One of the biggest problems an educator has when looking for open source software is finding something that works like something already in use. Open source programs usually don't have marketing budgets and Google searches don't always help because many open source programs are still in development or have been abandoned years ago. You probably cannot ask your buddies at school which open source program they like because they don't use any or don't know that they are -- for example, FireFox. OSalt.com is a site that lets you see which open source programs are viable alternatives to commercials programs. And, remember, you don't need to run an open source operating system to run many open source programs. Many of them work great on Windows.