12) Office Suite: OpenOffice.org
It's a given that any laptop under $400 isn't going to come with Microsoft Office, which starts around $150 for the Home and Student Edition. OpenOffice.org lets you create and read Office files and includes word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, database, graphics, and scientific notation software.
13) Document Management: Inforama
While it's designed for enterprise use, the community version of Inforama can be deployed by a single user to create templates, merge with databases, add bar codes to documents, and create customized PDFs.
14) PDF Reader: Sumatra PDF Reader
Sumatra is an open source, extremely lightweight alternative to Acrobat Reader on the Windows OS. The installed files take up just 1.1MB of space (ideal if your laptop has a small hard drive) and files open very quickly. Unfortunately, it may take longer to print files from Sumatra if your printer doesn't have a lot of memory.
15) PDF Creator: PDF Creator
Adobe's PDF software is notoriously expensive, but PDF forge's alternative is available for free. It allows you to create PDFs (as well as JPG, TIFF, BMP, and other graphic files) from any program that is able to print.
16) Compression Utility: 7-Zip
If you ever need to e-mail large files, compression software can help you avoid problems with mailbox limits. 7-Zip can pack and unpack archive files with the most common file formats, and it offers a higher compression ratio than most alternatives.
17) Audio Editor: Audacity
Audacity makes it easy to record your own podcast, convert audio files from one format to another, mix sounds, and perform basic audio editing. With more than 56 million downloads, it's one of the most popular open-source applications, and it runs on both Linux and Windows, as well as OS X.
18) Music Player and Manager: aTunes
Much like a more well known "Tunes" program that also starts with a vowel, aTunes lets you play music, create playlists, view and edit tags, and rip CDS. And because it's Java-based, it runs on any platform.
19) Video player: VLC Media Player
The VLC Media Player lets you view DVDs, CDs, and streaming video, as well as listen to audio files. You can also use it as a server to stream your own video feeds. It runs on both Windows and Linux.
20) Graphics Editing: Inkscape
Similar to programs like Freehand, Draw, or Illustrator, Inkscape lets you create and edit vector-graphics. In other words, you can use it to create your own logo or simple drawings for a web site, but it doesn't edit photos.
21) Photo Editing: GIMP
The open-source answer to Photoshop, GIMP lets you retouch pictures, crop, adjust color, and much more. It supports multiple file formats, and as a bonus for laptops with limited hard drive space, you can set it to automatically compress photos.