Corel is aiming its version of Linux, which it demonstrated for the first time at the Linux World conference this week, at the more generalised desktop market rather than the traditional Linux developer base.
The Canadian applications supplier first announced that it planned to come out with its own distribution at the first Linux World conference earlier this year (see VNU Newswire, 2 March, 1999), after making heavy investments in porting its applications to Java. That scheme was ditched last year, however.
While many analysts see little place for Linux on the desktop, believing it is not only more suited to running on servers, but also unlikely to unseat Microsoft’s Windows operating system (OS), Erich Forler, Corel’s product development manager, said the aim was to build a version of Linux for the small office, home office (Soho) market that was easy to use, install and integrate into existing Windows environments. As he demonstrated a prototype of the opensource OS in San Jose this week, he claimed that Corel Linux would appeal to enthusiasts, who wanted to try Linux on their desktop, or to use it as a personal Web server. It might also appeal to businesses that wanted a cheaper alternative to Unix, he added. The offering is based on the Debian/GNU distribution of Linux release and includes an enhanced version of the K Desktop Environment (KDE) graphical user interface, which is similar in look and feel to Windows. Forler claimed, however, that Corel had simplified the OS’s installation process and added that any enhancements would be handed back to the opensource community under the terms of the firm’s licensing agreement.
Users will have three installation options, however, which are based on their levels of technical ability and the functionality they wish to use.
The desktop option includes the OS, graphical user interface and some KDE productivity applications. Desktop Plus adds standard Linux tools, including debuggers, compilers and a code editor, while the server option enables customers to deploy the offering as an FTP server or Apache Web server.
A beta version of Corel Linux is due to ship next month, with general availability slated for later this year. It will be sold both as a standalone product for less than $100, or bundled with the upcoming WordPerfect Office applications suite for Linux, which is expected in early 2000.
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