There is a broad and well-developed distribution set of free software of which many applications are superior to similar commercial applications. Here are a few examples.
Description: Free – Commercial
Office productivity Suite: OpenOffice.org – Microsoft Office
Web browser: Firefox – Microsoft Internet Explorer
E-mail: Eudora – Microsoft Outlook Express
E-mail: Thunderbird – Microsoft Outlook Express
HTML Design: HTML Kit – Adobe HomeSite
These are five that first come to mind. Sadly, many of the IT administrators that I have met are not broadly talented; they may be competent at managing the assets currently under their purview, but they may not have a broad knowledge of available software applications, so I only occasionally see free software applications installed in commercial businesses. On a positive note, I often see free applications installed by volunteer consultants at nonprofit and charitable organizations, and I judge the distinction is that these companies seek outside assistance (volunteer consultants), and benefit from the breadth of knowledge that these independent consultants bring to their work.