Inspired by a recent experience, my latest entry at FSM offers my perspective on the question, has the free desktop revolution arrived? My wife's computer had hardware issues, so as a stop-gap I gave her an account on my Ubuntu desktop, then asked her about her experience.
I registered a new domain through DreamHost. They have very reasonable plans, starting at $7.95 a month, and I've used their services for several other sites that I've administered and had a positive experience working with them. My new site, the confluence is intended to be a collection of web applications that I've written and released to the public. Most programs will be released as GPL, as I believe fully in contributing to the community.
I'm working finishing a few applications; the tag cloud generator (name pending), eManiuplator (email address extraction, validation and list operations), eBrother (visualizes server usage), an email newsletter generator (name pending), and a service inspired by the old lowbrow.com site. The first three work, but need to be secured and cleaned up. The last two are in development.
I've discovered a new database class that assists in rapid application development; ezSQL v2.00. In their words, "ezSQL is a class that makes it ridiculously easy to use mySQL, Oracle8, SQLite (PHP), within your PHP script." It's got automatic query caching, built-in debugging functions, and works with Smarty. I really, really like the way it returns responses and the built-in functions are very useful. I suggest you give it a try.