OpenOffice can open and save in MS Office format, and is fine for most non-specialised uses of Office packages. Do bear in mind that extremely complex formatting may not be possible.
You should remember to set the Tools | Options | Load/Save | General | Default File Format to be the MSOffice equivalents, for easy distribution of end results.
Mac users can also try NeoOffice.
The GIMP - Image editing
The Gimp is a freely distributed piece of software for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. It works on many operating systems and is avalible in many languages. Download The GIMP
Mozilla Firefox - Web browsing
Mozilla Firefox is a web browser that is becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to Internet Explorer. Download Mozilla Firefox
Mozilla Thunderbird - Email
Thunderbird is a popular, free alternative to Outlook. The University Information Services provide configuration instructions.