What can I do with Linux?

The short answer: You can do anything on Linux that you can do on a commercial OS.

When you are choosing your computer system, you should focus your decision on what you want to do, not which programs you want to run.

If you want to provide a small network for four people to design web pages, and your web designers are all fluent in HTML (they should be), any Linux distro that includes Quanta+ or Bluefish should suit your software needs, and any four low-priced PCs with decent monitors and network cards should be adequate hardware.

If you want to provide a network for 50,000 engineers and detailers to design commercial jet aircraft with minimal physical modeling, you should probably contact CATIA.

Most computer users fall somewhere in the middle. No matter what you want to do with your computer, there is probably a Linux solution. The list below gives examples of Linux programs that can be used for specific purposes traditionally associated with well-known Microsoft products. This list is by no means exhaustive; there are often many Linux programs to choose from.

Microsoft Product Linux Equivalent
Internet Explorer Mozilla, Galeon, Konqueror
MS Office Open Office, Star Office
Outlook Express (mail) Mozilla, KMail, Evolution, Mutt
Outlook Express (news) Mozilla, KNode, Pan, slrn
Outlook (mail, calendar, scheduler) Evolution
Outlook (MS Exchange client) Connector (add-on to Evolution)
MS Exchange Server HP Open Mail
AutoCAD LinuxCAD
Front Page Nothing*

*As far as I know, there is no Linux HTML editor that requires proprietary server extensions, inserts large amounts of junk code into even the simplest web page, and creates serious security problems for servers that support it.