Desktop productivity tool No. 1: AbiWord 2.8.6 If all you want is a simple word processing application, and OpenOffice.org is overkill, consider AbiWord 2.8.6. Written to emulate the look and feel of Microsoft Word circa Office 97 through Office 2003, AbiWord also dependably emulates the vast majority of Word functions. Especially useful is a live-collaboration function that lets you connect to another AbiWord user across a network and work on the same document in real time. A word of caution: AbiWord can be tripped up by documents created in other programs. Some types of formatting aren't properly preserved, and some features supported in Word (and OpenOffice.org) don't always function as expected. When working with files created outside AbiWord, you should use copies instead of the originals.
AbiWord is word processing circa Word 2003. You'll find few frills -- or distractions.
Desktop productivity tool No. 2: Scribus 1.3.8 Scribus is a free open source desktop publishing program, one written with the kind of attention to the UI as displayed in Inkscape and Paint.NET. It sports layout and design tools that are on a par with commercial competitors, has a macro language à la GIMP with a number of prepackaged macros (for example, a calendar generator), can produce professional-quality CMYK PDFs, and even includes a "preflight check" function to make sure what you see really is what you get. Note that you get the best results when you use Scribus in conjunction with a dedicated text processing system; it's not a word processor in its own right and isn't suited yet to automatically laying out long-form documents. Also, as with Inkscape, internal support for color-matching systems like Pantone is missing, although you can partly work around this limitation.
Scribus comes with a number of templates for reuse, such as this newsletter template. Note the story editor window, which is designed for direct editing of the contents of text frames.