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+ - I need suggestions for a tech-deprived audience

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jmvbxx writes "This is the situation:

I want to create a series of small applications aimed at the business community in South America. Applications that we, in more developed nations, might take for granted (ex. HR, payroll, CRM, etc). The main problem I have is that M$ has near 100% market penetration with next-to-no awareness, or knowledge, of the basic open source alternatives.

My question is:

Keeping in mind that I am not going to code for a Windows machine, what do you, the community, think would be best solutions? For example, I am seriously considering Rails (w/ MySQL) but now there is so much buzz about Ajax that I don't know which way I should head first.

So, what do you think? What approach would you take? (keeping in mind that I would like to use open technologies, if possible)"

If it smells it's chemistry, if it crawls it's biology, if it doesn't work it's physics.