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317 comments

GNAA FP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9006801)

GNAA FP

First WordPerfect post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9006805)

Damn, it starts up pretty quick!

Does it run on... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9006807)

NINNLE [www.goat.cx] ???

Upgrade Policy? (5, Funny)

JCMay (158033) | more than 9 years ago | (#9006815)

I've got an old copy of WordPerfect for Amiga. It's the last version they made. (4.1.12?). Got it in an envelope directly from WordPerfect corporation. Wonder if it has any upgrade value :)

Re:Upgrade Policy? (3, Funny)

rixstep (611236) | more than 9 years ago | (#9006861)

Good idea!

We've got unopened copies for the PDP-1 and the DEC Rainbow, maybe we can cut a deal too!

Re:Upgrade Policy? (0)

AKnightCowboy (608632) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007170)

We've got unopened copies for the PDP-1 and the DEC Rainbow, maybe we can cut a deal too!

I don't think they're making a version for the PDP-1 or DEC Rainbow, but it's worth a shot asking if they plan to port to that platform. Otherwise I imagine their upgrade policy will apply to the same platform you're upgrading to or *maybe* going from Windows to Linux if you're lucky.

Re:Upgrade Policy? (2, Interesting)

shystershep (643874) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007005)

No, no, no! It has much more value as a collectible -- just put it on eBay pointing out the rarity of such a fascinating bit of computer history.

Trust me on this. My father-in-law has gotten over $25 for a simple book of Coke matches on multiple occasions, surely you can do even better.

LaTeX (5, Funny)

tindur (658483) | more than 9 years ago | (#9006818)

Can you save the documents in LaTeX-format?

Re:LaTeX (5, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 9 years ago | (#9006846)

LaTeX is for hippies who like proper typesetting.

The rest of the world is ready to contend with bloaty 2GB "text editors" that will easily put things in the wrong spot and not be compatible between versions and not have professional macros for document logistics and preamble.

Ha!

Re:LaTeX (5, Funny)

JosKarith (757063) | more than 9 years ago | (#9006897)

Thank you soooo much. I just got a mental image of a bunch of ageing hippies in latex...
It's gonna take a lot of alcohol to get _that_ one out.

Re:LaTeX (0, Offtopic)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 9 years ago | (#9006947)

Sorry. My bad. Send me the bill, I'll cover it this time.

In my defense I did say LaTeX not latex.

Tom

LaTeX gEEKS? (1)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007080)

The aging hippy boys at Mythbusters (Discovery Channel) [discovery.com] did some experiment involving running through rain. They film out of San Francisco, so of course they had to suit up in skin tight black latex. One of the hosts is a typical out of shape geek, but the other guy is pretty (I'm so pretty, oh so pretty...) buff , so the contrast was interesting. You also could refer back to that guy [ibiblio.org] who built the Tron suit. That may be what you are visualizing...

Re:LaTeX (1, Insightful)

b-baggins (610215) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007279)

Proper typesetting is done by professional typesetting software like Adobe InDesign or Quark Xpress, or even PageMaker or FrameMaker.

Saying LaTeX is proper typesetting is like saying GIMP is equivalent to photoshop. People who say it come across as fools or irrational zealots to actual, knowledgeable professionals in the field.

Re:LaTeX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9007089)

Yeah right. Why would I want to have that kind of functionality? I like writing in LaTeX and hate this WYSIWYG text processing, WP included, it just looks crap compared to a proper document in LaTeX. Especially with the maths there is no competition.

I may be a smelly hippie, but at least my documents look good. My hairdo is another issue...

Feet (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9006820)

Toes and feet are the tastiest of all treats.

This is the law. Respect it.

Yay (5, Interesting)

Killjoy_NL (719667) | more than 9 years ago | (#9006830)

I really hope they can get some marketshare back, MS Office deserves the competition.
It might even spur MS to really innovate again.

Re:Yay (5, Interesting)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 9 years ago | (#9006883)

Yeah, innovate by adding another 200MB to their "office suite in a box...full of CDs".

How to make MS Office better.

1. Smaller
2. Better support for OTHER FILE FORMATS
3. Stop being the ass of the world.
4. Add some real typesetting standards.

Tom

Re:Yay (4, Insightful)

grub (11606) | more than 9 years ago | (#9006968)


Nice in theory but it will never happen.

1 - They may be able to shave a few megs off, sure, but with MS' fatal infection of creeping featuritis that would be offset in no time.
2 - They're the 800 lb gorilla, "it's up to the other companies/projects to figure out and support the .DOC format."
3 - Protecting their bottom line and investors' cash is their job, they can't help it.
4 - Invented outside of MS? C'mon Tom, you should know better! :)

Re:Yay (4, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007018)

Hehehe true dat.

Well making money goodism aside they amalgamate crap together until the user is so inundated with "features" they just assume it's great. Then when they learn that the auto-toc isn't standard and easy to trip up [as I found out last semester when I was forced to use it] or that you have to manually layout figures, tables, etc.... it looks less like "neat" and more like "life sucks".

Sure a WYSIWYG is good for short memos and shit. That's why "write" exists. But for manuals, books, papers and reports LaTeX is always the best choice.

Sadly only 10 people in the world seem to know this ;-)

Of course MS could just make their own port of TeX and call it MSReX or something... claim they invented it. At least then it would be something I'd use.

Tom

Re:Yay (-1, Troll)

AKnightCowboy (608632) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007278)

Sure a WYSIWYG is good for short memos and shit. That's why "write" exists. But for manuals, books, papers and reports LaTeX is always the best choice.

Whatever. WTF are you writing that can't be done in Word? LaTeX looks like some complicated programming language.. hardly the thing the average person is going to use to write a paper or even a book unless you're some science nerd.

Re:Yay (1)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007158)

2. Better support for OTHER FILE FORMATS

Whilst I agree, when the rest of the world blindly uses your own format, what real incentive is there to spend money supporting someone elses?

Secondly, what format? Its not like there is any other format out there that comes close to doc that needs serious improvement (plain text support and rtf is pretty decent given their limits).

Re:Yay (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007253)

Um LaTeX in WYSIWYG would be killer. LyX is somewhat there but really not 100%.

As for why support other formats? Duh, so they can migrate to your solution. This is why banks should interoperate better too [between same bank, diff branches and between diff banks alltogether]. like my CC is from one bank and my chequing from another. I use my chequing banks online services because they allow me to pay accross. But if I could walk into my CC bank and use my debit card from my other bank to pay my bill I would [cuz quite frankly banking scares me, online banking really scares me].

Tom

Re:Yay (1)

haystor (102186) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007026)

Why must every office suite target .doc?

Someone should target .pdf

Virtually everyone can read pdf's.
Most regular people don't need their documents to be edited by the people they are sending them to.

When will someone notice that Word documents are horrible for reading. One wrong click and you *lose* information.

Even for most businesses, all editing is done within the same business before the document is finally produced.

Make a good $50 pdf editor and get people away from Word.

I know there would have to be retraining involved. You would have to teach people to append .pdf instead of .doc.

No mail client. (4, Interesting)

Mr. Darl McBride (704524) | more than 9 years ago | (#9006834)

That about says it all. They dropped their mail client -- all that's left of it is an address book. They even list "Outlook integration" as a feature.

So if you're looking for a suite that you can use in a Microsoft-centric office, you'd better have another solution for talking to that Exchange server.

Is it just me, or is this remarkably silly? Exchange/Outlook is the hub of most offices' operations these days. Not speaking Exchange's calendar and contact protocols is tantamount to not speaking the Word file format five or six years back.

Re:No mail client. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9006934)

Well, a lot of businesses use Lotus Notes. Besides IBM, I know 3M does, Novartis, etc. So maybe Corel Wordperfect suite + Lotus Notes = a full package? I know Lotus has Smartsuite, but that hasn't really been updated that much in a decade.

Re:No mail client. (3, Interesting)

Mr. Darl McBride (704524) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007130)

Well, a lot of businesses use Lotus Notes. Besides IBM, I know 3M does, Novartis, etc.
Lotus Notes is the Netware of the 21st century. You don't find new installs. You only find companies that selected Notes forever ago, and who annually research the cost of switching to the mainstream, waiting until they're confident they can switch over without too much of a disruption.

Notes is fine, but it's not what the rest of the world is speaking.

Re:No mail client. (4, Insightful)

CrazyTalk (662055) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007006)

At work we used groupwise, and at the University where I'm taking a night class they use Lotus Notes, so Exchange Server isn't as ubiquitous as you think. Plus, everyone running Windows has outlook express for "free" as well as web mail, so lack of an email client in the office suite isn't that big of a deal.

Re:No mail client. (0, Troll)

Arker (91948) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007088)

Plus, everyone running Windows has outlook express for "free" as well as web mail, so lack of an email client in the office suite isn't that big of a deal.

I would completely disagree. The fact that Windows comes with Outlook Express, and that the user will probably wind up using it if another one isn't installed for him, is exactly what makes it a big deal. OE has to be the one piece of... software responsible for the most trouble in the history of computing.

Re:No mail client. (1)

Mr. Darl McBride (704524) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007166)

At work we used groupwise, and at the University where I'm taking a night class they use Lotus Notes, so Exchange Server isn't as ubiquitous as you think. Plus, everyone running Windows has outlook express for "free" as well as web mail, so lack of an email client in the office suite isn't that big of a deal.
And I use and prefer Linux, but I won't pretend I'm the rest of the world.

That you think Outlook Express is somehow a replacement for Outlook shows that you're not quite in touch with what most medium-to-large business offices are doing.

OMG LOL!!!1 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9006838)

The review site has a GNAA post on it! LOL!

Win ME (1)

Psiven (302490) | more than 9 years ago | (#9006843)

Is it not compatible or simply not supported? It would be such a pain to have to migrate from Windows ME in order to use Office 12...

Re:Win ME (1)

ALpaca2500 (125123) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007211)

It would be such a pain to have to migrate from Windows ME in order to use Office 12

i figure it would be such a pain to be using Win ME...

The hole it left has been filled (5, Insightful)

Rico_za (702279) | more than 9 years ago | (#9006848)

From the article:
At the time WordPerfect was easily the most popular proprietary application for GNU/Linux, and the hole that it left opened the door for many people to switch to OpenOffice, StarOffice, AbiWord, KWord, TextMaker and others

Why would I change back from a decent, FREE, application like OpenOffice to WordPerfect? If they're planning on selling it on the name, or because people remember WP, it's too late for that now. OpenOffice has taken over, and could soon be challenging MS Office in a big way.

Re:The hole it left has been filled (5, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007008)

Mod parent up.

Corel had their chance back when they built Corel Linux. But instead of putting the *work* into making native code, improving Linux, and making the experience overall better, they simply used the WINE libs to "port" their same old WordPerfect Suite then heaped it on top of an existing Linux distro. In other words, they did the least work possible and saw the least return. Sun OTOH has put a lot of money and effort into OpenOffice/StarOffice, GNOME, and their new Java Desktop System. This has been allowing Sun to maintain the Desktop/Workstation market while their competitors (HP, IBM, and SGI - poor saps) flounder in the Unix market.

Re:The hole it left has been filled (1)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007043)

Agreed. Their website site should read "The other, other Office has arrived!" What's worse, there's no mention of the Linux version on their site (other than the North America only store item linked in the article). It's like they're scared to say it in public or something...

Re:The hole it left has been [mod parent up!] (1)

bach37 (602070) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007060)

Right on, man. Looking at their "proof" or whatever version for Linux, it's quite a bit lacking of what OpenOffice.org has to offer right now, and for free.

Scott in NC

Re:The hole it left has been filled (4, Informative)

Christopher Thomas (11717) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007086)

Why would I change back from a decent, FREE, application like OpenOffice to WordPerfect? If they're planning on selling it on the name, or because people remember WP, it's too late for that now. OpenOffice has taken over, and could soon be challenging MS Office in a big way.

OpenOffice will convince me to abandon Office when it stops mangling fonts and layout for the Word documents people keep sending me. I can read them, but they don't look pretty, and I'm sure as heck not going to _write_ anything in OO while this is a concern.

Bad install? Maybe. But I've run into the problem in two unrelated *nix labs where it was installed. I suppose _both_ admins _could_ be sloppy, but they've been pretty sharp in other regards.

If I'm writing documents in *nix, I use LaTeX and send people postscript or PDF. But when I need to give someone a Word document, or bring a PowerPoint slide show to a conference, I use MS Office.

Your mileage may vary.

Re:The hole it left has been filled (4, Informative)

the unbeliever (201915) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007128)

Mangled fonts are most likely the result of the writer of the document using a borked TTF font that has no equivalent under *nix, and doesn't tell the application a good alternative.

Why change back? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9007093)

Why would I change back from a decent, FREE, application like OpenOffice to WordPerfect?

For the nostalgia value! That's why I've still got WordPerfect 7 installed, anyway. Each click on the craptacular Motif interface takes me back to the heady days of 1997, when even COBOL programmers could find jobs, when the word "terrorists" just meant rednecks with truck bombs, and when we were all so desperate for a Linux word processor that we would even pay for one without source code, praying that the company selling it would stay in the Linux business forever and not leave us orphaned when the next unreadable version of the .doc format came out.

Re:The hole it left has been filled (4, Interesting)

DragonMagic (170846) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007149)

Hah! I knew someone would bring up the "Why should I pay for something when there's a perfectly good version for free!" argument on this.

I've used WordPerfect since version 4.x. I also use Linux (and Windows). I've tested many different word processing programs (and still do), including StarOffice and OpenOffice.org

WordPerfect will continue to be the word processing program for me because of many features that OO.o seems not to want to include.

Among them? A good Grammatik checker. Advanced typesetting features. Legal templates. Perfect listing of paper and label types purchasable from the store. Great print-as-booklet/double-sided printing. Advanced print-spooling functions (how do you want them to print? Set batches and WP does the rest).

The main problem with ALL other word processing programs is that typesetting. I haven't found one single program, free or proprietary, that has the ability for me to assign an advance-from that works, besides WordPerfect. And I believe they've been doing it since at least 6.

OpenOffice has NOT taken over. It's installed on nearly every distribution of desktop Linux, but it still pales in comparison to WordPerfect for both writers and legal professionals. Until it can come near WordPerfect in the above-mentioned abilities, it'll still be just a glorified vim to me.

And please, before you make statements that OO.o is taking over and giving MS Office a challenge, make sure it's fact and not your opinion. Where's the data that OO.o is in use enough to make a challenge soon for MS Office share?

Re:The hole it left has been filled (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007150)

At the time WordPerfect was easily the most popular proprietary application for GNU/Linux...Why would I change back from a decent, FREE, application like OpenOffice to WordPerfect?

Even back then, it seemed like Star Office was far and away the most popular Linux word processor. I don't have a shred of real data to support that claim, but from word of mouth it seemed like people tried out the free Linux WP port, found it unusably slow or buggy and went back to either Star Office or vi/Emacs.

Re:The hole it left has been filled (1)

shystershep (643874) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007151)

For the majority of users, I'm sure there is no reason for a switch to WP. However, for those (like me) who have used WP for years the MS Word interface (and all its clones) is simply inferior. I am ecstatic that there is a version of WP that works on modern Linux distros, even if they never get further than the proof of concept.

Less subjectively, business users of WP are probably also the best candidates for a transition from MS to Linux. Law firms and the like don't need much other than WP, a browsesr and email. The word processor is probably the most used application on the computer, and having a Linux version would make a transition to Linux virtually painless, if not completely transparent. The switch from Exchange/Lotus to Evolution or Kmail would be the biggest change the average user would face.

If Corel goes ahead with this, I could see my firm possibly switching to Linux within 5-10 years (change happens slowly around here -- we just got computers in '97 or so). Without a Linux version of WP, I don't see it ever happening unless MS just implodes.

Re:The hole it left has been filled (1)

blindbat (189141) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007159)

I think this is where the reviewer hit it on the head. I switched from WP to OpenOffice. If WP could import OpenOffice documents I would likely buy the Linux version so I could easily convert my old WP documents. But why bother if that one feature I would use is not there. What a great review. Hopefully someone at Corel will read it.

Article Text (0, Redundant)

m3j00 (606453) | more than 9 years ago | (#9006858)

In the late 90's Corel experimented with the GNU/Linux operating system, developing their own distribution known as Corel Linux and porting their WordPerfect word processor to it. It survived from version 7 to version 9, but in August of 2001 the entire GNU/Linux project was cancelled at Corel and assets sold, thereby ending Corel Linux and WordPerfect Office for Linux. At the time WordPerfect was easily the most popular proprietary application for GNU/Linux, and the hole that it left opened the door for many people to switch to OpenOffice, StarOffice, AbiWord, KWord, TextMaker and others. Now with new leadership, Corel has come back with a proof-of-concept GNU/Linux rework of WordPerfect 8; this review will examine this proof-of-concept software as well as the new WP Office 12 for Windows to see just where Corel is headed with their office software. Purpose Office suite Manufacturer Corel Platforms Windows 98SE/NT/2K/XP/2003 (note that Windows ME is not supported) WordPerfect for Linux requires GNU/Linux with the 2.0 kernel or later and a functional X11 graphical environment License Proprietary, heavily restrictive Market Home users, small and medium-sized businesses, legal professionals and government agencies Price (retail) Available from the Corel e-store for US$300, or $150 for the upgrade. Academic editions are available for $100. Demo Click here to register and download the trial version of WP Office 12 Screen Shot See article for more than a dozen screen shots, or click here for a directory listing of all screenshots related to WP Office 12 Recommended System 128 MB RAM, Pentium III or equivalent processor, 400 MB hard disk space, CD-ROM drive, keyboard and mouse or tablet Product website Click here It was the promise of WordPerfect for Linux that got me to switch away from Windows in the first place, about a year and a half ago. Being an avid writer I was a die-hard fan of WordPerfect 10 (2002) and I didn't really want to switch if I couldn't use it anymore. Unfortunately after I completed the switch to GNU/Linux I was unable to locate any Linux-related resources on Corel's site -- they'd taken it all down. News came of Corel's money problems and rumor had it that a $135 million stock purchase (about 20% of the company) by Microsoft Corporation had kept Corel afloat with the understanding that they would terminate their GNU/Linux business. I don't know if the latter was true, but given the situation and the reputation of one of the parties involved I would say that it's at least likely. Not long after, Microsoft sold their shares to Vector Capital at a 90% loss. More recently Vector moved to buy the rest of the outstanding shares of Corel, thereby turning it into a privately held company again. Overall this is a very positive move because it prevents underhanded manipulation by outside companies like Microsoft (again), but oddly there were some who resisted the buyout. It's hard to tell what went on behind the scenes, but the results are obvious and quite encouraging: there is a renewed interest in GNU/Linux porting and now there's a new version of the superior WP Office for Windows. It's All About Microsoft One thing that has definitely changed is the market focus of the WP product line. Corel has already realized their niche markets (legal and government), and WP 10 and 11 seemed to pander specifically to them without regard for the competition. Good for lawyers and governments, but not necessarily so good for people who want to do other things. It's been a little over two years since WordPerfect 11 was announced and released, but I never had the chance to review it because there was some mysterious reluctance to sending out review copies of the software at the time of my request. No surprise that there was virtually no press on WordPerfect 11 except for legal and government-related print publications. That tunnel-vision focus is gone and has now broadened to include small and medium-sized businesses and cost-conscious consumers looking for a cheaper solution to MS Office; specifically Corel's press and marketing materials for WP Office 12 tirelessly compare their new products to the new Microsoft Office System 2003. As far as comparing the entire suites is concerned, WordPerfect Office easily wins that duel considering the high price, anticlimactic feature set and mediocre reliability of MS Office System 2003 and the general superiority of WordPerfect as a word processor. Quattro Pro and WordPerfect are far more adaptable and customizable than Excel and Word are, and the tools and guides built into the suite are much more powerful and capable. Business users will appreciate the more flexible licensing that Corel allows, even if it isn't anywhere near ideal. The License Both WP for Linux and WP Office 12 share the same license agreement. I make a point of reading through every license agreement I am faced with, just to see what I'm up against. As a rule I only use Free Software or sensibly licensed proprietary software on my work machine, but a review is a review and licensing is only one aspect of the program. Some people don't care about a program's license at all; those people should read this article before installing another program. The usual restrictions are only slightly reduced in the standard agreement for Corel's WordPerfect Office 12, which gives the appearance of being more kind to the end-user than Microsoft, Macromedia or Adobe (the "axis of evil" for software licensing). You can install the software on your work machine and on a portable or home computer, but the two may not be used concurrently (Adobe allows for this as well). You can also install the software on a server for use over the network, but of course you must have each client machine licensed. The difference with Microsoft is that MS requires you to have two licenses for this situation: one for the server and one for the client, even though only one person is using the software -- in other words, Corel's licensing is per user instead of per CPU, with some limitations. Corel also will allow multiple licensed users to use that software concurrently as long as you have the proper licenses, whereas Microsoft only allows one client to connect to the software server at a time despite the number of licenses. The WP license states that you can only install and use one copy of the software per machine, which is kind of annoying. They could allow more than one copy per machine without any loss of revenue; many users have dual-boot machines or use virtual machine software to run more than one operating system at a time. For instance I have FreeBSD i386 and AMD64 on separate drives, and Gentoo Linux on another with Windows XP (for testing and software reviews only) through VMWare. According to the agreement if I wanted to use WordPerfect for Linux on all of these OSes I'd need three copies of the software unless I shared the same installation between the three. This isn't possible for me because my GNU/Linux home directory uses JFS and FreeBSD cannot mount a JFS partition, neither can GNU/Linux properly mount a FreeBSD UFS2 partition yet. You can transfer your license to anyone provided the receiving party agrees to the license agreement. If that's your plan, bring a lunch -- it's a long license agreement and you'll have a lot of explaining to do. Microsoft allows only for one transfer for the life of the license whereas Corel's does not have a limit to the number of transfers. The WP license says specifically that you can make a backup copy of the software, whereas the other proprietary behemoths refrain from specifically mentioning (and hint at prohibiting if possible) this once-common and certainly recommended safety precaution. One of the great advantages of the standard WP license over Microsoft's EULA is that if you upgrade from a qualifying product, you can still use that old product in addition to the new software. Microsoft's upgrade license says that the old license is terminated when you upgrade it, thereby making your old copy of the software useless (and possibly subject to destruction of the media and other accompanying materials depending on how you interpret Microsoft's EULA). What this means is that Corel allows you to more easily make a transition from the old product to the new one. This is particularly useful because WP Office 12 accepts a number of Microsoft programs as qualifying products to upgrade from, including MS Office 2000, XP, 2003; MS Works 7; MS Works Suite 2003 and any newer editions of any of these applications or suites. You can also upgrade from Corel WP 8; WordPerfect Office 2000, 2002, 11; WordPerfect Family Pack 1-5; Paradox 8-10; CorelDRAW 11 and Graphics Suite 11 and 12; and Corel Painter 8. So if you wanted to switch from MS Office 2000 to WordPerfect Office 12, you can do so while still keeping the old software on your computer while you're making the transition. The rest of the license covers exceptions for people in other countries and licenses for third-party programs and extensions included with WP Office 12. Other Methods Of Licensing In addition to the standard retail box single-user license (the standard license), Corel also offers two other licensing programs. The first is Corel Transactional Licensing, which allows a business or individual to purchase right-to-copy and multi-platform license agreements. This is the only way to buy WordPerfect Office 12 Professional (the Standard edition is available through retailers or through the Corel e-store). There is no minimum purchase requirement. The second licensing program is Corel Contractual Licensing. This requires a negotiable 1-year term contract with Corel for the software (both new and upgrade editions) plus various services like software maintenance, ancillary products, training, consulting and support services. There is a minimum initial order due when the contract is signed, but the amount depends on your specific agreement. Proof Of Concept: WP For Linux What is a proof-of-concept? It's a lot of things, but mostly it's meant to test the feasibility of future GNU/Linux products. It's used for internal testing and development at Corel, evaluation by potential large customers, and as a kind of litmus test to see if a potential product will find a market. In this case Corel is attempting to find out whether or not they can re-enter the GNU/Linux market successfully, how much money and effort it will take, and if people are interested in buying their products. To do this, they've taken WordPerfect 8 for Linux and updated it with bugfixes, features and compatibility hacks to make it install and work with modern GNU/Linux distros. So what we have is an updated but not really current product. It's fully functional, but it does look kind of "old" in terms of how programs are generally designed and laid out today. The new WordPerfect for Linux doesn't have a basic shell like newer versions do; instead it's divided into a master program control window and a document window as seen here. This makes the menus harder to customize, and the editable area of the document screen is smaller than normal. Since WP for Linux looks old, I immediately assumed too much about it. After using it for a few days I found that the new WordPerfect for Linux has many of the same features found in WP 9 and WP 10, but they're not in the same places. The Grammatik grammar assistant is there and it works fairly well (even by modern standards) but it doesn't offer restructuring suggestions like WP 10 and above and it doesn't check pre-existing documents when they are opened (you have to modify and save the document to get Grammatik to kick in). The spell-checker is better than even some modern proprietary word processors, and the thesaurus is just as good. The only thing the dictionary is missing is definitions for words, a very useful feature that WP 10 and up have (I countered this by adding the KDict applet to my KDE taskbar, so when I want to look up a word I type it into the applet text box and I get definitions from three or four different sources). There is a watermarking feature (something MS Word didn't officially have until Office XP), but it doesn't allow for alpha-blending of graphics; in other words you can't make a graphic watermark partially transparent (it does allow this for text watermarks). There is no print preview function, and the font selection is limited to 22 built-in fonts that Corel provides. They're nothing fancy -- just the usual TrueType selections mixed in with a few others. I eventually did find a ton of fonts on the installation CD, but they are not installed by default and you have to go through a special font installation process to get them into WP. These instructions are not covered by the standard readme.1st file in the CD's root directory, but within a further readme directory. The help file, as seen here, seems to accidentally characterize hard returns, and the mouse scroll wheel is not operational within any part of WordPerfect for Linux. The conversion filters are lacking good MS Word support (it works, but specially formatted things like bulleted lists do not properly convert) and there is no support for converting from .SXW (OpenOffice/StarOffice format) or .LWP (Lotus Word Pro format). Priced at US$30 (click here to buy it from the Corel e-store), the proof-of-concept WordPerfect product is certainly competition for TextMaker and Sun StarOffice 7 (and of course OpenOffice.org), but you shouldn't expect WP 12-quality features and performance from it at this point. Even as it is, WordPerfect for Linux is a useful program with a lot of excellent features that make it valuable, such as the famous Reveal Codes function and the thesaurus suggestion box. It also offers full WP for Windows compatibility, so you can easily use and edit your WordPerfect 5.1 and newer files on GNU/Linux or any system that offers full binary compatibility with the Linux kernel. WordPerfect for Linux seems to work reasonably well in most respects. Overall it is an excellent starting point from which to continue development on a GNU/Linux edition of WordPerfect. If you have any suggestions for Corel in regards to how they can better improve their product or how they can add important features, click here and create a customer service login account to tell Corel what changes or additions you'd like to see. WordPerfect 12 WordPerfect for Windows started its comeback with version 9, made a lot more progress with version 10, and then version 11 didn't seem to have much more to add. Here we are on version 12 now, with the primary advantage over the previous editions being the more liberal corporate licensing programs. There just aren't any new features to add to word processors anymore, and it's been that way for years... but you can't have an upgrade product without adding new features or functions. Here's a list of the new features in WordPerfect 12: Workspace Manager MS Outlook Integration Wireless Office Suite powered by ZIM OfficeReady file browser Enhanced export to PDF functionality Enhanced PerfectExpert Better MS Office compatibility Export to HTML and XML capabilities Support for three scripting languages The Workspace Manager allows you to choose a compatibility mode for your interface. You can make WordPerfect 12 look and feel more like Microsoft Word 2003, or like WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS, or you can adjust the toolbars and menus for legal mode for those in legal professions, and of course there is the native WordPerfect standard mode. This auto-customization is especially useful for those making the transition from Word or older versions of WordPerfect; believe it or not there are still a large number of WP 5.1 users who refuse to switch to a more modern version of the program because it looks different. WP 11 had this feature, but it has been updated for the new version. Personally I prefer to start with standard mode and customize it for my own needs, removing any buttons from the toolbar that I know I'll never use. Oddly, Corel has dropped the Corel Central PIM/email application from the suite. While Corel Central was never an outstanding application on its own and was no competition for Lotus Notes or Microsoft Outlook, it was at least an option. I was expecting a new and improved Central, but instead the project's been whittled down to just an address book. It's a little strange that Outlook integration would be a priority for Corel, being that their perceived chief competitor is Microsoft. Among the MS Office suite, Outlook is often believed to be the most important to productivity, so perhaps Corel is conceding that Outlook is a necessity even if Word, Excel and PowerPoint are not. I had no means of testing the Wireless Office Suite, but it looks quite useful for connecting with your PDA. Again, WP Office 11 had this program but it has been updated to support MS Outlook 2003. The OfficeReady template browser is more or less superfluous; all it does is help you preview groups of template files. If you don't use document templates or use few of them often, this program might never be used. If you're looking for just the right template or need to compare a lot of templates at once, the OfficeReady browser could be quite useful. In looking at the entire WordPerfect Office 12 package, the OfficeReady file browser adds value but doesn't really stand out on its own. The export to PDF function has been available since WP 10, but in version 12 you're given much more control over your PDF -- almost as much as you get with the full Adobe Acrobat program. In all of the word processors I've used, the export to PDF function is by far the best in WordPerfect 12. This function alone can make the upgrade price worthwhile if you're using WP 10 or MS Office and regularly use (or would like to use) PDFs. The PerfectExpert is a collection and amalgamation of writing tools, help files and wizards to assist you in analyzing or modifying your document in interesting ways, or in creating a new document from a complex template. The features have been incrementally improved, but nothing major has been added since version 10. PerfectExpert is at once useful and annoying; I wish I could separate some of its functions into buttons that can be added to the toolbar rather than swim through two menus to get to such important operations (to me) as the word count. PerfectExpert, being more useful and easier to navigate, is leaps and bounds above Microsoft's insipid and intrusive Office Assistant. The ability to import and export files in Word .DOC format is very important to many people, and the ability of your word processor to do it right is equally important. Unfortunately WordPerfect is, well, not perfect at exporting Word files. I didn't find any problems with importing .DOC files written in Word, but I didn't have any heavily formatted Word documents to test with. If you'd like me to test one of your Word documents to see if WP 12 or WP Linux can convert it properly, just email it to me and I'll send you a screen shot. For my conversion testing I used my personal letterhead. Yes, I know it's not very fancy but it incorporates a lot of strange and unusual formatting that you might find in other letters or documents. Ideally I'd have this as a template and I'd use custom headings for the title and my contact information, but since most people don't do it the "right" way, I decided to do it the hacky way for testing purposes. Click here to see the test document (letterhead) created in WP 12 as it should look. Click here to see what it looks like in Word XP after it has been exported with WP 12. Click here to see what the exported file looks like when reopened with WP 12. As you can see, the font sizes and positions were changed slightly and the horizontal line completely disappeared during the export process -- and since it displays this way in both Word and WordPerfect, it's reasonable to assume that it's not a display error causing these problems. This isn't bad by any means, but it is not as it should be. Hopefully this can be addressed in a future service pack. All of the programs in the suite can export to XML or HTML, although the HTML produced is not pretty. It's not as bad as some programs, but it's functional even if it's enormously bloated; autogenerated HTML is never a thing of beauty. WordPerfect and Quattro Pro 12 now support scripting in Microsoft Visual Basic as well as PerfectScript and ObjectPAL (the latter being designed for better integration with Paradox). This means that it's easier to port macros from Microsoft applications to WordPerfect 12 while retaining backwards compatibility with previous editions of the software. Exporting to PDF is excellent in WordPerfect 12; the only things that Adobe Acrobat 6.0 can do that WordPerfect 12 can't are add encrypted password protection, insert comments and edit text-only metadata. This far exceeds the ability of StarOffice 7.0 and other word processors that I'm aware of, which basically just send the formatted document to a PDF "printer" with few options to choose from. Microsoft Word 2003 can't even export to PDF at all, let alone add hyperlinks, thumbnails and a table of contents. I was quite disappointed to see that the Oxford dictionary module was not complete. Furthermore the option to buy the expanded dictionary was not available to me because of an error with my product serial number (possibly due to this being a media review copy of the software). As I recall from WP 10, the dictionary add-on is in the vicinity of $25 and is only available through special download from an otherwise inaccessible area of the Corel e-store. Also included with WordPerfect Office 12 are a set of special legal tools: the Pleading Wizard, the Clipbook, and the Concordance Tool. I am not a legal professional (neither am I an illegal professional) so I don't know how to use these or if they're useful to the right people. WordPerfect itself also has built-in functions specific to law, and as mentioned above it has a special mode just for legal professionals to help them be more productive in their work. Also of note is support for EDGAR electronic document filing. Lastly, the Reveal Codes feature is of course still there and fully functional. This allows you to edit the formatting codes directly rather than use the usual WYSIWYG interface. Aside from helping you to fix otherwise seemingly unfixable formatting errors, it also allows people to more specifically format their documents if they know how. The reason why this function is specific to WordPerfect is because it's the only commercial word processor that needs it; the .WPD file format stores formatting data in the same space as the document text. In other words the formatting codes are interspersed with the actual text content, just like you see it when you turn on Reveal Codes. Microsoft Word and most other word processors store the text separately from the formatting codes, so there is no way to add a Reveal Codes function if there are no codes in the document to reveal. Quattro Pro 12 Like WordPerfect, Quattro Pro also has a Workspace Manager to put the program's interface into different compatibility modes. This time the modes include Quattro Pro standard, Microsoft Excel, and Lotus 123. I couldn't find anything that Excel could do that Quattro Pro couldn't, except of course for the digital restriction management capabilities of Excel 2003 when combined with Windows Server 2003. Inevitably readers will have specific questions regarding capabilities and functionalities; if these questions are not answered on Corel's website you can direct them to me and I'll do my best to see if Quattro Pro can do what you want it to. One significant addition to Quattro Pro 12 is the CrossTab Reports function, which is Corel's alternative to Microsoft's PivotTables in Excel. CrossTab Reports lets you analyze, summarize, and organize table data. All of the dynamic data functions of PivotTables are available in CrossTab Reports, so you can constantly update your spreadsheet with changing data from the web or other worksheets or databases. Presentations Presentation software has quietly become an essential tool for validating otherwise totally useless company meetings; it makes a lot of nothing look like something important by using visual effects and bulleted lists with fancy backgrounds. Corel Presentations is just as astonishingly easy to use as Microsoft PowerPoint and OpenOffice.org Impress, and includes all of the same tools. The three programs are essentially the same with the primary difference being their interfaces. But that's where Presentations has the advantage: by using the Workspace Manager it can make itself look and feel like Microsoft PowerPoint or default to its standard interface. The PerfectExpert in Presentations works just like the wizards in Impress and PowerPoint, guiding you in building your presentation with easy-to-follow steps. Presentations also allows you to publish your slide show as "quick and dirty" HTML, a Macromedia Flash .SWF movie, or as a self-contained executable that can run and show your presentation on any Windows computer regardless of whether or not it has Presentations 12 installed on it. The latter is a handy feature considering Microsoft PowerPoint 2003 requires a separate proprietary viewer program to play PowerPoint files on machines that don't have MS Office installed on them. The Paradox Relational Database Paradox 11 is included with the Professional edition of WordPerfect Office 12 only. In other words it hasn't been updated from the previous edition of WordPerfect Office and it's not included with WP Office 12 Standard edition. The Professional edition is not available through normal licensing procedures; if you want this edition you'll have to go through the transactional licensing program at Corel. Fortunately you don't have to be a corporation to buy the software, and you can buy only one license if you want. Pricing for the Professional edition was not readily available through the Corel website as of this writing, but I'm guessing its significantly more expensive than the standard edition. The only way to properly test a relational database program is to put a ton of data into it and see how it handles various kinds of requests and queries. Unfortunately I had neither the time nor the data to perform this test. All I can give you is this screenshot of the opening screen. Conclusions WordPerfect for Linux and WordPerfect Office 12 are two outstanding products that were released two years too late. While they are still excellent in their own right and compete well with other products in their class, they don't present very many compelling reasons to switch. WordPerfect Office 12 is missing some key elements that I envision for the perfect office suite: a good PIM/email client, operability across several platforms, compatibility with competing products, and a user-friendly minimally restrictive license. I'm not so concerned with the Word conversion blunder that I came across so much as I am bothered by the fact that WordPerfect can't recognize or convert .SXW (OpenOffice/StarOffice) files, especially considering this file format is an open standard based on XML. In other words it should be exceptionally easy to implement .SXW conversion capabilities yet Corel has refused to do it. I don't think this is ignorance of the format so much as it is an attempt to discredit the competition by pretending that OpenOffice.org and StarOffice don't exist. Corel claims that .SXW conversion isn't in the product because no one has requested it. I say if you wait for good (and obvious, and easy) features to be requested, you've already missed your initial window of opportunity to make some sales. But that's the trouble -- that's the problem that Corel didn't consider. They have incorrectly targeted Microsoft as the primary competition when it is OpenOffice.org that is the true threat. Microsoft is the target because they dominate the market, but Corel will never be able to take them down because the "other" competition with Microsoft in its sights has a cheaper, freer, functional and fully featured product. Now and in the future, proprietary companies are going to have to face Free (as in rights, not price) Software head on and find good reasons why people should spend so much more money on a product that restricts their rights and offers little in return. There is no doubt -- as I mentioned above -- that WP Office 12 is a better product than MS Office System 2003 Standard in a home or small/medium-sized business environment, but I don't think that matters anymore with the market moving rapidly toward substantially cheaper and easier-to-license Free and Open-Source solutions. Corel's selling points won't sway anyone who already knows about StarOffice and/or OpenOffice. Fortunately for Corel, they seem to be slowly moving in the right direction. WordPerfect for Linux may not be as nice as WordPerfect 12 is, but it's priced right and it offers a few of good features that other GNU/Linux word processors don't have and it will allow WP users to think more seriously about migrating to GNU/Linux. But this should not be the end of the line for Corel's Linux efforts if they want a shot at the kind of market strength that WordPerfect once had. Developer Recommendations WordPerfect is one of my favorite word processors, but there is still room for improvement: More customization. First of all, every single function in each program should be able to be buttonized and placed in the toolbar or in a menu. If I want to add a running word count to the document bar, I should be able to. Also, the Workspace Manager is an outstanding innovation but it needs more "modes" to accommodate professional writers (specifically journalists, novelists and technical and academic writers) and other professionals. .SXW conversion capabilities. If you want more people to switch to WordPerfect, you have to make it easy for them to convert their documents. There are a ton of StarOffice and OpenOffice users who can't open their documents in WordPerfect because there is no conversion function for .SXW documents. It's an open standard and it is very easily implemented. Don't pull a Microsoft and pretend the competition isn't there -- face it head on and implement .SXW import/export functionality. Offer WordPerfect standalone. While the WP Family Pack is a great idea in its own right, there really ought to be a standalone WordPerfect 12 program for purchase -- not the "lite" edition. There are many people -- especially those who write for a living -- who don't need a spreadsheet or anything else other than a really good word processor. Smaller companies like SoftMaker understand this need, and even Microsoft quietly offers Word and all of its other Office System 2003 products as standalone programs (for a ton of money). Corel should also explore the possibility of offering WP standalone for a greatly reduced price or for free download. This would substantially improve market share with little effect on office suite sales. WordPerfect, if it were standalone and free (as in rights and/or price), could easily dominate the word processor market and become a must-have for everyone who uses word processors. This is the only way I can see for Corel to succeed in gaining market share at this point. More liberated licensing. While Corel's licensing is somewhat less restrictive than Microsoft's, it still isn't on par with other proprietary office programs from SoftMaker and Sun and certainly nowhere near the licensing freedom of Free Software programs like OpenOffice.org, KWord, and AbiWord. There is no evidence to suggest that opening up the licensing restrictions will cause a reduction in sales, but an open-source licensing model will allow Corel to more cheaply streamline the program while increasing their user base. We need a PIM. Corel Central was not really all that great as an email and personal information manager. That doesn't mean it should have been abandoned -- it should have been improved instead. As an alternative, there are several Free Software projects like Aethera and Evolution that Corel could easily modify or adapt for inclusion with WP Office. Don't doom the Linux product to failure. Making a product for GNU/Linux does not always yield an immediate profit or market response. But what it will do is create options for customers considering large-scale migration projects. These days the trend in business is to save money and increase reliability and security by moving some or all workstation and server systems from Microsoft Windows to the GNU/Linux operating system. If some of these entities are already using WordPerfect, having a Linux product already on the market can be the deciding factor for them -- and that leads to sales. Not having a product will not always stop the migration, and is more likely to lead to other cross-platform solutions like StarOffice or OpenOffice. Corel has already learned through its modified licensing programs that options == profits. Now it's time to apply that principle to more than just licensing.

Re:Article Text (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9006877)

one big paragraph....yay

WordPerfect for Linux (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9006864)

I think WordPerfect for Linux would be AWESOME!!!

Re:WordPerfect for Linux (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9006884)

me too

Re:WordPerfect for Linux (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9006910)

does anyone ever wonder if ACs respond to themselves?

Re:WordPerfect for Linux (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9006959)

yes we do. Don't I.

GNU/Linux (-1, Troll)

jabbadabbadoo (599681) | more than 9 years ago | (#9006870)

"...but mostly it's meant to test the feasibility of future GNU/Linux products"

Ah, Richard Stallman must be having wet dreams about the author of this review already.

I remember using WordPerfect 5.1 on my dos 3.3 box (4, Informative)

i_am_pi (570652) | more than 9 years ago | (#9006881)

A history on wordperfect [wikipedia.org] by the great Wikipedia.

Re:I remember using WordPerfect 5.1 on my dos 3.3 (0)

BuddieFox (771947) | more than 9 years ago | (#9006912)

Kharma whoring are we? :)

Re:I remember using WordPerfect 5.1 on my dos 3.3 (1)

i_am_pi (570652) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007046)

No, if i were karma whoring i would have been moderated up like LostCluster [slashdot.org]. Straight +5 Insightfuls. What a slashbot cocksucker.

Re:I remember using WordPerfect 5.1 on my dos 3.3 (0, Troll)

rkz (667993) | more than 9 years ago | (#9006913)

According to WikiPedia corel have abandoned the linux version as of April 2004

*thrums fingers on the desk* (4, Funny)

Faust7 (314817) | more than 9 years ago | (#9006892)

an extensive review (all in one page, no flash ads -- what a concept!)

And for all the bandwidth that would save, the webserver is still DOA...

Full text (3, Informative)

MarcDuflot (701877) | more than 9 years ago | (#9006898)

In the late 90's Corel experimented with the GNU/Linux operating system, developing their own distribution known as Corel Linux and porting their WordPerfect word processor to it. It survived from version 7 to version 9, but in August of 2001 the entire GNU/Linux project was cancelled at Corel and assets sold, thereby ending Corel Linux and WordPerfect Office for Linux. At the time WordPerfect was easily the most popular proprietary application for GNU/Linux, and the hole that it left opened the door for many people to switch to OpenOffice, StarOffice, AbiWord, KWord, TextMaker and others. Now with new leadership, Corel has come back with a proof-of-concept GNU/Linux rework of WordPerfect 8; this review will examine this proof-of-concept software as well as the new WP Office 12 for Windows to see just where Corel is headed with their office software.

Purpose
Office suite

Manufacturer
Corel

Platforms
Windows 98SE/NT/2K/XP/2003 (note that Windows ME is not supported)
WordPerfect for Linux requires GNU/Linux with the 2.0 kernel or later and a functional X11 graphical environment

License
Proprietary, heavily restrictive

Market
Home users, small and medium-sized businesses, legal professionals and government agencies

Price (retail)
Available from the Corel e-store for US$300, or $150 for the upgrade. Academic editions are available for $100.

Demo
Click here to register and download the trial version of WP Office 12

Screen Shot
See article for more than a dozen screen shots, or click here for a directory listing of all screenshots related to WP Office 12

Recommended System
128 MB RAM, Pentium III or equivalent processor, 400 MB hard disk space, CD-ROM drive, keyboard and mouse or tablet

It was the promise of WordPerfect for Linux that got me to switch away from Windows in the first place, about a year and a half ago. Being an avid writer I was a die-hard fan of WordPerfect 10 (2002) and I didn't really want to switch if I couldn't use it anymore. Unfortunately after I completed the switch to GNU/Linux I was unable to locate any Linux-related resources on Corel's site -- they'd taken it all down. News came of Corel's money problems and rumor had it that a $135 million stock purchase (about 20% of the company) by Microsoft Corporation had kept Corel afloat with the understanding that they would terminate their GNU/Linux business. I don't know if the latter was true, but given the situation and the reputation of one of the parties involved I would say that it's at least likely.

Not long after, Microsoft sold their shares to Vector Capital at a 90% loss. More recently Vector moved to buy the rest of the outstanding shares of Corel, thereby turning it into a privately held company again. Overall this is a very positive move because it prevents underhanded manipulation by outside companies like Microsoft (again), but oddly there were some who resisted the buyout. It's hard to tell what went on behind the scenes, but the results are obvious and quite encouraging: there is a renewed interest in GNU/Linux porting and now there's a new version of the superior WP Office for Windows.

It's All About Microsoft

One thing that has definitely changed is the market focus of the WP product line. Corel has already realized their niche markets (legal and government), and WP 10 and 11 seemed to pander specifically to them without regard for the competition. Good for lawyers and governments, but not necessarily so good for people who want to do other things.

It's been a little over two years since WordPerfect 11 was announced and released, but I never had the chance to review it because there was some mysterious reluctance to sending out review copies of the software at the time of my request. No surprise that there was virtually no press on WordPerfect 11 except for legal and government-related print publications. That tunnel-vision focus is gone and has now broadened to include small and medium-sized businesses and cost-conscious consumers looking for a cheaper solution to MS Office; specifically Corel's press and marketing materials for WP Office 12 tirelessly compare their new products to the new Microsoft Office System 2003. As far as comparing the entire suites is concerned, WordPerfect Office easily wins that duel considering the high price, anticlimactic feature set and mediocre reliability of MS Office System 2003 and the general superiority of WordPerfect as a word processor. Quattro Pro and WordPerfect are far more adaptable and customizable than Excel and Word are, and the tools and guides built into the suite are much more powerful and capable. Business users will appreciate the more flexible licensing that Corel allows, even if it isn't anywhere near ideal.

The License

Both WP for Linux and WP Office 12 share the same license agreement. I make a point of reading through every license agreement I am faced with, just to see what I'm up against. As a rule I only use Free Software or sensibly licensed proprietary software on my work machine, but a review is a review and licensing is only one aspect of the program. Some people don't care about a program's license at all; those people should read this article before installing another program.

The usual restrictions are only slightly reduced in the standard agreement for Corel's WordPerfect Office 12, which gives the appearance of being more kind to the end-user than Microsoft, Macromedia or Adobe (the "axis of evil" for software licensing). You can install the software on your work machine and on a portable or home computer, but the two may not be used concurrently (Adobe allows for this as well). You can also install the software on a server for use over the network, but of course you must have each client machine licensed. The difference with Microsoft is that MS requires you to have two licenses for this situation: one for the server and one for the client, even though only one person is using the software -- in other words, Corel's licensing is per user instead of per CPU, with some limitations. Corel also will allow multiple licensed users to use that software concurrently as long as you have the proper licenses, whereas Microsoft only allows one client to connect to the software server at a time despite the number of licenses. The WP license states that you can only install and use one copy of the software per machine, which is kind of annoying. They could allow more than one copy per machine without any loss of revenue; many users have dual-boot machines or use virtual machine software to run more than one operating system at a time. For instance I have FreeBSD i386 and AMD64 on separate drives, and Gentoo Linux on another with Windows XP (for testing and software reviews only) through VMWare. According to the agreement if I wanted to use WordPerfect for Linux on all of these OSes I'd need three copies of the software unless I shared the same installation between the three. This isn't possible for me because my GNU/Linux home directory uses JFS and FreeBSD cannot mount a JFS partition, neither can GNU/Linux properly mount a FreeBSD UFS2 partition yet.

You can transfer your license to anyone provided the receiving party agrees to the license agreement. If that's your plan, bring a lunch -- it's a long license agreement and you'll have a lot of explaining to do. Microsoft allows only for one transfer for the life of the license whereas Corel's does not have a limit to the number of transfers.

The WP license says specifically that you can make a backup copy of the software, whereas the other proprietary behemoths refrain from specifically mentioning (and hint at prohibiting if possible) this once-common and certainly recommended safety precaution.

One of the great advantages of the standard WP license over Microsoft's EULA is that if you upgrade from a qualifying product, you can still use that old product in addition to the new software. Microsoft's upgrade license says that the old license is terminated when you upgrade it, thereby making your old copy of the software useless (and possibly subject to destruction of the media and other accompanying materials depending on how you interpret Microsoft's EULA). What this means is that Corel allows you to more easily make a transition from the old product to the new one. This is particularly useful because WP Office 12 accepts a number of Microsoft programs as qualifying products to upgrade from, including MS Office 2000, XP, 2003; MS Works 7; MS Works Suite 2003 and any newer editions of any of these applications or suites. You can also upgrade from Corel WP 8; WordPerfect Office 2000, 2002, 11; WordPerfect Family Pack 1-5; Paradox 8-10; CorelDRAW 11 and Graphics Suite 11 and 12; and Corel Painter 8. So if you wanted to switch from MS Office 2000 to WordPerfect Office 12, you can do so while still keeping the old software on your computer while you're making the transition.

The rest of the license covers exceptions for people in other countries and licenses for third-party programs and extensions included with WP Office 12.

Other Methods Of Licensing

In addition to the standard retail box single-user license (the standard license), Corel also offers two other licensing programs. The first is Corel Transactional Licensing, which allows a business or individual to purchase right-to-copy and multi-platform license agreements. This is the only way to buy WordPerfect Office 12 Professional (the Standard edition is available through retailers or through the Corel e-store). There is no minimum purchase requirement.

The second licensing program is Corel Contractual Licensing. This requires a negotiable 1-year term contract with Corel for the software (both new and upgrade editions) plus various services like software maintenance, ancillary products, training, consulting and support services. There is a minimum initial order due when the contract is signed, but the amount depends on your specific agreement.

Proof Of Concept: WP For Linux

What is a proof-of-concept? It's a lot of things, but mostly it's meant to test the feasibility of future GNU/Linux products. It's used for internal testing and development at Corel, evaluation by potential large customers, and as a kind of litmus test to see if a potential product will find a market. In this case Corel is attempting to find out whether or not they can re-enter the GNU/Linux market successfully, how much money and effort it will take, and if people are interested in buying their products. To do this, they've taken WordPerfect 8 for Linux and updated it with bugfixes, features and compatibility hacks to make it install and work with modern GNU/Linux distros.

So what we have is an updated but not really current product. It's fully functional, but it does look kind of "old" in terms of how programs are generally designed and laid out today. The new WordPerfect for Linux doesn't have a basic shell like newer versions do; instead it's divided into a master program control window and a document window as seen here. This makes the menus harder to customize, and the editable area of the document screen is smaller than normal.

Since WP for Linux looks old, I immediately assumed too much about it. After using it for a few days I found that the new WordPerfect for Linux has many of the same features found in WP 9 and WP 10, but they're not in the same places. The Grammatik grammar assistant is there and it works fairly well (even by modern standards) but it doesn't offer restructuring suggestions like WP 10 and above and it doesn't check pre-existing documents when they are opened (you have to modify and save the document to get Grammatik to kick in). The spell-checker is better than even some modern proprietary word processors, and the thesaurus is just as good. The only thing the dictionary is missing is definitions for words, a very useful feature that WP 10 and up have (I countered this by adding the KDict applet to my KDE taskbar, so when I want to look up a word I type it into the applet text box and I get definitions from three or four different sources). There is a watermarking feature (something MS Word didn't officially have until Office XP), but it doesn't allow for alpha-blending of graphics; in other words you can't make a graphic watermark partially transparent (it does allow this for text watermarks).

There is no print preview function, and the font selection is limited to 22 built-in fonts that Corel provides. They're nothing fancy -- just the usual TrueType selections mixed in with a few others. I eventually did find a ton of fonts on the installation CD, but they are not installed by default and you have to go through a special font installation process to get them into WP. These instructions are not covered by the standard readme.1st file in the CD's root directory, but within a further readme directory.

The help file, as seen here, seems to accidentally characterize hard returns, and the mouse scroll wheel is not operational within any part of WordPerfect for Linux.

The conversion filters are lacking good MS Word support (it works, but specially formatted things like bulleted lists do not properly convert) and there is no support for converting from .SXW (OpenOffice/StarOffice format) or .LWP (Lotus Word Pro format).

Priced at US$30 (click here to buy it from the Corel e-store), the proof-of-concept WordPerfect product is certainly competition for TextMaker and Sun StarOffice 7 (and of course OpenOffice.org), but you shouldn't expect WP 12-quality features and performance from it at this point. Even as it is, WordPerfect for Linux is a useful program with a lot of excellent features that make it valuable, such as the famous Reveal Codes function and the thesaurus suggestion box. It also offers full WP for Windows compatibility, so you can easily use and edit your WordPerfect 5.1 and newer files on GNU/Linux or any system that offers full binary compatibility with the Linux kernel.

WordPerfect for Linux seems to work reasonably well in most respects. Overall it is an excellent starting point from which to continue development on a GNU/Linux edition of WordPerfect. If you have any suggestions for Corel in regards to how they can better improve their product or how they can add important features, click here and create a customer service login account to tell Corel what changes or additions you'd like to see.

WordPerfect 12

WordPerfect for Windows started its comeback with version 9, made a lot more progress with version 10, and then version 11 didn't seem to have much more to add. Here we are on version 12 now, with the primary advantage over the previous editions being the more liberal corporate licensing programs.

There just aren't any new features to add to word processors anymore, and it's been that way for years... but you can't have an upgrade product without adding new features or functions. Here's a list of the new features in WordPerfect 12:

Workspace Manager

MS Outlook Integration

Wireless Office Suite powered by ZIM

OfficeReady file browser

Enhanced export to PDF functionality

Enhanced PerfectExpert

Better MS Office compatibility

Export to HTML and XML capabilities

Support for three scripting languages

The Workspace Manager allows you to choose a compatibility mode for your interface. You can make WordPerfect 12 look and feel more like Microsoft Word 2003, or like WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS, or you can adjust the toolbars and menus for legal mode for those in legal professions, and of course there is the native WordPerfect standard mode. This auto-customization is especially useful for those making the transition from Word or older versions of WordPerfect; believe it or not there are still a large number of WP 5.1 users who refuse to switch to a more modern version of the program because it looks different. WP 11 had this feature, but it has been updated for the new version. Personally I prefer to start with standard mode and customize it for my own needs, removing any buttons from the toolbar that I know I'll never use.

Oddly, Corel has dropped the Corel Central PIM/email application from the suite. While Corel Central was never an outstanding application on its own and was no competition for Lotus Notes or Microsoft Outlook, it was at least an option. I was expecting a new and improved Central, but instead the project's been whittled down to just an address book. It's a little strange that Outlook integration would be a priority for Corel, being that their perceived chief competitor is Microsoft. Among the MS Office suite, Outlook is often believed to be the most important to productivity, so perhaps Corel is conceding that Outlook is a necessity even if Word, Excel and PowerPoint are not.

I had no means of testing the Wireless Office Suite, but it looks quite useful for connecting with your PDA. Again, WP Office 11 had this program but it has been updated to support MS Outlook 2003.

The OfficeReady template browser is more or less superfluous; all it does is help you preview groups of template files. If you don't use document templates or use few of them often, this program might never be used. If you're looking for just the right template or need to compare a lot of templates at once, the OfficeReady browser could be quite useful. In looking at the entire WordPerfect Office 12 package, the OfficeReady file browser adds value but doesn't really stand out on its own.

The export to PDF function has been available since WP 10, but in version 12 you're given much more control over your PDF -- almost as much as you get with the full Adobe Acrobat program. In all of the word processors I've used, the export to PDF function is by far the best in WordPerfect 12. This function alone can make the upgrade price worthwhile if you're using WP 10 or MS Office and regularly use (or would like to use) PDFs.

The PerfectExpert is a collection and amalgamation of writing tools, help files and wizards to assist you in analyzing or modifying your document in interesting ways, or in creating a new document from a complex template. The features have been incrementally improved, but nothing major has been added since version 10. PerfectExpert is at once useful and annoying; I wish I could separate some of its functions into buttons that can be added to the toolbar rather than swim through two menus to get to such important operations (to me) as the word count. PerfectExpert, being more useful and easier to navigate, is leaps and bounds above Microsoft's insipid and intrusive Office Assistant.

The ability to import and export files in Word .DOC format is very important to many people, and the ability of your word processor to do it right is equally important. Unfortunately WordPerfect is, well, not perfect at exporting Word files. I didn't find any problems with importing .DOC files written in Word, but I didn't have any heavily formatted Word documents to test with. If you'd like me to test one of your Word documents to see if WP 12 or WP Linux can convert it properly, just email it to me and I'll send you a screen shot.

For my conversion testing I used my personal letterhead. Yes, I know it's not very fancy but it incorporates a lot of strange and unusual formatting that you might find in other letters or documents. Ideally I'd have this as a template and I'd use custom headings for the title and my contact information, but since most people don't do it the "right" way, I decided to do it the hacky way for testing purposes. Click here to see the test document (letterhead) created in WP 12 as it should look. Click here to see what it looks like in Word XP after it has been exported with WP 12. Click here to see what the exported file looks like when reopened with WP 12. As you can see, the font sizes and positions were changed slightly and the horizontal line completely disappeared during the export process -- and since it displays this way in both Word and WordPerfect, it's reasonable to assume that it's not a display error causing these problems. This isn't bad by any means, but it is not as it should be. Hopefully this can be addressed in a future service pack.

All of the programs in the suite can export to XML or HTML, although the HTML produced is not pretty. It's not as bad as some programs, but it's functional even if it's enormously bloated; autogenerated HTML is never a thing of beauty.

WordPerfect and Quattro Pro 12 now support scripting in Microsoft Visual Basic as well as PerfectScript and ObjectPAL (the latter being designed for better integration with Paradox). This means that it's easier to port macros from Microsoft applications to WordPerfect 12 while retaining backwards compatibility with previous editions of the software.

Exporting to PDF is excellent in WordPerfect 12; the only things that Adobe Acrobat 6.0 can do that WordPerfect 12 can't are add encrypted password protection, insert comments and edit text-only metadata. This far exceeds the ability of StarOffice 7.0 and other word processors that I'm aware of, which basically just send the formatted document to a PDF "printer" with few options to choose from. Microsoft Word 2003 can't even export to PDF at all, let alone add hyperlinks, thumbnails and a table of contents.

I was quite disappointed to see that the Oxford dictionary module was not complete. Furthermore the option to buy the expanded dictionary was not available to me because of an error with my product serial number (possibly due to this being a media review copy of the software). As I recall from WP 10, the dictionary add-on is in the vicinity of $25 and is only available through special download from an otherwise inaccessible area of the Corel e-store.

Also included with WordPerfect Office 12 are a set of special legal tools: the Pleading Wizard, the Clipbook, and the Concordance Tool. I am not a legal professional (neither am I an illegal professional) so I don't know how to use these or if they're useful to the right people. WordPerfect itself also has built-in functions specific to law, and as mentioned above it has a special mode just for legal professionals to help them be more productive in their work. Also of note is support for EDGAR electronic document filing.

Lastly, the Reveal Codes feature is of course still there and fully functional. This allows you to edit the formatting codes directly rather than use the usual WYSIWYG interface. Aside from helping you to fix otherwise seemingly unfixable formatting errors, it also allows people to more specifically format their documents if they know how. The reason why this function is specific to WordPerfect is because it's the only commercial word processor that needs it; the .WPD file format stores formatting data in the same space as the document text. In other words the formatting codes are interspersed with the actual text content, just like you see it when you turn on Reveal Codes. Microsoft Word and most other word processors store the text separately from the formatting codes, so there is no way to add a Reveal Codes function if there are no codes in the document to reveal.

Quattro Pro 12

Like WordPerfect, Quattro Pro also has a Workspace Manager to put the program's interface into different compatibility modes. This time the modes include Quattro Pro standard, Microsoft Excel, and Lotus 123. I couldn't find anything that Excel could do that Quattro Pro couldn't, except of course for the digital restriction management capabilities of Excel 2003 when combined with Windows Server 2003. Inevitably readers will have specific questions regarding capabilities and functionalities; if these questions are not answered on Corel's website you can direct them to me and I'll do my best to see if Quattro Pro can do what you want it to.

One significant addition to Quattro Pro 12 is the CrossTab Reports function, which is Corel's alternative to Microsoft's PivotTables in Excel. CrossTab Reports lets you analyze, summarize, and organize table data. All of the dynamic data functions of PivotTables are available in CrossTab Reports, so you can constantly update your spreadsheet with changing data from the web or other worksheets or databases.

Presentations

Presentation software has quietly become an essential tool for validating otherwise totally useless company meetings; it makes a lot of nothing look like something important by using visual effects and bulleted lists with fancy backgrounds. Corel Presentations is just as astonishingly easy to use as Microsoft PowerPoint and OpenOffice.org Impress, and includes all of the same tools. The three programs are essentially the same with the primary difference being their interfaces. But that's where Presentations has the advantage: by using the Workspace Manager it can make itself look and feel like Microsoft PowerPoint or default to its standard interface. The PerfectExpert in Presentations works just like the wizards in Impress and PowerPoint, guiding you in building your presentation with easy-to-follow steps.

Presentations also allows you to publish your slide show as "quick and dirty" HTML, a Macromedia Flash .SWF movie, or as a self-contained executable that can run and show your presentation on any Windows computer regardless of whether or not it has Presentations 12 installed on it. The latter is a handy feature considering Microsoft PowerPoint 2003 requires a separate proprietary viewer program to play PowerPoint files on machines that don't have MS Office installed on them.

The Paradox Relational Database

Paradox 11 is included with the Professional edition of WordPerfect Office 12 only. In other words it hasn't been updated from the previous edition of WordPerfect Office and it's not included with WP Office 12 Standard edition. The Professional edition is not available through normal licensing procedures; if you want this edition you'll have to go through the transactional licensing program at Corel. Fortunately you don't have to be a corporation to buy the software, and you can buy only one license if you want. Pricing for the Professional edition was not readily available through the Corel website as of this writing, but I'm guessing its significantly more expensive than the standard edition.

The only way to properly test a relational database program is to put a ton of data into it and see how it handles various kinds of requests and queries. Unfortunately I had neither the time nor the data to perform this test. All I can give you is this screenshot of the opening screen.

Conclusions

WordPerfect for Linux and WordPerfect Office 12 are two outstanding products that were released two years too late. While they are still excellent in their own right and compete well with other products in their class, they don't present very many compelling reasons to switch.

WordPerfect Office 12 is missing some key elements that I envision for the perfect office suite: a good PIM/email client, operability across several platforms, compatibility with competing products, and a user-friendly minimally restrictive license. I'm not so concerned with the Word conversion blunder that I came across so much as I am bothered by the fact that WordPerfect can't recognize or convert .SXW (OpenOffice/StarOffice) files, especially considering this file format is an open standard based on XML. In other words it should be exceptionally easy to implement .SXW conversion capabilities yet Corel has refused to do it. I don't think this is ignorance of the format so much as it is an attempt to discredit the competition by pretending that OpenOffice.org and StarOffice don't exist. Corel claims that .SXW conversion isn't in the product because no one has requested it. I say if you wait for good (and obvious, and easy) features to be requested, you've already missed your initial window of opportunity to make some sales.

But that's the trouble -- that's the problem that Corel didn't consider. They have incorrectly targeted Microsoft as the primary competition when it is OpenOffice.org that is the true threat. Microsoft is the target because they dominate the market, but Corel will never be able to take them down because the "other" competition with Microsoft in its sights has a cheaper, freer, functional and fully featured product. Now and in the future, proprietary companies are going to have to face Free (as in rights, not price) Software head on and find good reasons why people should spend so much more money on a product that restricts their rights and offers little in return. There is no doubt -- as I mentioned above -- that WP Office 12 is a better product than MS Office System 2003 Standard in a home or small/medium-sized business environment, but I don't think that matters anymore with the market moving rapidly toward substantially cheaper and easier-to-license Free and Open-Source solutions. Corel's selling points won't sway anyone who already knows about StarOffice and/or OpenOffice.

Fortunately for Corel, they seem to be slowly moving in the right direction. WordPerfect for Linux may not be as nice as WordPerfect 12 is, but it's priced right and it offers a few of good features that other GNU/Linux word processors don't have and it will allow WP users to think more seriously about migrating to GNU/Linux. But this should not be the end of the line for Corel's Linux efforts if they want a shot at the kind of market strength that WordPerfect once had.

Developer Recommendations

WordPerfect is one of my favorite word processors, but there is still room for improvement:

More customization. First of all, every single function in each program should be able to be buttonized and placed in the toolbar or in a menu. If I want to add a running word count to the document bar, I should be able to. Also, the Workspace Manager is an outstanding innovation but it needs more "modes" to accommodate professional writers (specifically journalists, novelists and technical and academic writers) and other professionals. .SXW conversion capabilities. If you want more people to switch to WordPerfect, you have to make it easy for them to convert their documents. There are a ton of StarOffice and OpenOffice users who can't open their documents in WordPerfect because there is no conversion function for .SXW documents. It's an open standard and it is very easily implemented. Don't pull a Microsoft and pretend the competition isn't there -- face it head on and implement .SXW import/export functionality.

Offer WordPerfect standalone. While the WP Family Pack is a great idea in its own right, there really ought to be a standalone WordPerfect 12 program for purchase -- not the "lite" edition. There are many people -- especially those who write for a living -- who don't need a spreadsheet or anything else other than a really good word processor. Smaller companies like SoftMaker understand this need, and even Microsoft quietly offers Word and all of its other Office System 2003 products as standalone programs (for a ton of money). Corel should also explore the possibility of offering WP standalone for a greatly reduced price or for free download. This would substantially improve market share with little effect on office suite sales. WordPerfect, if it were standalone and free (as in rights and/or price), could easily dominate the word processor market and become a must-have for everyone who uses word processors. This is the only way I can see for Corel to succeed in gaining market share at this point.

More liberated licensing. While Corel's licensing is somewhat less restrictive than Microsoft's, it still isn't on par with other proprietary office programs from SoftMaker and Sun and certainly nowhere near the licensing freedom of Free Software programs like OpenOffice.org, KWord, and AbiWord. There is no evidence to suggest that opening up the licensing restrictions will cause a reduction in sales, but an open-source licensing model will allow Corel to more cheaply streamline the program while increasing their user base.

We need a PIM. Corel Central was not really all that great as an email and personal information manager. That doesn't mean it should have been abandoned -- it should have been improved instead. As an alternative, there are several Free Software projects like Aethera and Evolution that Corel could easily modify or adapt for inclusion with WP Office.

Don't doom the Linux product to failure. Making a product for GNU/Linux does not always yield an immediate profit or market response. But what it will do is create options for customers considering large-scale migration projects. These days the trend in business is to save money and increase reliability and security by moving some or all workstation and server systems from Microsoft Windows to the GNU/Linux operating system. If some of these entities are already using WordPerfect, having a Linux product already on the market can be the deciding factor for them -- and that leads to sales. Not having a product will not always stop the migration, and is more likely to lead to other cross-platform solutions like StarOffice or OpenOffice. Corel has already learned through its modified licensing programs that options == profits. Now it's time to apply that principle to more than just licensing.

Copyright 2004 Jem Matzan. Verbatim copying and redistribution of this entire article are permitted without royalty in any medium provided this notice is preserved.

Re:Full text (4, Funny)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 9 years ago | (#9006940)

WordPerfect for Linux requires GNU/Linux with the 2.0 kernel or later and a functional X11 graphical environment

Aw! Guys, if only for nostalgia's sake: how about a curses version? I can't be the only one with fond memories of 5.1 for DOS...

Re:Full text (3, Interesting)

Mr. Neutron (3115) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007180)

I can't be the only one with fond memories of 5.1 for DOS...

No, you're not. That was a pretty darn good application, and possibly the high-point in Word Processor history. Ever since then, for Word and WordPerfect, it's been "what new junk can we shove in this thing to justify another release."

When I was in high school, I used to do my reports in WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS. Since my mom did desktop publishing out of our home, we had a laser printer. It would freak teachers out at school when I'd hand in my perfectly typeset, smooth-font report... when all the other students had crappy pixilated faded dot-matrix printouts.

Re:Full text (2, Interesting)

DragonMagic (170846) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007217)

Yeah... I got so good with 5.1 that I didn't even need that fuction-key placard to tell me what keys managed what functions.

Those were the good ol' days. I was hoping that the emulation of 5.1 would truly be a DOS text screen with the function menus on the bottom, but it just seems to be (from the screenshot) a color shift of a graphical window.

Whatever (3, Insightful)

dnoyeb (547705) | more than 9 years ago | (#9006901)

After coming back to WP at about v8-9, and moving through v11, I can safely say this program is stagnant. It seems like every other product bought by a company and shipped out to Russia or elsewhere for development. (Except Turbocad which I love)

See what simple bell you can add so that we can up the version and ship out a new one in 6 months. Fix old bugs? Sure a few, but the focus is more on adding junk in order to name a new edition.

I quit and gave in to MS Office. Why MS office? becuase it works best with windows (MS secret APIs undoubtidly), and my mom uses windows because of the visual aid software available on it. and I can not teach my mother to use Linux, so don't even say it! She is legally blind already..

Re:Whatever (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 9 years ago | (#9006970)

Dunno about the Windows version, but I can honestly say I would pay a hundred bucks for an OS X version of the last version of WordPerfect for Mac (3.5e) without any new features -- just OS X integration, with all the great features (and interface, please, not the pseudo-MS Office thing they seem to be pushing on the Windows and Linux version) from the OS 9 version. It's that good.

Re:Whatever (1)

Moderation abuser (184013) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007013)

" After coming back to WP at about v8-9, and moving through v11, I can safely say this program is stagnant."

You could say that about MS Word as well.

Maybe there just aren't all that many more features which can be added to a word processor.

Re:Whatever (1)

Arker (91948) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007164)

Stagnant? Useless bells and whistles added to up the version number, but little bug fixing? Sounds a lot like MS Office to me.

Frankly, if they'd just ship WP 6 with updated import filters, that would be a hell of a lot better than MS Office anyway.

Of course, I've never been a great fan of the whole wordprocessor idea - I'd rather have a good text processor and a good desktop publisher, and for most things that latter is un-needed. Wordprocessors always seem to be a half-assed text processor plus a quarter-assed DTP program wrapped into one, cumbersome in either role. But I've certainly had to use them often enough, so I've got plenty of experience to base an opinion on.

Re:Whatever (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007264)

Wordperfect is painfully annoying. One of the things that bothers me most is how it puts more icons in the system tray than everything else in there put together on any of the systems at work, and that includes those with an intel graphics card, a 3com nic (each has its own icon with certain drivers), a screenprint util, the network icon turned on, and the hotsync manager sitting in there. The fact that the icons cannot be collapsed (at least trivially, I haven't looked for info on this because we have about 10 machines with wordpervert office) into the main system tray icon for wp orifice. This alone is enough to piss me off about the suite. Frankly I don't see anything that it offers the average user over OO.o. I can kind of see buying wordperfect itself (as it has features that M$ office doesn't have, let alone OO.o) but not the rest of the suite.

Right on... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9006916)

This is the best comment ever to explain the role of presentation software:

"Presentation software has quietly become an essential tool for validating otherwise totally useless company meetings; it makes a lot of nothing look like something important (...)"

I would add:

If you don't have anything good to say, put it in a presentation.

Re:Right on... (2)

Zog The Undeniable (632031) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007039)

It also makes people
  • talk
  • think
  • and act
in bullet points, which is not particularly healthy.

A university lecturer once explained to us that a housefly's brain can process hundreds of simultaneous inputs and outputs. After going through 16 years of formal education, the human brain can cope with a single input and a single output. I'm sure bulleted presentations reinforce this.

Re:Right on... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9007075)

you are being harsh there....

nothing works like like pretty pictures..groovy animations and hip sounds do in helping a devoloper get across something technical to the managers

Writer (1)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 9 years ago | (#9006950)

You'd think that "Being an avid writer" this dude would know better than to double the recommened maximum of 66 characters per line.

Christ that page is hard on the eyes.

-Peter

Yawn (3, Insightful)

cozziewozzie (344246) | more than 9 years ago | (#9006952)

This is a glorified WP 8.0. Based on Motif and all. After that bombastic press release, I was expecting a bit too much, I guess; this is roughly the same thing we had in 1999.

When they come back with a decent interface, all of WP12 features and full support for OASIS format, they may have a chance. This is just half-arsed.

Dictionary feature looks to be a disappointment (4, Interesting)

Woogiemonger (628172) | more than 9 years ago | (#9006973)

Well, I won't comment on WordPerfect for Linux not supporting dictionary definitions... okay, I guess I did. That stinks. But the Windows version, which supports dictionary definitions, requires you to pay for a complete dictionary.. it's the Oxford "concise" dictionary. If I'm paying for a dictionary service, I'd at least want the unabridged definitions, with an option to only see concise definitions. Also, it'd be nice if they offer a free alternative, allowing the user to specify a dictionary server and interfacing it using the DICT protocol. See RFC 2229 [faqs.org] and dict.org [dict.org] for an example at what's available for free.

Let's hope (5, Insightful)

Prince Vegeta SSJ4 (718736) | more than 9 years ago | (#9006981)

that they stick with what they did best, making a solid word processor with a ample set of features, that LET YOU set tabs, margins, hanging indents, etc. with ease. It was very intuitive app to use.

I know that in MS Word, I curse every day with the damn Autoformat features that try to do everything for you, even when I try to turn the features off, it is still a pain in the ass.

It seems you are trying to write a letter, would you like to:

  • Have me format it for you?
  • Lockup & Crash, right before a save
  • Shoot Clippy in the Head!

Article Text (1, Redundant)

animenext (589447) | more than 9 years ago | (#9006993)

Software Reviews: The Return of WordPerfect
Posted by: Valour on Apr 28, 2004 - 10:14 AM

In the late 90's Corel experimented with the GNU/Linux operating system, developing their own distribution known as Corel Linux and porting their WordPerfect word processor to it. It survived from version 7 to version 9, but in August of 2001 the entire GNU/Linux project was cancelled at Corel and assets sold, thereby ending Corel Linux and WordPerfect Office for Linux. At the time WordPerfect was easily the most popular proprietary application for GNU/Linux, and the hole that it left opened the door for many people to switch to OpenOffice, StarOffice, AbiWord, KWord, TextMaker and others. Now with new leadership, Corel has come back with a proof-of-concept GNU/Linux rework of WordPerfect 8; this review will examine this proof-of-concept software as well as the new WP Office 12 for Windows to see just where Corel is headed with their office software.

It was the promise of WordPerfect for Linux that got me to switch away from Windows in the first place, about a year and a half ago. Being an avid writer I was a die-hard fan of WordPerfect 10 (2002) and I didn't really want to switch if I couldn't use it anymore. Unfortunately after I completed the switch to GNU/Linux I was unable to locate any Linux-related resources on Corel's site -- they'd taken it all down. News came of Corel's money problems and rumor had it that a $135 million stock purchase (about 20% of the company) by Microsoft Corporation had kept Corel afloat with the understanding that they would terminate their GNU/Linux business. I don't know if the latter was true, but given the situation and the reputation of one of the parties involved I would say that it's at least likely.

Not long after, Microsoft sold their shares to Vector Capital at a 90% loss. More recently Vector moved to buy the rest of the outstanding shares of Corel, thereby turning it into a privately held company again. Overall this is a very positive move because it prevents underhanded manipulation by outside companies like Microsoft (again), but oddly there were some who resisted the buyout [corelrescue.com]. It's hard to tell what went on behind the scenes, but the results are obvious and quite encouraging: there is a renewed interest in GNU/Linux porting and now there's a new version of the superior WP Office for Windows.

It's All About Microsoft

One thing that has definitely changed is the market focus of the WP product line. Corel has already realized their niche markets (legal and government), and WP 10 and 11 seemed to pander specifically to them without regard for the competition. Good for lawyers and governments, but not necessarily so good for people who want to do other things.

It's been a little over two years since WordPerfect 11 was announced and released, but I never had the chance to review it because there was some mysterious reluctance to sending out review copies of the software at the time of my request. No surprise that there was virtually no press on WordPerfect 11 except for legal and government-related print publications. That tunnel-vision focus is gone and has now broadened to include small and medium-sized businesses and cost-conscious consumers looking for a cheaper solution to MS Office; specifically Corel's press and marketing materials for WP Office 12 tirelessly compare their new products to the new Microsoft Office System 2003. As far as comparing the entire suites is concerned, WordPerfect Office easily wins that duel considering the high price, anticlimactic feature set and mediocre reliability of MS Office System 2003 and the general superiority of WordPerfect as a word processor. Quattro Pro and WordPerfect are far more adaptable and customizable than Excel and Word are, and the tools and guides built into the suite are much more powerful and capable. Business users will appreciate the more flexible licensing that Corel allows, even if it isn't anywhere near ideal.

The License

Both WP for Linux and WP Office 12 share the same license agreement. I make a point of reading through every license agreement I am faced with, just to see what I'm up against. As a rule I only use Free Software or sensibly licensed proprietary software on my work machine, but a review is a review and licensing is only one aspect of the program. Some people don't care about a program's license at all; those people should read this article [thejemreport.com] before installing another program.

The usual restrictions are only slightly reduced in the standard agreement for Corel's WordPerfect Office 12, which gives the appearance of being more kind to the end-user than Microsoft, Macromedia or Adobe (the axis of evil for software licensing). You can install the software on your work machine and on a portable or home computer, but the two may not be used concurrently (Adobe allows for this as well). You can also install the software on a server for use over the network, but of course you must have each client machine licensed. The difference with Microsoft is that MS requires you to have two licenses for this situation: one for the server and one for the client, even though only one person is using the software -- in other words, Corel's licensing is per user instead of per CPU, with some limitations. Corel also will allow multiple licensed users to use that software concurrently as long as you have the proper licenses, whereas Microsoft only allows one client to connect to the software server at a time despite the number of licenses. The WP license states that you can only install and use one copy of the software per machine, which is kind of annoying. They could allow more than one copy per machine without any loss of revenue; many users have dual-boot machines or use virtual machine software to run more than one operating system at a time. For instance I have FreeBSD i386 and AMD64 on separate drives, and Gentoo Linux on another with Windows XP (for testing and software reviews only) through VMWare. According to the agreement if I wanted to use WordPerfect for Linux on all of these OSes I'd need three copies of the software unless I shared the same installation between the three. This isn't possible for me because my GNU/Linux home directory uses JFS and FreeBSD cannot mount a JFS partition, neither can GNU/Linux properly mount a FreeBSD UFS2 partition yet.

You can transfer your license to anyone provided the receiving party agrees to the license agreement. If that's your plan, bring a lunch -- it's a long license agreement and you'll have a lot of explaining to do. Microsoft allows only for one transfer for the life of the license whereas Corel's does not have a limit to the number of transfers.

The WP license says specifically that you can make a backup copy of the software, whereas the other proprietary behemoths refrain from specifically mentioning (and hint at prohibiting if possible) this once-common and certainly recommended safety precaution.

One of the great advantages of the standard WP license over Microsoft's EULA is that if you upgrade from a qualifying product, you can still use that old product in addition to the new software. Microsoft's upgrade license says that the old license is terminated when you upgrade it, thereby making your old copy of the software useless (and possibly subject to destruction of the media and other accompanying materials depending on how you interpret Microsoft's EULA). What this means is that Corel allows you to more easily make a transition from the old product to the new one. This is particularly useful because WP Office 12 accepts a number of Microsoft programs as qualifying products to upgrade from, including MS Office 2000, XP, 2003; MS Works 7; MS Works Suite 2003 and any newer editions of any of these applications or suites. You can also upgrade from Corel WP 8; WordPerfect Office 2000, 2002, 11; WordPerfect Family Pack 1-5; Paradox 8-10; CorelDRAW 11 and Graphics Suite 11 and 12; and Corel Painter 8. So if you wanted to switch from MS Office 2000 to WordPerfect Office 12, you can do so while still keeping the old software on your computer while you're making the transition.

The rest of the license covers exceptions for people in other countries and licenses for third-party programs and extensions included with WP Office 12.

Other Methods Of Licensing

In addition to the standard retail box single-user license (the standard license), Corel also offers two other licensing programs. The first is Corel Transactional Licensing [corel.com], which allows a business or individual to purchase right-to-copy and multi-platform license agreements. This is the only way to buy WordPerfect Office 12 Professional (the Standard edition is available through retailers or through the Corel e-store). There is no minimum purchase requirement.

The second licensing program is Corel Contractual Licensing. This requires a negotiable 1-year term contract with Corel for the software (both new and upgrade editions) plus various services like software maintenance, ancillary products, training, consulting and support services. There is a minimum initial order due when the contract is signed, but the amount depends on your specific agreement.

Proof Of Concept: WP For Linux

What is a proof-of-concept? It's a lot of things, but mostly it's meant to test the feasibility of future GNU/Linux products. It's used for internal testing and development at Corel, evaluation by potential large customers, and as a kind of litmus test to see if a potential product will find a market. In this case Corel is attempting to find out whether or not they can re-enter the GNU/Linux market successfully, how much money and effort it will take, and if people are interested in buying their products. To do this, they've taken WordPerfect 8 for Linux and updated it with bugfixes, features and compatibility hacks to make it install and work with modern GNU/Linux distros.

So what we have is an updated but not really current product. It's fully functional, but it does look kind of old in terms of how programs are generally designed and laid out today. The new WordPerfect for Linux doesn't have a basic shell like newer versions do; instead it's divided into a master program control window and a document window as seen here [thejemreport.com]. This makes the menus harder to customize, and the editable area of the document screen is smaller than normal.

Since WP for Linux looks old, I immediately assumed too much about it. After using it for a few days I found that the new WordPerfect for Linux has many of the same features found in WP 9 and WP 10, but they're not in the same places. The Grammatik grammar assistant is there and it works fairly well (even by modern standards) but it doesn't offer restructuring suggestions like WP 10 and above and it doesn't check pre-existing documents when they are opened (you have to modify and save the document to get Grammatik to kick in). The spell-checker is better than even some modern proprietary word processors, and the thesaurus is just as good. The only thing the dictionary is missing is definitions for words, a very useful feature that WP 10 and up have (I countered this by adding the KDict applet to my KDE taskbar, so when I want to look up a word I type it into the applet text box and I get definitions from three or four different sources). There is a watermarking feature (something MS Word didn't officially have until Office XP), but it doesn't allow for alpha-blending of graphics; in other words you can't make a graphic watermark partially transparent (it does allow this for text watermarks).

There is no print preview function, and the font selection is limited to 22 built-in fonts that Corel provides. They're nothing fancy -- just the usual TrueType selections mixed in with a few others. I eventually did find a ton of fonts on the installation CD, but they are not installed by default and you have to go through a special font installation process to get them into WP. These instructions are not covered by the standard readme.1st file in the CD's root directory, but within a further readme directory.

The help file, as seen here [thejemreport.com], seems to accidentally characterize hard returns, and the mouse scroll wheel is not operational within any part of WordPerfect for Linux.

The conversion filters are lacking good MS Word support (it works, but specially formatted things like bulleted lists do not properly convert) and there is no support for converting from .SXW (OpenOffice/StarOffice format) or .LWP (Lotus Word Pro format).

Priced at US$30 (click here to buy it from the Corel e-store [corel.com]), the proof-of-concept WordPerfect product is certainly competition for TextMaker [thejemreport.com] and Sun StarOffice 7 [thejemreport.com] (and of course OpenOffice.org), but you shouldn't expect WP 12-quality features and performance from it at this point. Even as it is, WordPerfect for Linux is a useful program with a lot of excellent features that make it valuable, such as the famous Reveal Codes function and the thesaurus suggestion box. It also offers full WP for Windows compatibility, so you can easily use and edit your WordPerfect 5.1 and newer files on GNU/Linux or any system that offers full binary compatibility with the Linux kernel.

WordPerfect for Linux seems to work reasonably well in most respects. Overall it is an excellent starting point from which to continue development on a GNU/Linux edition of WordPerfect. If you have any suggestions for Corel in regards to how they can better improve their product or how they can add important features, click here [corel.com] and create a customer service login account to tell Corel what changes or additions you'd like to see.

WordPerfect 12

WordPerfect for Windows started its comeback with version 9, made a lot more progress with version 10, and then version 11 didn't seem to have much more to add. Here we are on version 12 now, with the primary advantage over the previous editions being the more liberal corporate licensing programs.

There just aren't any new features to add to word processors anymore, and it's been that way for years... but you can't have an upgrade product without adding new features or functions. Here's a list of the new features in WordPerfect 12:

  • Workspace Manager
  • MS Outlook Integration
  • Wireless Office Suite powered by ZIM
  • OfficeReady file browser
  • Enhanced export to PDF functionality
  • Enhanced PerfectExpert
  • Better MS Office compatibility
  • Export to HTML and XML capabilities
  • Support for three scripting languages

The Workspace Manager [thejemreport.com] allows you to choose a compatibility mode for your interface. You can make WordPerfect 12 look and feel more like Microsoft Word 2003 [thejemreport.com], or like WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS [thejemreport.com], or you can adjust the toolbars and menus for legal mode [thejemreport.com] for those in legal professions, and of course there is the native WordPerfect standard mode [thejemreport.com]. This auto-customization is especially useful for those making the transition from Word or older versions of WordPerfect; believe it or not there are still a large number of WP 5.1 users who refuse to switch to a more modern version of the program because it looks different. WP 11 had this feature, but it has been updated for the new version. Personally I prefer to start with standard mode and customize it for my own needs, removing any buttons from the toolbar that I know I'll never use.

Oddly, Corel has dropped the Corel Central PIM/email application from the suite. While Corel Central was never an outstanding application on its own and was no competition for Lotus Notes or Microsoft Outlook, it was at least an option. I was expecting a new and improved Central, but instead the project's been whittled down to just an address book. It's a little strange that Outlook integration would be a priority for Corel, being that their perceived chief competitor is Microsoft. Among the MS Office suite, Outlook is often believed to be the most important to productivity, so perhaps Corel is conceding that Outlook is a necessity even if Word, Excel and PowerPoint are not.

I had no means of testing the Wireless Office Suite, but it looks quite useful for connecting with your PDA. Again, WP Office 11 had this program but it has been updated to support MS Outlook 2003.

The OfficeReady template browser [thejemreport.com] is more or less superfluous; all it does is help you preview groups of template files. If you don't use document templates or use few of them often, this program might never be used. If you're looking for just the right template or need to compare a lot of templates at once, the OfficeReady browser could be quite useful. In looking at the entire WordPerfect Office 12 package, the OfficeReady file browser adds value but doesn't really stand out on its own.

The export to PDF [thejemreport.com] function has been available since WP 10, but in version 12 you're given much more control over your PDF -- almost as much as you get with the full Adobe Acrobat program. In all of the word processors I've used, the export to PDF function is by far the best in WordPerfect 12. This function alone can make the upgrade price worthwhile if you're using WP 10 or MS Office and regularly use (or would like to use) PDFs.

The PerfectExpert is a collection and amalgamation of writing tools, help files and wizards to assist you in analyzing or modifying your document in interesting ways, or in creating a new document from a complex template. The features have been incrementally improved, but nothing major has been added since version 10. PerfectExpert is at once useful and annoying; I wish I could separate some of its functions into buttons that can be added to the toolbar rather than swim through two menus to get to such important operations (to me) as the word count. PerfectExpert, being more useful and easier to navigate, is leaps and bounds above Microsoft's insipid and intrusive Office Assistant.

The ability to import and export files in Word .DOC format is very important to many people, and the ability of your word processor to do it right is equally important. Unfortunately WordPerfect is, well, not perfect at exporting Word files. I didn't find any problems with importing .DOC files written in Word, but I didn't have any heavily formatted Word documents to test with. If you'd like me to test one of your Word documents to see if WP 12 or WP Linux can convert it properly, just email it to me [mailto] and I'll send you a screen shot.

For my conversion testing I used my personal letterhead. Yes, I know it's not very fancy but it incorporates a lot of strange and unusual formatting that you might find in other letters or documents. Ideally I'd have this as a template and I'd use custom headings for the title and my contact information, but since most people don't do it the right way, I decided to do it the hacky way for testing purposes. Click here [thejemreport.com] to see the test document (letterhead) created in WP 12 as it should look. Click here [thejemreport.com] to see what it looks like in Word XP after it has been exported with WP 12. Click here [thejemreport.com] to see what the exported file looks like when reopened with WP 12. As you can see, the font sizes and positions were changed slightly and the horizontal line completely disappeared during the export process -- and since it displays this way in both Word and WordPerfect, it's reasonable to assume that it's not a display error causing these problems. This isn't bad by any means, but it is not as it should be. Hopefully this can be addressed in a future service pack.

All of the programs in the suite can export to XML or HTML, although the HTML produced is not pretty. It's not as bad as some programs, but it's functional even if it's enormously bloated; autogenerated HTML is never a thing of beauty.

WordPerfect and Quattro Pro 12 now support scripting in Microsoft Visual Basic as well as PerfectScript and ObjectPAL (the latter being designed for better integration with Paradox). This means that it's easier to port macros from Microsoft applications to WordPerfect 12 while retaining backwards compatibility with previous editions of the software.

Exporting to PDF [thejemreport.com] is excellent in WordPerfect 12; the only things that Adobe Acrobat 6.0 can do that WordPerfect 12 can't are add encrypted password protection, insert comments and edit text-only metadata. This far exceeds the ability of StarOffice 7.0 and other word processors that I'm aware of, which basically just send the formatted document to a PDF printer with few options to choose from. Microsoft Word 2003 can't even export to PDF at all, let alone add hyperlinks, thumbnails and a table of contents.

I was quite disappointed to see that the Oxford dictionary module was not complete [thejemreport.com]. Furthermore the option to buy the expanded dictionary was not available to me because of an error with my product serial number (possibly due to this being a media review copy of the software). As I recall from WP 10, the dictionary add-on is in the vicinity of $25 and is only available through special download from an otherwise inaccessible area of the Corel e-store.

Also included with WordPerfect Office 12 are a set of special legal tools: the Pleading Wizard, the Clipbook, and the Concordance Tool. I am not a legal professional (neither am I an illegal professional) so I don't know how to use these or if they're useful to the right people. WordPerfect itself also has built-in functions specific to law, and as mentioned above it has a special mode just for legal professionals to help them be more productive in their work. Also of note is support for EDGAR electronic document filing.

Lastly, the Reveal Codes feature is of course still there and fully functional. This allows you to edit the formatting codes directly rather than use the usual WYSIWYG interface. Aside from helping you to fix otherwise seemingly unfixable formatting errors, it also allows people to more specifically format their documents if they know how. The reason why this function is specific to WordPerfect is because it's the only commercial word processor that needs it; the .WPD file format stores formatting data in the same space as the document text. In other words the formatting codes are interspersed with the actual text content, just like you see it when you turn on Reveal Codes. Microsoft Word and most other word processors store the text separately from the formatting codes, so there is no way to add a Reveal Codes function if there are no codes in the document to reveal.

Quattro Pro 12

Like WordPerfect, Quattro Pro also has a Workspace Manager [thejemreport.com] to put the program's interface into different compatibility modes. This time the modes include Quattro Pro standard [thejemreport.com], Microsoft Excel [thejemreport.com], and Lotus 123 [thejemreport.com]. I couldn't find anything that Excel could do that Quattro Pro couldn't, except of course for the digital restriction management capabilities of Excel 2003 when combined with Windows Server 2003. Inevitably readers will have specific questions regarding capabilities and functionalities; if these questions are not answered on Corel's website [wordperfect.com] you can direct them to me and I'll do my best to see if Quattro Pro can do what you want it to.

One significant addition to Quattro Pro 12 is the CrossTab Reports function, which is Corel's alternative to Microsoft's PivotTables in Excel. CrossTab Reports lets you analyze, summarize, and organize table data. All of the dynamic data functions of PivotTables are available in CrossTab Reports, so you can constantly update your spreadsheet with changing data from the web or other worksheets or databases.

Presentations

Presentation software has quietly become an essential tool for validating otherwise totally useless company meetings; it makes a lot of nothing look like something important by using visual effects and bulleted lists with fancy backgrounds [thejemreport.com]. Corel Presentations is just as astonishingly easy to use as Microsoft PowerPoint and OpenOffice.org Impress, and includes all of the same tools. The three programs are essentially the same with the primary difference being their interfaces. But that's where Presentations has the advantage: by using the Workspace Manager it can make itself look and feel like Microsoft PowerPoint [thejemreport.com] or default to its standard interface [thejemreport.com]. The PerfectExpert [thejemreport.com] in Presentations works just like the wizards in Impress and PowerPoint, guiding you in building your presentation with easy-to-follow steps.

Presentations also allows you to publish your slide show as quick and dirty HTML, a Macromedia Flash .SWF movie, or as a self-contained executable that can run and show your presentation on any Windows computer regardless of whether or not it has Presentations 12 installed on it. The latter is a handy feature considering Microsoft PowerPoint 2003 requires a separate proprietary viewer program to play PowerPoint files on machines that don't have MS Office installed on them.

The Paradox Relational Database

Paradox 11 is included with the Professional edition of WordPerfect Office 12 only. In other words it hasn't been updated from the previous edition of WordPerfect Office and it's not included with WP Office 12 Standard edition. The Professional edition is not available through normal licensing procedures; if you want this edition you'll have to go through the transactional licensing [corel.com] program at Corel. Fortunately you don't have to be a corporation to buy the software, and you can buy only one license if you want. Pricing for the Professional edition was not readily available through the Corel website as of this writing, but I'm guessing its significantly more expensive than the standard edition.

The only way to properly test a relational database program is to put a ton of data into it and see how it handles various kinds of requests and queries. Unfortunately I had neither the time nor the data to perform this test. All I can give you is this screenshot [thejemreport.com] of the opening screen.

Conclusions

WordPerfect for Linux and WordPerfect Office 12 are two outstanding products that were released two years too late. While they are still excellent in their own right and compete well with other products in their class, they don't present very many compelling reasons to switch.

WordPerfect Office 12 is missing some key elements that I envision for the perfect office suite: a good PIM/email client, operability across several platforms, compatibility with competing products, and a user-friendly minimally restrictive license. I'm not so concerned with the Word conversion blunder that I came across so much as I am bothered by the fact that WordPerfect can't recognize or convert .SXW (OpenOffice/StarOffice) files, especially considering this file format is an open standard based on XML. In other words it should be exceptionally easy to implement .SXW conversion capabilities yet Corel has refused to do it. I don't think this is ignorance of the format so much as it is an attempt to discredit the competition by pretending that OpenOffice.org and StarOffice don't exist. Corel claims that .SXW conversion isn't in the product because no one has requested it. I say if you wait for good (and obvious, and easy) features to be requested, you've already missed your initial window of opportunity to make some sales.

But that's the trouble -- that's the problem that Corel didn't consider. They have incorrectly targeted Microsoft as the primary competition when it is OpenOffice.org that is the true threat. Microsoft is the target because they dominate the market, but Corel will never be able to take them down because the other competition with Microsoft in its sights has a cheaper, freer, functional and fully featured product. Now and in the future, proprietary companies are going to have to face Free (as in rights, not price) Software head on and find good reasons why people should spend so much more money on a product that restricts their rights and offers little in return. There is no doubt -- as I mentioned above -- that WP Office 12 is a better product than MS Office System 2003 Standard in a home or small/medium-sized business environment, but I don't think that matters anymore with the market moving rapidly toward substantially cheaper and easier-to-license Free and Open-Source solutions. Corel's selling points won't sway anyone who already knows about StarOffice and/or OpenOffice.

Fortunately for Corel, they seem to be slowly moving in the right direction. WordPerfect for Linux may not be as nice as WordPerfect 12 is, but it's priced right and it offers a few of good features that other GNU/Linux word processors don't have and it will allow WP users to think more seriously about migrating to GNU/Linux. But this should not be the end of the line for Corel's Linux efforts if they want a shot at the kind of market strength that WordPerfect once had.

Developer Recommendations

WordPerfect is one of my favorite word processors, but there is still room for improvement:

  • More customization. First of all, every single function in each program should be able to be buttonized and placed in the toolbar or in a menu. If I want to add a running word count to the document bar, I should be able to. Also, the Workspace Manager is an outstanding innovation but it needs more modes to accommodate professional writers (specifically journalists, novelists and technical and academic writers) and other professionals.
  • .SXW conversion capabilities. If you want more people to switch to WordPerfect, you have to make it easy for them to convert their documents. There are a ton of StarOffice and OpenOffice users who can't open their documents in WordPerfect because there is no conversion function for .SXW documents. It's an open standard and it is very easily implemented. Don't pull a Microsoft and pretend the competition isn't there -- face it head on and implement .SXW import/export functionality.
  • Offer WordPerfect standalone. While the WP Family Pack is a great idea in its own right, there really ought to be a standalone WordPerfect 12 program for purchase -- not the lite edition. There are many people -- especially those who write for a living -- who don't need a spreadsheet or anything else other than a really good word processor. Smaller companies like SoftMaker [softmaker.de] understand this need, and even Microsoft quietly offers Word and all of its other Office System 2003 products as standalone programs (for a ton of money). Corel should also explore the possibility of offering WP standalone for a greatly reduced price or for free download. This would substantially improve market share with little effect on office suite sales. WordPerfect, if it were standalone and free (as in rights and/or price), could easily dominate the word processor market and become a must-have for everyone who uses word processors. This is the only way I can see for Corel to succeed in gaining market share at this point.
  • More liberated licensing. While Corel's licensing is somewhat less restrictive than Microsoft's, it still isn't on par with other proprietary office programs from SoftMaker and Sun and certainly nowhere near the licensing freedom of Free Software programs like OpenOffice.org, KWord, and AbiWord. There is no evidence to suggest that opening up the licensing restrictions will cause a reduction in sales, but an open-source licensing model will allow Corel to more cheaply streamline the program while increasing their user base.
  • We need a PIM. Corel Central was not really all that great as an email and personal information manager. That doesn't mean it should have been abandoned -- it should have been improved instead. As an alternative, there are several Free Software projects like Aethera [thekompany.com] and Evolution [ximian.com] that Corel could easily modify or adapt for inclusion with WP Office.
  • Don't doom the Linux product to failure. Making a product for GNU/Linux does not always yield an immediate profit or market response. But what it will do is create options for customers considering large-scale migration projects. These days the trend in business is to save money and increase reliability and security by moving some or all workstation and server systems from Microsoft Windows to the GNU/Linux operating system. If some of these entities are already using WordPerfect, having a Linux product already on the market can be the deciding factor for them -- and that leads to sales. Not having a product will not always stop the migration, and is more likely to lead to other cross-platform solutions like StarOffice or OpenOffice. Corel has already learned through its modified licensing programs that options == profits. Now it's time to apply that principle to more than just licensing.

Copyright 2004 Jem Matzan. Verbatim copying and redistribution of this entire article are permitted without royalty in any medium provided this notice is preserved.

Can't Wait! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9007014)

With the release of:
"Corel WordPerfect 12 for Windows and the proof of concept comeback of WordPerfect for Linux"

That means the new Dos version is right around the corner!

where I work (3, Interesting)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007028)

Where I work, only Corel WordPerfect Office licences are officially approved as budget expenses, and supported by the Help Desk.

Yet, I see more and more MS Office documents pass through my department.

But a lot of the people who use either app still don't know how to write a document properly with tabs and other text formatting functions (e.g. 20 spaces instead of two tabs, pressing Enter at the end of each line, etc.)

Maybe it's time I saw a hypnotherapist...

Yeah - hackers will steal them (-1, Offtopic)

gregopad39 (472365) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007058)

How long will these robo-cones last ? Not very long - as soon as hacks are out people will steal them left and right - first disabling any gps tracking data to thwart the police - then reprogram them as dome duty robots.

I propose the robo-cones be nicknamed -
Safety-Borg

slashdot effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9007063)

It seems the site went down.

proof of concept comeback of WordPerfect Linux? (1)

deadmongrel (621467) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007070)

Proof of concept? [corel.com]. For $30 not a bad deal. But without good support why would someone buy it. As for me, I am quite happy with openoffice.org.

WordPerfect.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9007082)

it's dead Jim....

--fin

Outrageous. (2, Funny)

saintlupus (227599) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007095)

The Jem Report has an extensive review

And it's outrageous. Truly truly truly outrageous.

[/80s cartoon]

--saint

Trolls (1)

Queuetue (156269) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007116)

Seeing the GNA on /. is one thing, you learn to tune them out. Seeing them out "in the wild," like at the end of this article, is disturbing.

Dare I hope for an OS X version? (5, Interesting)

goljerp (211255) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007123)

If they're working on WordPerfect for Linux, might they consider doing an OS X version as well? How tough can that be if they've done the hard work of making it run on Linux? Now there's a market...

Oh no! (4, Interesting)

Peter H.S. (38077) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007136)

When I saw that WordPerfect for Linux was available I grabbed my wallet for my credit card. I clicked the "buy now", only to see that Corel only sell to US or Canadian billing addresses. That sucks since I live in the EU.

I guess that there will be a lot of people here on /., that will write comments on "how it is to late for Corel", or "Why bother, OO.org is free", or "reveal codes is overrated / not necessary in a modern Word processor" or "I write everything in ed - the standard editor, so you should do too"

Well I disagree with all that. I want my WP for Linux.
-0-

No flash ads (1)

gkelman (665809) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007203)

Just an annoying moving bouncing banner ad.

Really must setup JunkBuster again one day.

What's that GayNiggers ad??? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9007246)

What the %$&#@ is that!??

Too Little Too Late (3, Insightful)

rueger (210566) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007306)

I had been an avid fan of Wordperfect back to the days of the much beloved 5.1 for DOS.

If you wanted or needed to have complete control of your document it beat Word hands down. Over the years Reveal Codes alone has saved me many hours of work trying figure out why formatting didn't work.

The real masters of Wordperfect though were always the secretarial folks in any large company. They could make it sing and dance. They didn't need Wizards and Clippy because they knew that program inside out, and knew how to make it do exactly what they needed.

Word simply cannot be controlled in the same manner as WordPerfect. The automagic features in Word are still a phenomenal pain in the ass. It is still possible to find your formatting totally screwed up with no way to find out what's wrong.

So am I still using Wordperfect?

Only for two things: envelope printing, for which it has the best widget I've seen, and outlining, which it does much, much better than Word because it doesn't try to out-think you or take over the whole process.

Other than those, I have moved almost entirely over to Open Office which avoids most of the really irritating things about MS Word, and does so at a price that WP can't beat.

MOTIF??? (2, Insightful)

hetz (516550) | more than 9 years ago | (#9007307)

Looking at the screenshot of the upcoming word perfect for Linux, and what-do-you-know... MOTIF again all over?!?

Anyone at Corel ever heard of QT? GTK? how about some common interface with KDE or GNOME? (or both? I could always hope...)

It looks like someone took the old version (6? 7? and just doing some touch ups...)..

Oh, I see! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9007309)

Looking at the screenshots, I was wondering how they could make such a pathetically butt-ugly application. Then I realized it was a Linux screenshot! Then I looked at the Windows one and it was okay. The WP51 mode looks cool too, is help still on F3-F3? :-)
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