8. The Future

8.1. Why did Corel cease publishing WP for Linux?

Corel discontinued all Linux-related operations shortly after Microsoft Corporation's major investment that prevented the firm's collapse: Some speculate a causal relationship. Corel may have also seen WP for Linux sales (and downloads) as being at the expense of its versions for non-Linux Unixes, through both the influx of Intel Linux boxes and other Unix platforms' increasing ability to run Intel Linux binaries. Also, outgoing CEO Michael Cowpland had been the main force behind Corel's Linux program, and new management doesn't share his views.

8.2. Why is Corel still selling WP versions for other Unixes, but not Linux?

Good question. Corel has never addressed the matter.

8.3. Won't WP for Linux re-emerge as part of Xandros Desktop?

It appears not. When Corel divested itself of CLOS, and transferred all rights to Xandros Corporation, WordPerfect was not part of the deal. Corel is sitting on all WP rights.

8.4. If Corel doesn't want to sell WP for Linux, why doesn't it open-source the program?

First, that would impair sales of Corel's versions for Win32 and other proprietary platforms. Second, Corel doesn't own all the necessary rights. WP includes code from at least five other companies, judging by the copyright notices (Blueberry Software, Globetrotter Software, Inc., Bristol Technology, Inc., INSO Corporation, and Novell, Inc.).

In the latter sense, Corel's situation is similar to that of Sun Microsystems in regard to Star Office. Sun bought the publisher of that program, Star Division GmbH, and then spent approximately a year and untold employee time studying copyright, patent, contract, and other encumbrances. Eventually, it was able to open-source the majority of the source code, the part not encumbered by third-party rights, as what became the OpenOffice.org project.

The difference is that Sun was strongly motivated to create an open-source variant for all possible OS platforms -- in order to feed sales of Solaris and its hardware, and to undermine Microsoft Corporation. It had (and has) deep resources and patience. Corel had none of those things -- and might have had greater third-party interests to contend with.

8.5. What alternatives to WP exist on Linux?

Proprietary (see also Chris Browne's http://cbbrowne.com/info/wplcomm.html):

Note: If this FAQ has a point beyond answering questions, it is to illustrate the pitfall of buying into proprietary software that exists at the whim of a corporate publisher and may be hostage to its fortunes. On the other hand, it also shows that proprietary offerings can be excellent of their types. Choose with your eyes open.

Open Source (see also Chris Browne's http://cbbrowne.com/info/wp.html):

The last item listed, LyX, is an intriguing hybrid of GUI word processor features and classic Unix-type document processing. The latter is often dismissed in the business world as powerful and professional but too arcane -- but LyX makes it accessible.

The rationale and work-flow approach behind LyX are best described on that project's Web site at http://www.lyx.org/about/intro.php3, but here's an attempt to summarise:

LyX has you work on a document in a graphical, close approximation of how it will print, but, unlike in traditional word processors, you don't directly manipulate document appearance, but rather apply (and edit / create) style rulesets (templates), which consistently apply formatting on your behalf -- and change consistently wherever used in the document, when you alter a style's contents. (Rulesets are applied by the LaTeX front-end macro package driving the professional-grade teTeX typesetting engine, for all of which LyX is a graphical shell. teTeX is an open-source implementation of Donald Knuth's TeX typesetting system.)

As a result, eventual output is always consistent and of true professional appearance (famously so), regardless of the document's complexity. LyX becomes progressively easier to use than ostensibly simpler word processors as you get into more-complex documents (technical documentation, doctoral theses, conference proceedings, movie scripts, articles on mathematics or physics with formulas to edit and present). Many templates for both simple and complex document types are provided, all traditional word-processing features are also present, and so is extremely thorough on-line help.

As a bonus, all documents are stored in plain ASCII text with embedded TeX style tags, resulting in accessible data that will never auto-corrupt the way many word-processor formats do, that lends itself nicely to version control, and that outputs to practically any data format desired.

Consider transitioning to LyX or some other form of structured-document editing instead of traditional word processing, over the long term. Your benefits over the long haul will justify the trouble.

8.6. What alternatives to WP exist involving Win32 apps on Linux?

Such alternatives are outside the scope of this document, but include (1) the numerous ways of running Win32 applications on Linux in some sort of emulation environment, such as VMware, Inc.'s VMware (simulation in a virtual environment of a particular theoretical x86 box's hardware, which then can boot various OSes including Win9x / ME / NT / 2k / XP within the emulated environment, necessitating a copy of that OS, as well), NeTraverse's Win4Lin (an MS-Windows 9x / ME emulation environment for x86 Linux, requiring a copy of MS-Windows 9x / ME to work), WINE (an LGPLed library and program loader implementing on x86 Unixes the Win32 and Win16 application interfaces), ReWind (an MIT / X11-licensed fork of an earlier WINE release), CodeWeavers's CrossOver Office (WINE with some extra support for MS Office applications, incorporating the formerly separate CrossOver Plugin product, a WINE variant for x86 Linux to support Web browser plugins such as QuickTime), TransGaming Technologies, Inc.'s WineX, later renamed AclereX, later renamed Cedega (another WINE extension for x86 Linux, with enhanced DirectX and COM / DCOM / OLE support, primarily for 3D games), the Bochs Project's Bochs (software environment for any CPU family emulating an entire x86 CPU, common I/O devices, and BIOS), and Drew Northup's Plex86 (software environment emulating on x86 a virtual x86 session).

There are also (2) the numerous ways of remotely running Win32 applications from a graphical Linux desktop, such as RealVNC Limited's VNC Server, Constantin Kaplinsky's TightVNC, Tridia Corporation's TridiaVNC, and Matt Chapman's rdesktop. I maintain a listing of options in the latter category.