Avery good review - not biased either (not that I noticed).
If somebody is going to pay ### UKP for a Windows XP PC then you're going to want software (other than VRPC) to use this. Besides, The Sims is an excellent game - my sister has several expansion packs and I enjoy it at times too! :p
OpenOffice is an excellent package - I'm surprised MS haven't done something about the uncanny similarities to the MS Office interface.
As for software liscences - what's the point? The IT technician at school said something to me once that seemed very apparent; you never own the software you pay for. It makes you wonder what the point in paying for software is? If you actually read liscence agreements you find you never actually own the software, merely the right to use it. MS could come and take all your software whenever they feel like it. That MS dream is already here, except we're paying a one off lifetime rental, not a monthly rental.