WordPerfect Opens Linux Office

SAN FRANCISCO (04/04/2000) - Corel Corp.'s WordPerfect Office 2000 made its way into stores on Saturday. Inside the new suite you'll find the familiar assemblage of tools: a word processing program, spreadsheet, and presentation software, to name a few. But there's one thing that sets this package apart from previous versions of Corel's office suites--this one runs on Linux.

The Standard version of WordPerfect Office for Linux sells for $109 and includes WordPerfect 9, Quattro Pro 9, Corel Presentations 9, CorelCentral 9, Netscape Navigator, Adobe Acrobat Reader, 1,200 clip art images, a clip art manual, and a user guide, plus 30-day installation support.

In the Deluxe package, which costs $159, you'll find all the goodies included in the Standard edition, plus Paradox 9, Netscape Communicator, and an entertainment pack.

Both versions also contain the latest version of Corel's distribution of Linux, Corel Linux version 1.1. It features an updated 2.2.14 kernel, the XFree86 3.3.6 windowing system, updated control panels for hardware management and Universal Serial Bus support, additional hardware drivers for video and sound, and enhanced Windows connectivity in the File Manager.

Both versions of the suite are compatible with the Windows version of WordPerfect Office 2000 and Microsoft Office 2000, the company says.

Up and Running

We installed the suite on two PCs, one running Linux-Mandrake 7.0 and the other running Corel Linux 1.1, yielding mostly positive results.

Configuring a printer might throw you for a loop if you're new to Linux. But Corel's lengthy release notes offer assistance for everyone from newbies to advanced users of both Red Hat-based and Debian-based distributions (although I found these notes were geared a bit more for Corel Linux and other Debian-based distributions).

As you might expect, Corel's Linux suite is really only a partially modified version of its Windows suite, rather than a complete rewrite for Linux. One option in WordPerfect's Display Settings dialog, labeled "Windows system colors," seems to show the program's roots a little too clearly. Whoops!

But each program ran smoothly and quickly.

Corel utilizes the Wine system libraries (which provide Windows compatibility) to make the hybrid code run. Wine often slows down an application, and Corel says Wine slows the suite by 5 to 7 percent, but I didn't notice a difference.

Suite Choices

An office suite from Applix built directly on Linux (Applixware 5.0) is due to be released this week as well.

The $99 Applixware suite includes six applications: a word processing program, a drawing tool, presentation and slide show software, a spreadsheet program, a database manager, and a mail client.

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