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WordPerfect 8 for Linux

Corel Stakes out Future Turf with WordPerfect

Unix Version added to WP Stable

By Jim Bray

Corel Corporation has fired another round in its competitive battle with Microsoft.

The Ottawa-based company is jumping into the operating system war with both corporate feet, releasing Unix and Linux versions of its popular WordPerfect word processor.

This is significant. To an increasing number of people, Linux (which is basically a "public domain" version of Unix) is "the operating system of the future" and there’s speculation the virtually free and incredibly flexible OS could give Microsoft Windows a real run for your money – once there’s enough mainstream software to warrant people switching.

The Unix and Linux releases join a WordPerfect family that includes versions for 16 and 32 bit Windows, Macintosh, and DOS. So whichever way the OS winds blow, with the exception of OS/2, it appears that Corel intends to be there.

We’ve been running the Unix version on a Linux system and, one the whole, it’s a fine performer.

Unfortunately, at this time, the Li/Unix WordPerfect doesn’t come bundled as an office suite, with spreadsheet, database and all that other nifty stuff. Instead, it’s a standalone word processor – which is fine if that’s all you need.

As a word processor, WordPerfect is among the top of the class, and the Unix conversion looks and feels, for the most part, like the 32 bit Windows version. You get things like the "shadow cursor" that lets you start typing from anywhere on a page you want, "spellcheck on the fly" and (ugh!) "grammar-on-the-go."

You also get typical Corel extras, like Netscape Navigator® 3.02, more than 5,000 clipart images, a decent selection of photos, textures, and fonts. An Internet Publisher feature that lets you create stuff in WP8 and publish it to html, with links, bookmarks, et al, which is really quite standard for big league word processors, and there are also charting and drawing capabilities similar to what you’d find in the other WP versions.

Corel says you can import and export MS Word 97 files (WP itself uses its own standard file format, which is handy), but we didn’t find any evidence of that. Perhaps it didn’t leap out and bite us on the nose; but if that’s the case we’d suggest making such things easier to find in subsequent releases.

Still, if you’re a Unix/Linux user, or thinking of becoming one, it’s safe to say you have a powerful word processor at your disposal.

Clip Joint…

Meanwhile, for those who can never seem to find the right piece of clipart, Corel has weighed in with its Gallery 1,000,000. This $160 Cdn package comes chock full of 14 CD-ROM’s that not only include the megapix collection, but Corel PhotoHouse 2.1 photo editing application, and an image browser/search tool that’s meant to help you easily find the right image.

And I really mean "meant to." While the browser/search tool is supposed to make it easy to find the right image, by using a typical search function, I couldn’t get it to work properly and found it quicker to hunt and peck disc by disc.

Fortunately, there’s also a thick, full colour book that shows the million pics, and it’s a really handy feature. It would have been a lot more handy, however, if Corel had included with the pictures an indication of which disc they’re on! You get a legend showing the directory they’re in, but not the disc number! Therefore, we found ourselves going back to switching discs ad nauseam, trying to find particular images.

As far as the content goes, there’s plenty: some 815,000 Web images, 140,000 pieces of vector clipart, 60,000 photos, more than 1,000 fonts, 530+ sounds and over a hundred video clips.

There’s a lot of repetition in this collection, too, so longtime Corel customers may find they already have a lot of what’s in this collection (though obviously only a part of it). If you’re new to Corel, however, you’ll find plenty of neat things with which to grace your work spread across this collection.


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January 31, 2006