such as Java Virtual Machine/ShockWave/RealPlayer installed and that means that the end user will have to configure those plug-ins, easy to do in Windows but a pain in the neck in Linux.
The Konqueror (3.1-12) web browser is also included (KDE) and it's a nice browser by all accounts. I use Mozilla myself so I cannot really comment, but it too suffers from the lack of included plug-ins.
The Gnome-based Galeon is also included, and as above with Konqueror it's got lots of nice features and has its own audience, In fact, I like the way it does the google search bars, very neat integration with the browser. The included version of Galeon for those that care is 1.2.7.
The three browsers included above should be just fine for the average and even the advanced user, and as Mozilla is the default browser, most users will end up using it. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if the included version of Mozilla (1.21) is that stable or bug free (note the current version is 1.3) so my advice for people who intend to use Mozilla: please upgrade to the latest stable release and as a result you'll find plug-ins are much easier to install.
Instant messaging clients are all the rage, and Red Hat Linux 9 supplies enough to satisfy, so no complaints here.
Choose from GAIM, which is compatible with MSN messenger as I describe below, (and many other protocols which I don't) or LICQ.
OpenOffice is of course included as it was in Red Hat Linux 8.0, except this time it's a later version and you'll notice that it has an autocomplete icon which pops up, similar in a way to the 'clippy' icon so loved/hated in Microsoft Office.
An all-round package which is superb, lacking in TrueType Fonts but that's easily fixable. It still doesn't have an Outlook-type mail client equivalent, which is a shame for Windows to Linux switchers, however Evolution is a very good email application.
I don't use Linux as my business operating system (the company I work for uses Microsoft Windows 2000), however Red Hat 9 as it currently stands would do just about all I need to do in terms of mail handling, creating documents, checking Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and viewing or creating presentations although not perhaps as easily or elegantly as the Microsoft Office equivalents that I am used to.
My only gripe with OpenOffice is it has an annoying delay while loading up a module even on a very fast and current computer. Opening Microsoft Word in Windows XP on the same system is instantaneous compared to OpenOffice Writer. I guess some more work needs to be done in that department as this was the same in Red Hat 8.0, so hopefully in time this can improve. Once it's loaded, it's fine, but if you are in a hurry to read something in OpenOffice, then the delay can be tiresome.
I ran this entire article more than once through OpenOffice Writer (which is the Microsoft Word Equivalent) and it handled this really well. The spell checker was put to the test too, so if you spot some errors you know where to blame them. (Editor's note: this article was absolutely rife with spelling and punctuation errors when I received it, seriously)