The operating system debate is too big and heated to diminish its value, but then again, the OS is meant to sit there and serve as the platform where your work is actually done, not in the OS, but in the applications you use.
You may call them your software essentials because you rely on them on a daily basis for work or for pleasure. Another way of going about it is that after a clean format you simply cannot move forward without first installing those applications you use.
Tell us about those software gems you love, share them with the rest of the community, so we can all learn about new apps. As the discussion moves forward, me and other members of the staff will share our favorite applications as well.