The Big Four: Major programs in Corel’s suite include WordPerfect, Quattro Pro, Presentations, and Paradox.
* Pentium class 166 MHz minimum
* 200 MHz or faster recommended
* 64 MB minimum
Hard Drive Space
* 130 MB minimum/460 MB full
* 30-day free e-mail and phone technical support
* Web site resources exist
Corel has been in the Linux news for some time, thanks to last year’s release of Corel Linux, its merger with Inprise/Borland, and its plans to bring its entire office suite and other products to Linux. To many users the most interesting part of that list is the office suite, formally known as WordPerfect Office 2000 for Linux (WPO), which we examined in a very early beta.
There will be two editions of WPO, Standard and Deluxe. The Standard Edition includes WordPerfect, CorelCENTRAL (personal information manager), Presentations, Quattro Pro (a spreadsheet), the download version of Corel Linux, plus fonts and clip art. The Deluxe version adds Paradox (a database) and about 10 times the fonts and clip art graphics.
The most intriguing detail about WPO is that the Linux and Windows versions will be identical thanks to Corel’s use of WINE software, which lets you run 32-bit Windows programs directly on Linux. This is the most ambitious use of WINE that we’re aware of, but our experience with the beta version indicates it may be a well-placed bet.
Firing up WPO
We installed the beta of WPO onto a stock Corel Linux configuration, using the Corel Update facility. The shipping version of WPO will include its own graphical installer, which supports full or partial install options. Corel assured us this program will work with the user’s underlying configuration database for RPM or deb files.
We ran WordPerfect, Quattro Pro, Paradox, Presentations, and the calendar, address book, and memos components of CorelCENTRAL through their paces, and saw very few notable problems aside from the known issues with this beta (but see below for some more detail).
It’s not possible to give a fair treatment of the features in a suite of this size and maturity in such a short review. Still, for those not familiar with the Windows version of WPO, it’s worth pointing out that this product is as complete as office suites get and is easily on a par with Microsoft Office in terms of breadth and depth of functionality. Almost every imaginable feature or option is present, with the (merciful) exception of Microsoft Word’s talking paperclip. Some Linux users will consider this package yet another case of creeping corporate bloatware, while others will be thrilled to have a familiar product available.
All betas have issues, and the early version of WPO we ran was typical. Minor features weren’t yet implemented, some of the file-format conversions didn’t work as well as hoped, and performance was notably sluggish. Corel said that all these problems will be fixed before WPO ships, stressing that the format conversion quirks were due to WINE issues, not WPO’s format converters. They traced the poor performance to the beta’s consisting of “debug builds” of both WINE and WPO, an explanation that agrees with our experience.
This version of WPO is still too far from finished to give it a firm rating. If Corel fixes the normal beta glitches we encountered, this product should be a very powerful and welcome addition to the Linux market.
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