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Corel Software Linux

Corel To Test WordPerfect For Linux 426

Posted by simoniker
from the we-have-a-corel-icon dept.
prostoalex writes "CNET News says Corel will introduce a native Linux version of its WordPerfect Office product on April 15th . This will be a pilot project, as Corel executives want to find out whether it's worth competing with the other products (namely StarOffice and OpenOffice)." The piece mentions: "Corel previously produced a Linux-native version of WordPerfect 8, released in 1998, and offered a Linux-translated version of WordPerfect 9 in 2000, when Linux was still a cornerstone of the company's broader strategy."
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Corel To Test WordPerfect For Linux

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  • by jellomizer (103300) * on Friday April 02, 2004 @07:19AM (#8745544)
    as a Beta Tester for Wordperfect Office 2000. And even the final version it just stank. It seemed to use Wine to emulate most of the program and what didn't work in wine they reprogrammed to work for Linux. So I wouldn't say that WP 2000 was a Native Linux App, It just kinda Ran in it barely. WP 8 on the other hand ran quite well because they ported the Unix version and not the windows version. I liked WP as a word processor much better then Word or Star/Open Office. It seemed to well designed for word processing and it did it well. But the WP 2000 for Linux was to sluggish and looked to much like the windows version to fit into the linux desktop, and it required a lot of junk most linux apps didn't need and made loading on a remote X difficult (Which is what I did a lot in college when I was beta testing it because I like to work on the schools Sun Workstations with the Unix Keyboard and the 19" monitors) so when a good version of Staroffice came out I started using that because it worked well with Linux and Solaris (even though the install was stupid at the time)
    What I always found odd was the fact that WP hasn't been ported to the Apple Mac OS X environment. They could probably do some good business because a lot of the time the Apple users only use office is because there is no decent alternative. Appleworks just stinks, OpenOffice is not quite there yet for the mac. WP would be a good more affordable solution on the mac platform as well.
    • by DrXym (126579) on Friday April 02, 2004 @07:44AM (#8745630)
      Presumably though you could build a Win32 app against the Wine libs. It would still be a native Linux application (not emulated), just that it would use the Win32 API, instead of GTK for example.
      • Yes, you could... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Svartalf (2997) on Friday April 02, 2004 @07:54AM (#8745669) Homepage
        The problem with that is that it's still:

        1) A Windows app. It doesn't use ANY special features of Linux/Unix

        2) Still slower than GTK+ for many things because it's abstracting the Windows API to the X11 one and has to do many things in an inefficient manner to duplicate Windows behaviors.
        • Re:Yes, you could... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by DrXym (126579) on Friday April 02, 2004 @08:56AM (#8745890)
          I don't see that either of those things need be true.

          1) A Windows app. It doesn't use ANY special features of Linux/Unix

          So some #ifdef statements are in order? A hybrid approach is entirely feasible - Mozilla on the Mac OS X uses a Carbon front-end and a Unix backend. WP is not constrained to use Win32 exclusively and could go off and do its own thing for drag & drop and other interactions if it wanted. I'm not saying that WP does do this, just that it could.

          2) Still slower than GTK+ for many things because it's abstracting the Windows API to the X11 one and has to do many things in an inefficient manner to duplicate Windows behaviors.

          But GTK, QT, wxWindows and VCL (openoffice) are all abstractions too. While Win32 isn't going to be an exact fit for the X environment, most of the time it's not going to make a significant difference to performance. The biggest problem is not the API, but how optimal Wine is in its implementation. You'd have to ask a Wine guru that, but it seems to work alright to me. The biggest issue with native apps using Wine is you might be on very dodgy legal ground if you need to compile MFC / ATL on Linux to do it.

      • by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Friday April 02, 2004 @10:04AM (#8746516) Homepage Journal
        Presumably though you could build a Win32 app against the Wine libs. It would still be a native Linux application (not emulated), just that it would use the Win32 API, instead of GTK for example.

        This was the original intention, and in fact the reason Corel put so much work into the WINE Win32 API's in the first place. They had intended to compile their entire product line against Winelib to produce "Linux native" binaries.

        Unfortunately, they were unable to get WordPerfect to build in the GNU development environment. Well, actually, they phrased it as, the GNU development environment was unable to build WordPerfect, but considering the existence of megaprojects like OpenOffice.org and Mozilla that build just fine under GNU, I don't think that's true.

        So anyway, they just kept on building on Windows, making sure that they didn't use any API's that WINE would barf on (or fixing those API's in WINE as they went) and when it was time to ship the "Linux Version" they just boxed up the Windows binaries along with a single-purpose version of WINE (some people started calling these "Winelets"). Needless to say, the entire Linux community scoffed this in unison.

        So, I hope they're serious about a truly native version this time. If it's WINE, no good. If it's Winelib, that would be somewhat acceptable. If it's a continuation of the WP8 series, still built against Motif, it's just not going to look good next to modern Linux programs. Unfortunately, if they want to get taken seriously at all, they're going to have to go the extra mile and rebuild the front end with GTK or Qt. If they're truly smart, they'll use one of these toolkits and build a truly portable application.
        • by gavriels (55831) on Friday April 02, 2004 @03:24PM (#8749790) Homepage
          Ok, so as the former architect for the Corel WINE efforts (I left to start TransGaming a few weeks after WPO2K/Linux shipped), here are my recollections.

          We paid Cygnus large buckets of cash to add several features that we needed to gcc. The big one was precompiled headers. Just about any Win32-targeted app needs pch, since they tend to #include everything under the sun and just assume that the compiler will go quickly.

          Michael Tiemann (now CTO of RedHat) personally did the work, and made great progress with build times. Building MFC on our dual PII-400 boxes went from 45 minutes to about 45 seconds. Unfortunately, the gcc maintainers didn't like his approach to pch, and they're still trying to work out how to do a better job.

          In the meantime, some of our development team was working feverishly to bring the WPO build system over to Linux - since it consisted of thousands of lines of dos scripts, we built a perl-based dos command.com interpreter that mapped the MS compiler options to appropriate gcc options as needed.

          While all this was going on, we were also attacking the problem from the binary-compatibility angle, using the .EXE builds from Windows and improving WINE where needed.

          After several months of continued work on gcc to get it building some of the stupidly complex C++ code WordPerfect used, we did manage to get large chunks of the suite's engines 'natively' built in gcc. But it was much less stable than the Win32 EXE builds that we had, and it was much more painful to deal with than the EXE builds.

          The only thing that building with gcc gave us was debug symbols in the WP code, so we could step through WP code as well as Wine code. Once we had completed the work needed to get cross-debugging working (debug the EXE code executing on a Linux box via the MSDev IDE on the Windows side), that wasn't needed anymore.

          At that point, we had no more reason to build with gcc, and so we switched over to using the EXEs. Ultimately, it improved performance, since MSDev generates better code than gcc does in many cases (still true). Despite what some people may believe, there is *NO* performance loss in running with EXE vs .so binaries when linked with Wine. Saying that there is is pure FUD.

          Where did WPO2k/Linux fall down? Several places. The biggest one was the Font Server. We chose to use BitStream's 'Fontastic' font server rather than Freetype due to concerns over patents. That meant that WPO needed to have this custom font server running in order to get access to detailed font data such as outlines, etc. XFree86 4.0 shipped at the same time that we did and made some subtle changes to some of the x commands we were using to set up the font server. That meant that immediately, anyone running XFree86 4.0 had trouble with the product. That's where the bulk of user problems were. The font server also had some stability problems, and if it went, so did WPO.

          Corel developed a patch, but never released it. I have no idea why - I was long gone by then. The patch was almost all in the Wine code, and several users figured out how to build 'corelwine' packages and get things working with it. The patch fixed some ugly repainting issues, which are among the most problematic things to get right in a Win32 implementation.

          That said, other than the font server difficulties, the product ran very well. I used it for several years for real work without any serious trouble. Only in the last 12 months has it suffered due to the glibc changes in recent distributions.

          I have no idea what the deal is behind this new release, but I suspect that it's just an update of the old, outdated WP8/Unix code to run on newer systems. It's almost certainly not the whole suite.

          Take care,
          -Gav

          Gavriel State, Co-CEO & CTO
          TransGaming Technologies Inc.
      • by aussersterne (212916) on Friday April 02, 2004 @10:23AM (#8746688) Homepage
        If they had done that (linked against the libs), that would have solved some of the problems that the suite had.

        Instead, they installed a complete Wine environment and commands like 'wordperfect' that started the word processor were really just scripts that called 'wine' to load the win32 binaries.

        The trouble was that a) their version of wine was a hacked up fork and would ONLY work with their binaries, but b) they didn't change the components so as not to interfere with other wine incarnations (i.e. winehq, codeweavers). So, whenever WordPerfect for Linux was loaded, no other Wine applications would run because of things like wineserver conflicts.

        There were innumerable problems with the suite, but that was one of them.
        • Both of these assertions are incorrecect.

          1) The Corel version of Wine was able to run other apps if you wanted it to. Certainly it was optimized for WPO, and you had to muck with some startup scripts to get it running other apps.

          2) The WPO install specifically put all of its Wine related files in /usr/lib/corel/wine. It set the WINEPREFIX up to be ~/.wpo2000. Thus, it was explicitly designed to *NOT* interfere with any other Wine incarnation.

          BTW, CodeWeavers Crossover products were not available until
          • Sorry, but I own the product and am one of the few that have it installed and working in Red Hat 9 and I have personally edited the wpolauncher script to do all sorts of things, just to get it to load in a glibc 2.3.2 environment.

            The FACTS are:

            1) When it was released, the WPO wine would NOT run the other software that I ran under wineHQ wine (i.e. MS Office 97). Since there were never any real updates to WPO wine, this continues to be the case, naturally.

            2) If WPO wine was running, wineHQ wine would NOT
    • by droleary (47999) on Friday April 02, 2004 @07:46AM (#8745637) Homepage

      What I always found odd was the fact that WP hasn't been ported to the Apple Mac OS X environment.

      It's not just odd, it's downright brain-dead from a business perspective. I say it every time I see a game get a Linux port and not a Mac port, too. The Mac desktop market dwarfs Linux the same way that the Windows market dwarfs it. It's easy to see that anyone who can be satisfied with a Linux desktop is also probably satisfied with available free office suites, whereas Mac users don't have the same choices in native versions and are further used to paying for such software. So, what, their master plan is to throw millions at something with a market that is maybe in the tens of thousands? This is just a stupid move, and someone at Corel should almost certainly be fired over it.

      • by cubicledrone (681598) on Friday April 02, 2004 @07:55AM (#8745670)
        This is just a stupid move, and someone at Corel should almost certainly be fired over it.

        No. People don't get fired for reasons any more. They just get fired. Look at the Apprentice. The suffering and misfortune of the powerless is sport now. Televised sport.

      • Mac is for home users, Linux is better for compainies than mac.

        also maybe theyre looking at the future. if linux ever does become main stream, and i believe it will (so do they probably), they will have made friends with the linux community, have a product that people know works on linux, and people wont just think they jumped on the band wagon when it suited them.

        Problem is, if the "linux will be mainstream one day" is as accurate as "BSD is dying".....

      • Mac Desktop market (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Decaff (42676) on Friday April 02, 2004 @08:31AM (#8745787)
        The Mac desktop market dwarfs Linux the same way that the Windows market dwarfs it.

        Actually, No. In terms of sales, both Mac and Linux desktops are each 3-4% of the desktop market. Sales is not a good measure of Linux though, as its freely distributable. Also, a considerable number of desktop systems are purchased as Windows and then have Linux installed, so the Linux could well be at least a few percent higher. Incidentally, this implies that MS Windows sales don't correspond to use.
        • by Bastian (66383) on Friday April 02, 2004 @08:58AM (#8745902)
          But it's probably worth pointing out that a whole lot of Linux users also have a Windows box sitting around somewhere (or sharing space inside the Linux box.) Mac users tend to only have a Mac.

          So there might be a lot of Linux users who just use WP for Windows and more would be using OpenOffice. On the Mac, though, a signifigantly higher percentage of of users are probably screaming for a decent office suite since they don't own PC's, OO.org's OS X port isn't exactly the greatest thing in the world, and AppleWorks is flat-out poop.

          The reason why the Mac market hasn't been to strong for games is because Mac gamers do buy PCs for games, and the Mac ports are usually crappy so why bother buying it?
      • Depending on the numbers used, Linux is equal or greater than Mac use.
      • by Repugnant_Shit (263651) on Friday April 02, 2004 @08:35AM (#8745805)
        This is just a guess (I'm not a game developer) but most Linux game ports do NOT work on Linux, they work on x86 Linux. I guess it's much easier to port a game to a different OS on the same architecture than to a different OS on a completely different arch.
      • by krunk7 (748055) on Friday April 02, 2004 @08:48AM (#8745848)

        Interesting opinion. However, it's impossible to track the actual number of linux users by virtue that it can be downloaded for free. Even those of us who support our OO distro or software of choice often do so in the form of "donations" and not boxed purchases.

        That being said, I have a slight tendancy to trust the opinions of those who have millions of dollars to spend analyzing the market for true potential rather than a slashdotter ranting about his OS of choice, throwing platitudes left and right.

        Corel is about making money. If they thought there was a realistic chance of making money with the Mac market, they'd port in a second.

        The only thing that will tell is time and if Mac users keep channting to themselves they're "the premium second place guy" one day there going to wake up and realize that they aren't. And that's the real key, Apple still has it's same base of loyal users it's had forever while Linux is growing in leaps and bounds each year. Money is to be made in growing markets not stagnate ones with relative market roles already established.

        • by yog (19073) on Friday April 02, 2004 @09:49AM (#8746368) Homepage Journal
          You'd think.

          Unfortunately, Corel seems to have called it wrong several times in the past. They bought Wordperfect from Novell, a questionable move to begin with, and proceeded to sit on it and not market it aggressively.

          They then half-heartedly began their Java/Linux initiative, came up with a very promising user-friendly Linux distro, and then dropped it.

          More recently, I attempted to obtain the original Wordperfect for Linux from their website because I had a wordperfect document to convert--it's simply not available. When you consider the breadth and depth of the original Wordperfect Corp.'s offerings, where they had a powerful and universally respected product running on several platforms and the original CEO said he'd rather see it running everywhere even as pirated copies, this current stewardship of the Wordperfect line is just pathetic.

          To top things off, Corel accepted a huge investment from Microsoft--the ultimate humiliation. Microsoft obviously just did it to fend off accusations of monopolistic practices (and to neutralize Corel in the PC office software and desktop OS space).

          Now we're expected to trust Corel on this new initiative. Meh. I'll believe it when I see it. Corel once upon a time was an innovative company with its cool graphics software, but they've lost their edge. Too bad.

        • To be fair, when OSX came out, a lot of geeks jumped ship from Linux (at least on the desktop - opendarwin is a less than ideal candidate for your firewall for example) to OSX. I doubt it caused any actual reduction of Linux desktop market share, though, just a deceleration of grown for the first year of OSX or so. Then all the people who can afford to drop $2k+ on a computer because it's pretty will have been satisfied, and Linux growth will have gone back to normal. Granted MacOS 10.3 is very neat and doe
        • by bedouin (248624) on Friday April 02, 2004 @09:55AM (#8746429)
          And that's the real key, Apple still has it's same base of loyal users it's had forever while Linux is growing in leaps and bounds each year.

          If anything, Apple is losing some of its traditional fan base due to the switch to OS X. On the other hand, former desktop Linux users like myself have started buying Macs in droves because of OS X, but still left Linux on the servers . . .

          Just as the nature of Windows sucks due to its predatory father, unoriginal design, and poor security, Linux on the desktop sucks due to its unorganized nature and lack of homogeneity (and also lack of originality in some respects).

          Now all of that doesn't much matter to me on a server: I set it up, lock it down, keep it updated, and forget about it. My desktop however, I'm staring at and navigating hours a day. It needs to be as simple as possible. Linux does not offer that, at least as well as OS X does, and due to its scattered nature, probably never will without some big name pushing for standardization.

          What Linux does, and really any good alternative OS does is show people that there is a another, and oftentimes better way of getting work done. The first OS that showed me this fact was BeOS, which led me to Linux soon after, then finally to OS X. In other words, alternatives made me incredibly picky about what I used, since I perceived there to be a choice.

          So though I'm advocating OS X . . . I really appreciate any diversity that crops up, because it forces people to start looking at alternatives. One less person running Windows means one less individual out there propagating Adolph Gates' plan for total information lock down and control.

          You're looking at this all the wrong way. I don't want a second, third, or even fourth. I want abundant alternatives just like there were in the 80's. How many game manufactures during that time supported three or four platforms at once (Atari, Apple ][, c64, PC). The more competition that's allowed to exist in the market, the more creative things we'll see pop up; however, when one guy is allowed to dominate the entire field things become stagnant, predictable, and boring -- just like they have been since MS monopolized the industry.

          Now if there's MORE than two or three alternatives, and each has a substantial user-base, no manufacture can consider it merely any OS niche. In fact, if the target market is always like this, programmers will try and make their code more portable from the very beginning, knowing it will likely need to run on multiple platforms.
      • "The Mac desktop market dwarfs Linux the same way that the Windows market dwarfs it"

        Recent numbers I have seen in articles about Linux (cannot find em right now) on the desktop seem to suggest that is untrue. Linux desktops apparently are almost on par with the Mac Desktop numbers.

        You have other numbers?

        "/Dread"
      • Corel was creating WordPerfect 4 for Mac, but then gave up. They released WP 3.5e free for binary download. Not as good as the Windows version, but not bad for the price.

        About two years ago they took it down with no explanation. Go figure.

      • by RoLi (141856) on Friday April 02, 2004 @09:01AM (#8745914)
        The big difference is that the Mac-market gets smaller while the Linux market gets bigger.

        China is looking at Linux, not Mac. In Thailand most computers are already preloaded with Linux, not MacOS. Munich is switching to Linux, not MacOS.

        Also, just linking an app against winelib is much more cost-effective than having to buy new hardware and port it to some Mac-API.

      • by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Friday April 02, 2004 @09:52AM (#8746402) Journal
        Mac will *NEVER* grow its marketshare. It is what it is, and aint getting any bigger. Linux on the other hand, is seemingly poised for a significant boost in market share. So it could very well overcome mac in just a couple of years. PLus, there is a Mac version of MS office. On linux, they don't have to compete with that 1000 pound gorilla.
    • Wrong product! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by RoLi (141856) on Friday April 02, 2004 @08:55AM (#8745879)
      What we would need is Corel-Draw, not WordPerfect.

      Corel-Draw would not have much competition on the Linux platform, but WordPerfect will.

      • Re:Wrong product! (Score:3, Informative)

        by drinkypoo (153816)
        Corel Draw has in the past been the buggiest commercial software ever. If they did a Linux port, I'd be trying to find out if there's any similarity between the old dev team and the new one, and if there was, I'd run the other way. Their WP Linux offering, which I tested the full version of, was a big POS as well. They'll have to do much better today if they hope to achieve anything. Frankly, I think Wordperfect has no chance to survive and this is an act of desperation. I can't imagine they'll make many Li
  • by yanestra (526590) on Friday April 02, 2004 @07:19AM (#8745548) Journal
    The main problem problems with WordPerfect in the past were IMHO that the all (even i18n'ed) versions had problems with X11 international keyboard codes. There were some funny (or destructive) effects, and several key combinations weren't working at all.

    You could say that WordPerfect was effectively unusable. As this didn't change with the update of WP 7 to WP 8 (AFAIR), I stopped trying. At that time, I got the impression that Corel was not quite sure about the competitiveness of their own product and preferred the option of letting it die slowly.

    I hope that the people at Corel finally understand that there IS a problem and start fixing it.

  • To little to late? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rf0 (159958) * <rghf@fsck.me.uk> on Friday April 02, 2004 @07:20AM (#8745549) Homepage
    Prehaps as Corel see that the Windows market is lost they are trying to made headway back into the Linux market when Open Office is the leader. Will it be back to a world of incompatible filetypes again?

    Rus
    • by jellomizer (103300) * on Friday April 02, 2004 @07:22AM (#8745558)
      Will it be back to a world of incompatible filetypes again?
      It never ended. Just because most people decided on the Word Format it is just as bad as using a WP format and others. They still really haven't came out with a good Open standard for word processing except for richtext.
      • by cozziewozzie (344246) on Friday April 02, 2004 @08:20AM (#8745764)
        Well, OASIS [openoffice.org] file format is nearly finished and open for anyone to use. So far, OpenOffice.org, StarOffice and KOffice are set to standardise on it as their native file format. As long as WordPerfect offers a possibility of reading/saving this format flawlessly (which is certainly doable as the format is open), they will score many points in the Free Software community. This would be the real signal that Corel is taking us seriously.
    • by Dreadlord (671979)
      From their FAQ [corel.com]:

      Is WordPerfect Office 11 compatible with other office suites and file formats?
      Yes, WordPerfect Office 11 lets you share files with people and organizations using other applications and suites - including Microsoft Office. The flexible file-sharing capabilities of WordPerfect Office 11 allow you to publish to XML, PDF and HTML. Plus, enjoy support for many open standard technologies, including ODBC, SGML and OLAP.


      So even if WordPerfect Office has its own file formats, it can export files
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 02, 2004 @07:37AM (#8745607)
        Saying that WP files can be read elsewhere because they use XML is like saying one IM program can connect to all others because it uses TCP/IP, or configuration files for one program will work for all other apps because they're plain ASCII.

        XML, by itself, is not a format, people!
        • Yes, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Moth7 (699815) <mike...brownbill@@@gmail...com> on Friday April 02, 2004 @07:41AM (#8745621) Journal
          Using XML makes it far easier to write the code that reads the format. If you use an XML format you can't be acc#used of lock-in because if a developer wishes for his app to read your format then all he has to do is hook an xml parser and interpret it. Now take that in comparison with an encrypted binary format...
          • Re:Yes, but... (Score:3, Insightful)

            by zhenlin (722930)
            Ahem.

            Excerpted from ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.itunes.eq.plist:

            AAAAAABBAGMAbwB1AHMAdABpAGMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
            AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
            AAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAA

            I see a huge chunk of Base64 encoded data. It is an XML file, 90% of which is Base64 data.

            It is very, very easy to take a file and put a XML wrapper around it.

            #!/bin/bash
            echo '<?xml version="1.0"?>
            <base6

        • If WordPerfect Office uses XML, then most likely the formats will be well-documented, making it relatively easy to convert files from one format to another.

          If Corel don't want this to happen, it'll use binary formats and not XML.
    • by 13Echo (209846) on Friday April 02, 2004 @08:18AM (#8745760) Homepage Journal
      Maybe they should have considered this a few years ago before all of the free and multiplatform office suites got to be as good as they are.

      I would have paid Corel a few years ago for a *good* release of their software, but what they created with WINElib was just total crap. Now, we have OpenOffice, Star Office (free for education and research), KDE's Office suite, Gnome's Office software, and several other alternatives that really negate the need for Corel's software.

      I could potentially see Corel's software as an alternative to Sun's supported software for business use. Howver, it is very doubtful that Corel will be able to persuade people to use this unless they convince OEMs to pack it in as an inexpensive alternative like they did two years ago on low end HP Pavillion PCs.

      Maybe they'll be smart and support SXW and other open source office suite formats.
    • by tverbeek (457094) on Friday April 02, 2004 @08:20AM (#8745761) Homepage
      Will it be back to a world of incompatible filetypes again?

      At least the WordPerfect document format is A) stable (WP6 can open documents created by WP11 without any Save As translation), and B) available to software developers.

      I've rarely heard of users having difficulties opening WPD files with Word; the only problems I hear about have been going in the other direction... but Corel's gotten pretty good lately at overcoming the fact that Word's DOC format has been neither A nor B. The issue of file-format "incompatibility" is largely a matter of strategic obfuscation and FUD.

  • by Space cowboy (13680) * on Friday April 02, 2004 @07:21AM (#8745555) Journal

    I remember trying out WordPerfect 8 for Linux back when it was first released, and being shocked at just how awkward it was to use. The port had obviously just been a code-for-code translation from the original WP, and although experienced WP users would probably feel at home, it felt less attractive than writing in LaTeX to me!

    I think Corel wants to expand their market share, not just port users across to a new OS; to do that, they need to compete with the others named (Staroffice, Openoffice) and not just turn up. IMHO Corel will have to have put a far nicer UI on top of their product before it'll get accepted by anyone not already a WP nut...

    If WP9 was far superior to 8, then I apologise to Corel (and hope 'office does well) but I didn't even try 9 because of how awful 8 was. That's the danger in bringing an externally-developed product into a new marketplace - it needs to sing its own strengths whilst merging into the choir... Hopefully Corel has got it right - more competition can only strengthen all the players.

    Simon.

  • by rm -rf /etc/* (20237) on Friday April 02, 2004 @07:22AM (#8745557) Homepage

    Wow, what's the point of this? OpenOffice has already made strong headway in the linux market, and from what I remember Corel wasn't that great the last time they put it out for linux. Given their dismal market share I doubt there is going to be much of a market on linux...
    • by GreyPoopon (411036) <gpoopon&gmail,com> on Friday April 02, 2004 @08:08AM (#8745719)
      Wow, what's the point of this?

      People may adopt this for the same reason that they refuse to switch from Microsoft Word to OpenOffice -- familiarity. Even though OpenOffice provides all the functionality the vast majority of people will ever use, they stay with what they are familiar with, and at rather high costs. There is a rather large group of users who "grew up" on Wordperfect, and that's still what they prefer today. If this crowd decides to transition to Linux, and the price for WP on Linux is right, they may choose to use it.

      Now, my personal opinion is that this attempt to re-enter the market will be unsuccessful. First off, the number of Wordperfect users has dwindled. Second, the adoption rate of Linux on the desktop is still too low. My guess is that the number of Wordperfect users who are switching to Linux is very low (although not non-existant). The second barrier to success comes, as you said, from OpenOffice. But more importantly, Sun offers Star Office. With Star Office, you get all the features of Open Source (a la OpenOffice) with commercial-level refinement and the backing of a large company. Those who want free can choose OpenOffice, and those who want support (or don't trust free) can choose Star Office for a reasonable price.

      I think the only chance WP for Linux has is if Linux adoption on the desktop gains some serious momentum -- probably exactly what they are hedging their bets on. That will allow them to take advantage of the non-techie users who are a little apprehensive already about switching, and promise them that at least SOMETHING about the new environment will be familiar. Good places for them to start are with Linux distributions that have made it into the retail space at stores that target the thiry- and forty-something crowds, as well as some of the distributions that stores like Wal-Mart are offering on their low-cost PC's. Another possible idea is to approach retail stores like K-Mart or Target, and then team up with a Linux vendor and hardware vendor to offer a low-cost PC that includes WordPerfect. Finally, if they can conquer the internationalization problems that others have mentioned, they may have a real chance for market penetration in some of the developing countries.

      OK. I'm out of breath now. :-)

  • Welcome Corel! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hekatchu (684465) on Friday April 02, 2004 @07:23AM (#8745561)
    Definitely worth of competiting, even with OO and Star Office in the field. More competition means more innovation ... competition in Linux market may also boost creativity in other markets more important to Corel at the moment ... you never know until you try.
  • by Yonkeltron (720465) on Friday April 02, 2004 @07:23AM (#8745562) Homepage
    Yeah but can it check your mail, manage your datebook, provide emotional support, evaluate elisp, surf the web, read Usenet and fix your car like Emacs can?
  • April Fool (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Ha ha ha, real good one guys, is this idiot holiday OVER YET?
  • One Major advantage. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jellomizer (103300) * on Friday April 02, 2004 @07:25AM (#8745567)
    Lawyers tend to use WP verses the rest of the world. So perhaps that could get the lawyers to switch to Linux and like Linux then we could have a powerful allies who can say IAAL.
  • Just wondering (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Underholdning (758194) on Friday April 02, 2004 @07:25AM (#8745568) Homepage Journal
    Ok, I always welcome new serious products for Linux, but this seems very odd. WP doesn't even sell well in the win32 version. What makes them think it will be any different on Linux? Just wondering
    • WP doesn't even sell well in the win32 version. What makes them think it will be any different on Linux?

      They don't have to compete with Microsoft Office.

  • by Qbertino (265505) on Friday April 02, 2004 @07:32AM (#8745587)
    I'm one of the lucky few to get one of the last copies of Corel Draw 9 for Linux.
    It makes up for one of the largest gaps on Linux to date. Professional grafics tools.
    It's also heavyly base on Wine, but it runs smooth and over the course of the last 2 years I've done some serious work with it.
    I'd wish Corel would join with Trolltec and start porting their apps to QT, making them copmletely plattform agnostic. A lot of people would be willing to make the switch from Macromedia and Adobe back to a solid Draw and Photo Paint if only they would run on Linux.
    • by Lumpy (12016) on Friday April 02, 2004 @08:16AM (#8745753) Homepage
      I also agree with you, I have one of those rare copies of Corel Draw for linux. And it is purely stupid for Croel to even try to compete in the Windows market. There are way too many big-guys in the windows market that will crush them like a bug (and have been)

      corel could become big by making apps for linux that are sorely needed. wordperfect and the wordperfect suite are not sorely needed, to compete with a OSS and free package is pure suicide under linux. they need to fill the gaps that are there or are filled with really low quality or very very early but being developed super slow. Graphics and Video editing along with a desktop publishing is a place they could explode and ride the wave. video editing on linux is toy-like at best and wirks fine for someone messing with home movies or cutting commercials. trying to edit a full length feature or anything serious is impossible as the tools are not there or are very early alpha. Desk top publishing, there is one app for that and it doesn't compile on most distros without a dependancy hell that nobody but the linux experts are willing to tackle. Gimp 2.0 is a super step foreward but it is moving very slow and does not fill the need for a pure DRAWING app specifically a vector drawing app like corel draw.

      I highly doubt that corel wil have the chutzpa to step up to the plate and make the decisions needed to try and become the company they once were in the late 80's early 90's.
  • by Moderation abuser (184013) on Friday April 02, 2004 @07:32AM (#8745589)
    I can get *serious* amounts of work done with WP5.1. Everything since has been downhill. So how well does the classic mode work on WP11?

  • Seriously, WordPerfect has a number of functions with regard to advanced document formatting that Open Office.org, for all of its usefulness, lacks. Plus, there's the ever-wonderful option to actually view the document code, and manually correct the hidden formatting bugs that inflict themselves on my Word and OpenOffice.org use from time to time.

    It will also be a boon as I ease my mother's business onto Linux, since they interface with a number of law offices who still use Word Perfect.

    Finally, I've had good luck with the WP file format and KWord, my preferred word processor (because I use Qt and am a bit lacking in the ram dept for OOo's liking), easing both file exchange with my mother and providing a convenient power-formatting application for stuff i've sketched in Kword (no, it isnt framemaker, but i'm a college student who has to write 30 page papers, not a doc writer). So i'm all for it.

    The worst that can happen is that it fails, and since Corel isnt exactly a huge F/OSS contributor these days, that's no major loss either.
    • >

      WordPerfect has a number of functions with regard to advanced document formatting that Open Office.org, for all of its usefulness

      For example?

      >

      there's the ever-wonderful option to actually view the document code, and manually correct the hidden formatting bugs that inflict themselves on my Word and OpenOffice.org use from time to time.

      That'd be great, and even more if make an OOo feature. Perhaps that's already in some whishlist? Only that OOo and KOffice have settled with supremely verbos

    • by Aneurysm9 (723000) on Friday April 02, 2004 @07:59AM (#8745684)
      The show codes feature is probably the only good think WP has going for it. It can be a lifesaver a times though. Much of the secretarial staff at the various law offices I've worked at refuse to use anything but WP for precisely that reason.
  • by krygny (473134) on Friday April 02, 2004 @07:38AM (#8745612)

    The only versions of WP I've used were version 3 (on DOS) and versions 7 and 8 on Solaris (and never used any of them extensively). But I think WP now supports the OASIS Open Office XML Format [oasis-open.org]. If so, what's to prevent me from moving seamlessly between OO.org and WP, depending on the job?

    I think there's a market.

  • I bought WP8 when it as first released for Linux, and I had mixed opinions. On the one hand, all the WP features were there. On the other hand, the GUI was the bastard child from Hell; absolutely awful.

    I very intentionally did not buy the version 9 suite since it was not Linux native. I would buy the Corel Office suite if three conditions were met:

    1) All Corel Office applications were present and fully functional.

    2) All the applications were Linux native.

    3) The applications did not use that horrendou
  • by Bushcat (615449) on Friday April 02, 2004 @07:44AM (#8745629)
    Corel's always been a strange company. They've had products that have had potentially fine futures, but they've ALWAYS been as buggy as hell. I had a company that did wonderful things with Ventura Publisher many years ago, way back when VP was being spun off and relocating to California. It was robust and clearly authored by people who understood publishing. We did some seriously large projects with it, I even wrote a tagging preprocessor for it. We could lay out 1000 pages and it would look pretty good the first time a human opened the document.

    Then Corel got ahold of it, and the added feature sets were late in coming but full of promise, but the damn program just never worked. We got accidentally on some kind of instant-updates-at-all-costs program, maybe because I was vocal on Compuserve at the time, so I can't fault Corel on the number of update CDs we received each month. But the thing just didn't work.

    Our word processor was WordPerfect. It was wonderful around 5.1. I beta-tested its Postscript drivers and this was in the days when the Apple rep ran away because he couldn't believe a Laserwriter was being driven by a PC through the serial port. We loved WP. Then Corel got ahold of it, and we had to move on to a product that, well, actually worked most of the time. So we went to Word, but it was a struggle because everyone tried to use WP secretly. What's wrong with a "Reveal Codes" option? Nothing. Why doesn't Word have one? Because the people who design it don't use it for creating pretty language. But we simply couldn't keep using WP, because it broke enough files to affect our ability to perform as a publishing house.

    We also used Xara, which was cheap and powerful. Bugger me, Corel got ahold of that, too, and killed it.

    Corel's the sort of company that one would love to support as a kind of perpetual underdog, but the reality is that there's been something perpetually wrong with their development cycle: stuff just gets buggier, and buggier, and buggier until it's too frustrating to use.

    I'm sure there's room for a Wordperfect-like product, but it's a real shame Corel is the vehicle to provide it.

    • Ventura (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jayrtfm (148260)
      I've got a friend who's at Standard and Poors, where Ventura is used to publish thousands of pages a month. Reports that include single tables that go on for 50+ pages.
      A few years ago he was given the task of figuring out how to make Quark do the same reports. With $10,000 worth of plug ins, plus some custom development on a plug in, Quark could do most, but not all of what Ventura was doing.
  • by MichaelJ (140077) on Friday April 02, 2004 @07:47AM (#8745641)
    If it's a decent, usable port (ie, printing and fonts don't require a PhD to set up), and doesn't have a myriad of libc-version-compatibility problems (something that people seem to ignore, but is a valid, serious issue with distributing software for Linux), then I will be one of the first in line to buy WP/Linux. I started with my thesis on WP5.1 for VMS and for DOS. I used 6 for DOS professionally, and skipped the first few Windows versions.

    8 for Linux was a bit awkward but it worked, reliably, and I enjoyed it until suddenly it wouldn't work anymore because of my libc version. 2000, well, I really liked the consistency of the Linux and Windows versions; however, printing was difficult and reliability was awful (most crashes were font-related, though, and I blame Wine for many of them).

    Another post asks "Why WP when OpenOffice is out there?" You might also ask "Why OO when Word is out there?" or "Why Gnome when there's KDE?" or even "Why Linux when we have Windows?" It's about choice. Some people, myself included, dislike OO immensely. Why? Because it imitates Word, both the UI and the underlying structure of how it formats documents. I've hated Word and its imitators since the DOS version.

    I'm not going to argue about whether or not Reveal Codes is philosophically correct or not. *I* like it. *I* am the consumer, and it's what I prefer to use. I hope it's successful; right now I use VMware to run the Windows version, but would much prefer to run natively.
    • If you use something you can build from source, and you indeed do so (OO.o can admittedly be a bitch to build) then you will never have libc problems. Why use WP Linux when OO.o is available? The more people use OO the better it will become, especially if they're submitting feature requests and bug reports.

      Note I do understand the (almost-irony) of asking why WP when OO, given your third paragraph. How does OO construct documents in the same way as Word, and how does it differ from WP?

  • Price? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sadangel (702907)
    I sure hope WP for Linux is cheaper than what they're asking [corel.com] for what they've got now. I love wordperfect. For Windows, it's my word processor of choice. My main gripe about OO.o [openoffice.org] is that it tries to mimic Word's organization and functionality rather than WP's, but for $300 (USD), I'll stick with OO. I think most Linux users are with me. Maybe they'll have a student discount or allow you to pick it up for a measly $20 when purchased with hardware like you used to be able to with WP 10. I'm hoping. I'd really
  • by ReadParse (38517) <.moc.wocynnuf. .ta. .nhoj.> on Friday April 02, 2004 @08:00AM (#8745687) Homepage
    For once something is happening on Linux just in the nick of time. WordPerfect is just starting to make its mark out there on the street. It should be in a position to give Microsoft a run for its money.

    It also looks like Back to the Future Part II will be a big smash this weekend and OS/2 should revolutionize desktop computing.

    Looks like the 90s are going to be almost as exciting as the 80s have been.

    RP
  • by Anonymous Bullard (62082) on Friday April 02, 2004 @08:01AM (#8745690) Homepage
    There was a story about this in LinuxJournal over a week ago titled "WordPerfect 8 for Linux Redux?" [linuxjournal.com].

    I fail to see what the point is though, especially after Microsoft used their devious October 2000 investment in Corel to turn the then-Linux powerhouse into a submissive .NET supporter and last year Microsoft engineered the even more devious privatization of Corel using Paul Allen's money and a motley crew of former Microsoft executives, "joint Corel and Microsoft consultants", all apparently planned by Microsoft's investment and business development unit (which makes MS money work for MS business strategy), made infamous by the recent SCO funding revelations.

    Is the Corel management perhaps finally under some kind of investigation and this "proof-of-concept" WordPerfect (wordprocessor only?) dealie is supposed to prove the new MS-leaning owners' credentials as "genuine independents"?

    Will Microsoft be soon promoting a new Gartner study claiming that Linux productivity app market is dead because nobody is buying a recompiled and nearly 10 years old WP8?

  • by gilesjuk (604902) <giles,jones&zen,co,uk> on Friday April 02, 2004 @08:03AM (#8745699)
    Given the low cost of Star Office and Open Office is this venture commercially viable? Word Perfect needs to offer a much higher quality product to be good value. Star Office and Open Office use freely available file formats, does Word Perfect? vendor lock-in is something people are trying to avoid by moving away from Microsoft Office.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 02, 2004 @08:05AM (#8745707)
    Linux users will probably stick to OpenOffice/StarOffice.

    They should release WordPerfect that is native to Mac OSX.

    The geniuses at Corel will probably wait until they discover on their own that Linux users will refuse to pay for WordPerfect--by then Mac OSX will have an office suite distributed by Apple and their window of opportunity will be gone.

    This is almost as stupid as Borland not making their C++ compilers use the same name-mangling & object format as Visual C++ (doesn't matter who's is better, go with the defacto standard you morons because there's no telling how many developers stayed away from C++ Builder because of .lib incompatibility).

  • OK, help me out... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Scratch-O-Matic (245992) on Friday April 02, 2004 @08:05AM (#8745710)
    I have yet to find a word processor that I like for serious work that runs on Linux. I'm by no means a "feature cripple," and I do a lot of stuff with a text editor, but sometimes I need more. OO.org, in my opinion, is unbearably clunky and just weird. KWrite is fine for my own stuff, but not if I plan to give it to anyone else (in soft copy, that is.) Abiword or whatever it's called was about the same as KWrite when I used it a few times. I'm currently happy with MSWord for Mac running under Mac-On-Linux on my yellowdog machine. That way I get the refinement of Word without having to bow down to the evil master (or at least, bow down as far as having to actually try to boot a windows machine.)

    Am I missing something? Maybe this Corel thing will fill the bill.

    (and by the way, O.T., yellowdog linux + simultaneous OS X + ibook = Nirvana.)
  • by crovira (10242) on Friday April 02, 2004 @08:15AM (#8745747) Homepage
    We used it to scan specs and generate a Smalltalk/V Win "Proof of Concept" on the CommonDepartmentalFinancialSystem I was working on back in the early '90s.

    It was an open file format and I could strip out all the formatting code and parse just the content.

    There were other things about that were good, like linking files and so on, but the open files were great.
  • by Colonel Cholling (715787) on Friday April 02, 2004 @08:16AM (#8745754)
    "Make it fit." Many an undergraduate's paper has been stretched from seven to ten pages with that little gem, and it's so much more visually innocuous than the standard tack of big chunky margins and 14-point font.
  • by bigberk (547360) <bigberk@users.pc9.org> on Friday April 02, 2004 @08:24AM (#8745774)
    I did use WordPerfect (I guess it was version 8) back when a Linux version was available. It worked great for me, and I still think WP is the best word processor.

    People seem to complain when it looks like the GUI is hacked to work with Linux or whatever... sounds like something like this calls for wxWidgets (formerly wxWindows) [wxwidgets.org], since this toolset provides native GUI elements on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.
  • by bgfay (5362) on Friday April 02, 2004 @08:36AM (#8745811) Homepage
    Two years ago I would have been jumping up and down over this. I was a WP user for a long time and really wanted a good version for Linux. But it's too late now and it's going to cost too much for Linux users (on the whole). I might still need it a little bit, just to translate all of my WP files into something that OpenOffice can read, but I wouldn't do any new work in it. Here's why:

    OpenOffice just released 1.1.1. They will likely release 2.0 sometime this year. Meanwhile, users of closed software will wait for fixes. I've gotten used to Mozilla/Firefox, OpenOffice, and a host of other programs that are released much more often than anything in the closed source world.

    Beyond that, I've gotten used to not paying for these products. I'll give back in other ways (including donating money to support, just the same way that I support Public Radio), but I won't pay over $100 (US) for software any more. It doesn't fit my budget, it doesn't fit my view of how things should work.

    All that said, were I still working at my old school which was a Mac shop, I would buy WP for Mac in a heartbeat. That they aren't developing for Mac baffles me. That's where commercial software ought to focus when they're looking for something other than Windows.

    WP had a great run. the 5.1 version was insanely great. But the time for WP is likely past.

    Now, if someone would implement the Reveal Codes feature in OpenOffice, every WP user could switch and I could be completely happy with OpenOffice.
  • Still a need... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chris Tyler (2180) on Friday April 02, 2004 @08:40AM (#8745818) Homepage
    I used and loved WP on Unix from 5.1 through 8. I still have WP6 and WP8 on one of my Linux boxes to manage the occassional old document.

    WP's user interface had clunky spots, but it was *predictable*. StarOffice drives me crazy in a few places-- Getting rid of extra lines at the top of the page sometimes seems impossible, and Good Luck if you have a table at the top of a page and want to insert lines above it.

    But WP's most impressive feat was the file compatability. From 5.2 onward, files were forward- AND backward-compatible. The tagged-block structure file format had been thought out well, and as new features were introduced, they were added to the format in such a way that older versions of the app could open and use as much of the newer files as possible. Compared to Word, it stood out as just plain Good Engineering.
  • Late move by Corel (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 02, 2004 @08:47AM (#8745842)
    I find this an interesting move for Corel. They were the market leader in GUI Word Procesors. Up until about 2001, they were the market leaders for GUI word processing on UNIX/Linux with WP7/8. Others like Star Office were also-rans. They had the legal community and non-windows/non-mac users as their loyal customers. Corel Linux was even very well received. WP8 was an excellent product and I still use it when I have to (even on RH 9).


    Then they came out with WPO 2000 which ran on Wine. While they did make many fantastic enhancements to wine, they should have never released their product on top of wine (I told their developers this). A native port would have been much more stable, better-received, and more widely supported.


    I encouraged the adoption of WP Linux in my shop. We were WP only on all platforms. However, in the last 2 years, everyone is shifting to Word. I now try use OO, but often have to use Word due to esoteric formatting issues that I have to support.


    The questions for Corel now are:

    • Why did they abandon Linux in the first place? Was it the Microsoft investment?

    • If they do offer WP/Linux again, will they not abandon us again? What assurances do we have?

    • Will they fix some of the long-standing WP Linux bugs like horribly broken macros, random crashes, files with internal format issues that cause WP to use 100% of your CPU and just hang?

    • What advantages over OO does the new WP offer?

    • Will they offer Corel Draw for Linux again (as a native application with all the clip art)?

    • Will Corel work with the OO team on WP file format support so these products can work together on all platforms?



    Note: WP file support by OO would benefit BOTH parties as OO is the market leader in the Linux space, there are still many loyal WP users but moving from WP to OO and viceversa was a PITA (OO 1.1.1 can finally import word docs exported by WP 7/8 Linux, the native WP support for OO is under development).

  • by Flammon (4726) on Friday April 02, 2004 @09:08AM (#8745975) Homepage Journal
    I think the answer to Corel's problem is simple. Corel should sell their own version of OpenOffice as Sun does. Corel could include features such as grammar checking, templates, images, sounds, WordPerfect file format support, WordPerfect shortcuts, tutorials and technical support. That's how other companies are making money from free software but I guess Corel just doesn't get the concept yet.
  • by oneeyedman (39461) on Friday April 02, 2004 @09:15AM (#8746028) Homepage Journal
    There are still plenty of WordPerfect 8 users on Linux who are, like me, sufficiently attached to it to install the old libc and xlib libraries it requires. (It gets harder each time.) There is even an actively maintained support site: Rick Moen's WordPerfect on Linux FAQ [linuxmafia.com]. WP8's printer support is still reasonably good after all these years, and ther is no substitute for the Reveal Codes feature, which is the ultimate in being able to lift the hood and make quick repairs. OO is slow and ugly (just like it has always been), Abiword is feature-poor and quirky (it won't even support printers that ancient WP8 supports, and I don't have any interest in learning why). Serious word processing for non-Word-users is a nightmare of switching around among apps until one does the job. In my work, which includes authoring books, WordPerfect still comes out on top most of the time as the best all-around choice. I will gladly buy an a new Linux-native release. (And we just won't talk about WP9 for Linux....) The only features where WP8 can't match or beat reecent releases of Word is in change-tracking and commenting, where MS dominates completely.

  • To good to be true (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Peter H.S. (38077) on Friday April 02, 2004 @09:17AM (#8746046) Homepage
    Maybe it is just a delayed Aprils fool, but I would buy a native Linux version af WP the second it was released.
    My whish list would something like this:
    It should be based on WP 12 (only for the editor tracking features)
    QT-based to look good.
    Aspell, so minor languages can get a decent spelling control.
    CUPS for printing.

    Well, one can dream.
  • They'll fsck it up (Score:4, Informative)

    by Almost-Retired (637760) on Friday April 02, 2004 @09:21AM (#8746088)
    Because the last "8" version was hard coded in the installer so that it would only install on one, then getting very old, linux release of their own. If you had the balls to dare make a new kernel install, the installer was dead.

    I've still got that package in its original box on the shelf above me, and AFAIC they owe me about a 90 buck refund (interest accrues on money loaned does it not?).

    It has never, and I even copied the script to my HD where I could edit it, been able to install and run here.

    I called them at the time, (on my nickle!) and was basicly told that if I wanted support, to install their old crappy version of linux. Early 2.2 series kernel and all...

    'scuse me but fsck 'em, and the camel that rode in on them.

    Gawd, am I glad 4/01 is over...

    Cheers, Gene
  • by StressGuy (472374) on Friday April 02, 2004 @09:26AM (#8746140)
    Given the success I've been having with OpenOffice lately, I think I'd probably more inclined to try out StarOffice first if I were deploying this for a business.

    Too bad....WordPerfect was once my favorite word processor.

  • by beforewisdom (729725) on Friday April 02, 2004 @09:35AM (#8746218)
    There are plenty of nice word processors for the *nix desktop. The big issue is M$ Word compatibility. The word processes that do it best ( OO, StarOffice ) have big SLOW cloogy interfaces no one likes. A need for any more newword processors for *nix could be settled if the various OSS word processor developers: - establish an OSS project that did nothing but make a portable module/class that did nothing but translate M$ Word files. All of the projects could contribute to this module and all of them would have the latest, greatest M$ compatibility at the same time. This would also ( god I hate this term ) save each of the projects the work of "having to reinvent the wheel" in regards to keeping up with M$. - establish a standard OSS file format set for all OSS office projects. Again, this would save them and new projects the work of making/maintaining their own. It would also help loosen the grip of M$ *.doc and *.rtf as the defacto standards. People would know that if they saved their files to *.oss that EVERYONE else would be able to read it. M$ may even be pressured in modifying office to save into *.oss. What the *nix desktop doesn't need is another word processor app.
  • by Alan Shutko (5101) on Friday April 02, 2004 @09:37AM (#8746240) Homepage
    And when it fails, they'll blame Linux.

    Corel's track record with these "pilot" programs is very, very poor. They release lots of software for a release or so. It's buggy because it was pushed out of development to make the market window. They don't make any patches, because they're waiting to see if the market will snap up the software before devoting more resources. The market steers clear because the product is a buggy piece of junk. Corel drops the software, claiming the market wouldn't support it.

    They do the same thing on Windows, but look at their Linux examples. WP7 was pretty solid. It was developed and supported by another company. WP8 was developed by that same company (SDLC, iirc), but transfered to Corel for development right before release. As a result, it had problems. It was supposed to ship with new printer drivers SDLC had developed to take better advantage of ghostscript and higher-res pictures. They weren't there. It had a huge, major bug where placing text over images could slow it down insanely. Don't even try making an image background! There were a few other minor bugs I don't recall.

    If you spent a few hundred dollars on the server edition of WP for Linux, did you ever get things fixed? Of course not. If you bought the personal version, did they get fixed? Nope. Those bugs were fixed, but the only fixed version was released as part of Corel Linux OS Deluxe, and it wasn't even publicised as being fixed.

    Still, WP8 was the best release they made for actually editing documents. Naturally, with WP9/WPO2000, they got rid of all that infrastructure and went with Wine.

    What did that buy us? Still more, new bugs. Mostly because their version of Wine was buggy and under constant development. It would periodically crash and you'd have to erase your preferences dir, getting rid of any customization. They made a couple unofficial Wine updates in conjunction with their Corel Graphics release, but never released an official service pack. Which would have helped, since some of the bugs required code fixes in the WP code.

    The best way to get WP and Draw running was to get the wine source from their CVS, and futz with the startup scripts to get it working. Except shortly after Draw was released, most of the Linux developers were canned.

    Throughout this process, I was a C_Tech volunteer, trying to support these products on their newgroups. People kept coming up with the same bugs and I kept asking the product manager when we'd see a patch. He kept saying he'd like to, but upper management wouldn't approve the work unless they saw the software selling more. Eventually I resigned as a C_Tech when it became clear that there would never be a fix.

    This is how Corel operates. They come up with some great idea, throw some money at it, but fail to follow through. I'd like to hope this will be different, but they screwed it up when the competition for a good word processor was much less than it is today, and I don't see them getting it right this time.
  • by Leomania (137289) on Friday April 02, 2004 @10:05AM (#8746528) Homepage
    Corel has a lot to prove this time. Testing the waters won't cut it; they ought to either decide that they're going to own the Office application market on Linux or just not bother. At least aim to own it in the corporate world. I mean it's four years since WordPerfect Office 2000 for Linux, and we have OpenOffice/StarOffice which runs on multiple platforms (OS X version unfortunately not quite up to snuff yet). It's really quite good, and offers some decent MS document handling.

    I bought a copy of WPO2K for Linux, in large part to support their efforts in bringing a quality office suite to Linux. I was disappointed, to say the least; it loaded incredibly slowly, in a way that WP8 for Linux never did. It hung upon startup sometimes, even after installing the updated RPMs for a couple of packages. It was just hard to take it seriously, but I was hopeful they'd fix the issues and come out with a new version that was much better. Well, we all know what happened with that.

    So anyway, I don't think I see a purpose in doing this. Opportunity lost; I'm not switching from OpenOffice, and I'm not at all convinced the corporate world is going to make a "Linux on the desktop" decision any differently for having an option of a Corel office suite over OpenOffice. Not that I wish for them to fail Corel has had a rough time over the last few years. I'm just not going to be paying for a proprietary package when something good (nay, excellent) is already available as OSS. Not because it's free, but because it works well.

    - Leo
  • Corel Linux (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dark Fire (14267) <clasmcNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday April 02, 2004 @10:18AM (#8746641)
    Actually, Corel once had a pretty solid linux distribution based on debian. They sold it with the WordPerfect office suite. It was a very promising distribution. Promising enough that microsoft bought a 30% stake in Corel and several months later Corel dropped all work on linux related projects and started rambling on about a new windows strategy. It sounds like that didn't pan out and now they are looking to try linux again. I believe that microsoft sold some or all of their stake in Corel some time ago. If Corel would have kept on the linux path, their is a good chance that they might be in the position OpenOffice is today. Unfortunately, that opportunity has passed them by. Novel has realized that developing products for the Microsoft platform is fruitless and they are moving over to linux. As microsoft develops more and more functionality and integrates it into windows, more and more big software companies are going to realize that developing for the microsoft platform is fruitless. Microsoft develops it's own media player and integrates into windows. Microsoft will be integrating it's own firewall software and anti-virus software pretty soon. Some big software companies will stand by and watch as their markets dry up. The smart ones will be watching for their linux opportunity. And when that opportunity comes, it may only come once.
  • by greygent (523713) on Friday April 02, 2004 @10:44AM (#8746899) Homepage
    WordPerfect will need a vi compatibility layer...
  • This is smart (Score:4, Informative)

    by spiritraveller (641174) on Friday April 02, 2004 @11:12AM (#8747165)
    Of course, it was dumb of them to ditch the old Linux version... but at least they're coming to their senses.

    I just bought the cd version of Corel Linux 1.0 in order to get the deb package of WordPerfect 8.1. It was only 2 dollars on eBay. It still works even in Debian unstable. You just have to fiddle with the dependencies a bit.

    You can still download WordPerfect 8 for Linux and install it, though the legality of this isn't completely clear. Corel at one time made it available for free download. Several sites continue to offer it and Corel has done nothing to stop them. See the WordPerfect on Linux FAQ [linuxmafia.com] for more info.

    WordPerfect 8/8.1 is a lot faster than OpenOffice, and more importantly, it reads WordPerfect files. A lot of law offices have all of their documents in WordPerfect.

    There is a pretty good WordPerfect filter for OpenOffice (LibWPD [sourceforge.net]), but it's hard to compete with the real thing.

    I think this will cause many law firms to consider switching to Linux.

  • by VivianC (206472) <internet_update@yaho[ ]om ['o.c' in gap]> on Friday April 02, 2004 @05:38PM (#8751302) Homepage Journal
    I thought April Fools day was over...

Loan-department manager: "There isn't any fine print. At these interest rates, we don't need it."

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