Corel is mounting a challenge to leading Linux vendors such as Red Hat and Caldera. At LinuxWorld in San Jose, the Canadian software company said it would market its own version of Linux.
This would make Corel the first mainstream commercial software company to launch its own Linux version, or ?distribution?.
Corel came out strongly in support of Linux late last year, when it posted a free version of WordPerfect for Linux on its Web site and promised to port its other applications to the platform, too. Corel also launched a family of Linux-based thin clients, but last month it sold the product line to Hardware Canada Computing.
?In order to make [Linux on] the desktop happen in a big way, it has got to be more like Windows,? said Corel president and chief executive Michael Cowpland, in a keynote speech at LinuxWorld.
He said Corel would develop and market a Linux operating system that will feature a simplified set-up procedure and automatic hardware detection. It will also come with a Java virtual machine. The user interface will be based on CDE, which is the most popular user interface for Linux. The operating system, codenamed Corel Desktop for Linux, is set to ship in November.
Corel Desktop for Linux will probably ship with the Linux version of Corel applications. It may also be available as a stand-alone product or preinstalled on PCs.
After his keynote, Cowpland told VNU Newswire that Corel will probably offer PC manufacturers a bundle consisting of the operating system and applications to go with it. Corel's Linux plus the complete WordPerfect Office suite could sell for about $50, Cowpland said, giving PC vendors a pricing advantage over similarly configured Windows systems.
Much of Corel?s Linux development work depends on Wine, a Windows emulator for Linux. Wine is an Open Source project without a formal organisation behind it, though it has a Website located at http://www.winehq.com.
Wine allows some Windows applications to run natively on Linux. But many key applications, including Microsoft Office, do not work well with Wine.
Instead of performing a full port of its applications to Linux, Corel will port them to Wine. This will allow them to run on Windows and on a Linux machine with Wine.
However, since Wine will only work on Intel-based PCs, Corel?s Linux applications will not run on any other processors.
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