Any other good graphic design software packages?



I'm new on here, have only replied to one post so far!

I'm just wondering what, if any, other good graphic design software programs/packages are out there?
I'm a final year student hoping to start a business early next year, but the cost of the software I know is absolutely ridiculous! An Imac and Adobe CS2/3/4 prices are extortionate even with student discount! (and I can't use the student edition for 'commercial gain').

We've always been taught on Apple Macs, and taught to use Adobe Indesign, Illustrator and Photoshop. Granted, they are the 'industry standard', but surely there must be others out there that can do the same job, at a fraction on the cost?! (and surely not EVERY SINGLE designer uses Adobe).

I've heard of Serif and Corel, but don't know anyone that uses them! Are they any good? What platforms are they available on? Are they as good as Adobe? What about compatibility with printers etc? And are the prices OTT?

Sorry for the essay and al the questions, but I need answers lol. Thanks in advacne for anyone who might reply!!!
If you are on a seriously tight budget, it might be worth using Linux and an operating system and the GIMP as a photoshop alternative. I'm not sure about vector or DTP software though...
Always worth looking at the previous version of software. You will find bargains to be had, esp for things like Corel - Corel 11 is great and can be found at very low prices, the later versions might have more "bells and whistles" but the chances of you needing them are slim.
Agree with Steve. I started off with Photoshop Elements 4.0, learnt most of what I know now from there and it cost about £40. Worth getting older versions, although they don't have some functions, they're still very good value.