Best alternatives for Adobe Illustrator

Ok, so on Monday Adobe announced that it was going to end its Creative Suite boxed suite of design and editing products in favor of its monthly subscription Creative Cloud suite.

I am not looking to debate whether or not this is a better idea - I think its not because I do not upgrade with every iteration, so in the end it costs more money, money I have to pay in perpetuity.

I don't feel entitled to the next version of Creative Suite - if Adobe thinks this is the sound business model to follow, then so be it. I also think if they want to change the relationship between their clients and them, I can change that relationship as well, by not buying their product.

So here's my question - what is the most viable alternative to Illustrator? As part of a publications firm, we have many people using Creative Suite (all legal copies) and the subscription model just won't work. I have an idea of alternatives as far as layout, and an idea of different programs that kind of can take Photoshop's place.

Acrobat, Distiller, Dremweaver - I am all wondering about, but the biggest one is Illustrator.

What programs work the best, what are they missing? Is there any program that looks promising, that say may be developed in the next couple of years?