I think most people like to kid themselves about just how much they need from their software and operating system - as well as how much of those huge feature sets they actually use. And I find that true for Windows, OSX and even Linux.
From where I sit and from what I've seen (and after all these years in IT and tech support, I've seen plenty
!) most users are nowhere near as "expert," "saavy," or "power user" as they like to pretend. Most of what passes for "expertise" on the desktop user level is little more than having a large collection of tips & tricks gleaned from reading various blogs and magazine articles. It's like a big bag of pretty beads without a string holding them together.
Transitioning to Linux is no big deal. It works well. And NIX, along with the standard productivity apps it supports, fits 95% of all use cases for 99% of all PC users. If it didn't, it wouldn't get used anywhere near as much as it does.
Some random thoughts on apps:
As far as Photoshop goes, it's a very capable graphics app. GIMP is not
the same as Photoshop. There are many functional and feature similarities between the two. But the target users and design philosophy driving each of them are very different. So it's hardly surprising one size doesn't fit all when it comes to that category of app. As a pure paint program I always though PaintShop Pro versions 6 and 7 were far better and more focused than the bloated Swiss Army knife Photoshop increasingly came to resemble - if
you wanted a paint program
. As did a lot of designers I knew who often started a project in something like PaintShop Pro and later moved their files over to Photoshop when they needed a feature only that could provide to "finish up" - or if they were doing final prep for traditional press printing. But this is old news to anybody who actually does this stuff professionally. And FWIW, if you really need Photoshop - and you're running nothing but Linux (and god only knows why
if you heavily rely on Photoshop for your work) - you can always set it up in a VM, where it runs just fine as long as you have a capable CPU and sufficient RAM. ANd a lot of RAM and a powerful chip is something you should have in order to effectively
run Photoshop natively anyway. Because that app is a resource gobbler if there ever was one. That sort of power always comes at a price where system resources are concerned.
Word vs Writer is largely a tempest in a teapot. If you need full MS Office integration (and in a corporate job environment you very likely might) then Office is your oyster. If you don't Writer will do you just fine. If you do a lot of writing, or do it professionally, you probably have already changed your work flow and use a so-called distraction-free writing environment to do your early drafts anyway. That trick works so well that Microsoft eventually incorporated its own "full screen viewing" with a minimal toolbar setting starting with Word 2010/2011. So for straight ahead wordsmithing, either app should work equally well for you. If you want full suite integration (i.e. pulling charts and tables in from other apps in the suite, data sharing, etc.) MS Office holds the edge. And for the price being charged for it, it damn well better AFAIC.
Outlook is an interesting app. If
it's wedded to an MS Exchange back-end (as it's intended to be), there's very little it can't do. If you don't need enterprise features - or have to integrate and coordinate your communications and schedule with several dozen team members or coworkers - it's utter overkill. It's a nice PM to be sure. But few people need that degree of organization to do their work or live their lives. If you are
one of those people however, by all means use Outlook. It'll do you proud. But if you're more an ordinary civilian type, there are lots of other capable and simpler alternatives you could just as easily use.
I really dislike Publisher. Same goes for PowerPoint. The reasons are personal and philosophical and not worth going into in the context of this thread. So all I'll say about those two apps (along with their Libre counterparts) is: If you like 'em - use 'em.
Excel has carved out a rather unique niche for itself. In many respects deserved. IMO it's the finest product in Microsoft's catalog, even if I do think they barfed it up royally with that ribbon bar. It's also important to accept that Excel has become the de facto
standard for this category of software. So if you're sharing (or expecting to someday share) spreadsheets with other
spreadsheet users (who are using Excel) - do yourself and them a big favor and just use Excel. You can run it in a VM. But I think it's just easier to keep a Windows machine on hand if you're a big Excel (or MS Office for that matter) user. Hardware is cheap enough these days. And having two PCs on your desk isn't that uncommon anymore. FWIW, Excel is the one and only reason I'll probably always have a Windows laptop somewhere in my house, no matter what.
Maybe I'm not happy about that since I transitioned over to Linux for my own uses quite a while ago. And I really dislike the direction and future Microsoft is steering it's users towards. But that's not a battle I'm willing to get dragged into as long as I have an alternative. And I do. So to me it's one of those "Render unto Caesar
" things. And hardly something worth getting into a tizzy over. I just occasionally flick a small coin or two into Microsoft's tax coffers, smile my most insincere smile at the two suspiciously frowning legionnaires who are standing nearby, and go on my merry way.
Life is too short to get into battles over software choices. Or at least so I think. YMMV.