Corell will offer its WordPerfect Office 2000 suite for Linux to users free of charge by late 1999.
Corel announced last month that it would allow customers to download the WordPerfect 8 for Linux WordProcessor free from its Web site for personal use, but Michael Cowpland, Corel's president and chief executive, said at Comdex today, that the same would apply to its office productivity suite, which is expected to be launched by the end of the year.
Business customers will be asked to pay for a CD-Rom version of the software, Cowpland continued, but the price will only be about $50. He compared this sales model to that of Linux distributor, Red Hat Software, which sells its software on CD-Rom, but also allows free downloads.
Unlike Red Hat, however, Corel currently has no plans to publish the source code to its applications.
Corel recently launched its NetWinder line of thin client and thin server products running Linux, and Cowpland said: ?Linux is going like a rocket, and it?s telling us that no, it is not going to be a one-platform world.?
He added that Linux is replacing Java in Corel?s strategy. Over the last few years, the firm has invested heavily in porting its productivity software to Java, but these plans have now been buried, Cowpland conceded.
?[Java] is just not robust enough as a complete platform. Linux is going to be the next big thing,? he said.
Instead Corel will use Java as the ?glue? to connect Linux devices to Windows machines. The company is working on a technology called Jbridge, which will enable any system equipped with a Java-enabled browser to access Windows applications.
JBridge, which is expected to ship by the middle of next year, will compete with Microsoft Terminal Server.
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