There is a future in Linux application development. About 99%of all software is applications, and that means on Linux too.
Open Office has extensive VBA-like features. You can go down that path if you want.
You can also use Visual Basic on Linux (either native or under WINE). But you can also use COBOL on Linux. The point is, if you're moving to Linux you might as well program the Linux way. The nearest Windows technology that's properly Linux is Mono, which is a .NET and C# technology.
There is extensive support on Linux for non-graphical applications. Web Application servers are a common example. Linux includes numerous easy and hard programming languages.
If you want to build graphical clients using real Linux technology, then the five big paths you can go down are: Java, Web-based clients, Tcl/Tk, low level C/C++ with Gtk/Qt/X, and Mozilla XUL applications.
This was first published in September 2004