Both Xara and Serif make some darn good programs, that’s for sure.
I use image editing software from each all the time in my workflow. Used Xara for a recent reference print book I had to format, (over fifty photos!) but it is Serif for the e-book copy since a couple of required aspects are faster. *Opinion of this user only.
For free Starter Edition versions of a bunch of Serif programs, any interested check out http://www.serif.com/FreeDownloads/ I know a lot of peeps who just stay using the free versions.
And since BOTH companies seem to be coming out with a lot of ‘latest versions’ this year/on into the next the deals out there are coming fast and furious. Like since Serif is now up to “X5” I have also seen a bunch of their “4.0” ones out there for free, just a matter of web hunting.
Yup, it is a cool time to be into these sort of things, that’s for sure!