Corel Linux and Red Hat Linux
At The Bazaar, I asked you if you recommended to your customers that they install Red Hat Linux as their server OS, and you said "Yes." Is this still Corel's stand, or are you moving toward the server market as well?
Corel's Linux focus has always been on the desktop. Our goal when we created Corel LINUX OS was to take the rock solid Debian distribution and KDE desktop and build an easy to install and simple to use Linux distribution for desktop users that would act as a platform for our applications (WordPerfect Office 2000 for Linux and our graphics suite for Linux). That is still our focus - and providing a distribution that non-technical users would be comfortable with was key to bringing our applications to Linux. We have made a few partnership announcements in the past few days with Newlix and O/E One, but these partnerships are part of our core competency - creating user-friendly applications and GUI. Newlix is creating a server that will run Corel LINUX OS - we are building the GUI. O/E One is building information appliances that will be based on Corel LINUX OS and use our user-friendly interface. Certainly configuration for Samba and other server tools are available in Corel LINUX OS as they are in other distributions, but we want to maintain our focus on the desktop and provide a clean, easy experience for our users.
How committed is Corel to porting their office package over to Linux? Will we see the same functionality in the Linux versions as in the Windows versions when the ports are completed or will there be functional differences? For that matter, will the applications be able to talk to other X applications using the standard X protocols?
We will begin testing beta 1 of WordPerfect Office 2000 (WordPerfect 9, Quattro Pro 9, Presentations 9, Paradox 9 and CorelCENTRAL 9) this month and anticipate the office suite will be available on store shelves in April. To make WordPerfect Office 2000 a viable choice for users, we needed to focus on the core functionality of the applications and ensure we provided users with a complete productivity suite that has all of the functionality most users will ever need. There are some limitations in the underlying transport layer that prevent a 100% feature parity. Please note that these areas are under active evaluation and development.
Our goal is to provide the same functionality on both Linux and Windows platforms. Features that are heavily dependent on the operating system, may be delayed until the Linux operating system supports them. Rather than try to develop applications that meet the lowest common denominator, we are taking advantage of the strengths in each of the operating systems and this will most certainly show up as minor variations. Our first generation of Linux applications will depend on a porting layer and this porting layer can be extended to talk to other X applications. We recognize that interoperability with other X applications is important and that will become a focus once we complete our interoperability with legacy documents and applications.
Canada and Corel
I'm a proud Canadian citizen. Despite the "brain drain," I still feel that Canada produces top-notch hardware and software. However, many of our highly skilled people have taken jobs in the U.S. and abroad because they get paid more. I must say, when offered nearly twice the pay, and with a lower cost of living in some U.S. cities, I'd be tempted myself. My question: How dedicated are you to keeping Corel a Canadian company? Are there any political/business issues you wish to see resolved to help keep Corel a Canadian company?
It's a major advantage for us to be in Canada - an excellent workforce with super productivity and easy access to world markets and we don't see this picture changing.
Corel Linux Licensing issues
by Anonymous Coward
One of the biggest issues most of us in the Gnu/Linux community face when considering Corel Linux is that of figuring out your commitment to Open Source / GPL software. First, there was the flack over your beta not being GPLed in spite of containing GPLed code, and then there was the weird situation with you licensing a product developed by people under 18 only to consumers over 18. Would you care to comment on these issues, and on what you can say to reassure those of us who, frankly, doubt Corel's commitment to the ideological positions we hold dear?
Unfortunately there was a misunderstanding when we initially began beta testing Corel LINUX OS. The intention of the agreement was to keep Corel-specific code under non-disclosure until we were ready to release the product. The reason why we wanted to do that was 1) to protect our reputation for producing quality products by not releasing code before it was fully tested and 2) to ensure that someone didn't copy the Corel-specific code and begin distributing it under our corporate name before it was ready to be released. Once we realized that the agreement was not clear and was causing concern in the open source community, we immediately amended it and sent new agreements to all the beta testers that spelled out more clearly what we intended. I think our quick response to the open source community actually earned Corel more respect and support because it showed that we do listen to the community and take their complaints very seriously.
The licensing agreement isn't intended to prevent anyone under 18 from using the product, however, in most jurisdictions in North America, someone under 18 cannot enter into a legally binding contract. Basically that means that someone under 18 can read the GPL licensing agreement, agree to the conditions, download the product and then not be bound by the terms and conditions of the contract. That idea may seem far-fetched and wasn't really a factor for developers throughout most of the life of Linux. But as Linux becomes more and more popular, I think the open source community needs to make sure its interests are protected. That's why we require a guardian or parent to agree to the GPL license on behalf of someone under 18 before downloading Corel LINUX OS. The intent is just to ensure the GPL is enforceable.
Corel and ASP
Does Corel have an ASP (Application Service Provider) strategy?
Linux offers an excellent solution for Corel's ASP strategy. The basis of the ASP model is providing service and value to customers, by offering a reliable and Low Total Cost of Delivery package to ASP partners. Because Linux is developed in an open environment, and the different versions of the operating system are available at no charge on the Web, Linux is also a good value-based alternative for different ASP providers.
Corel recognizes this, and is positioned at the forefront of the Linux movement, with the release of WordPerfect 8 for Linux, Corel® LINUX® OS, and upcoming releases of its entire office suite and graphics suite in 2000. By developing innovative technology like Linux and strategic industry partnerships, Corel is a leader in providing low cost of delivery technology to its ASP partners.
Corel recently announced a licensing agreement with GraphOn to include licenses for its GraphOn® Bridges technology which enables software to be delivered from a server to any client desktop-regardless of the operating system used. In this scenario, Windows NT® software could be delivered from a server to a Linux desktop, significantly lowering overall implementation costs and increasing the number of software applications made available to ASP clients. Taken a step further, the native Linux software would be delivered from a Linux server to a Linux-based desktop-offering an exciting value proposition.
Free as in Beer
...is there any concern that the WordPerfect Office 2000 suite for Linux will be financially unsuccessful due to the fact that personal users of Linux, used to getting software for free, will be unable/unwilling to spend hundreds of dollars on an office suite?
Certainly there are people in the open source community who will continue to download and use free software like WordPerfect 8 for Linux and we encourage them to do so. However, there are many new Linux users and technology enthusiasts that want to try Linux but have been deterred by its difficult-to-use reputation. These customers believe in the value of the Corel brand and want to purchase a complete office suite that includes support, a user manual and a well-known company like Corel that stands behind its products. And as Linux moves more into non-traditional Linux markets like small business and home users, the Corel brand and technical support will play an even greater role. Many customers have already demonstrated their willingness to pay for these features, as evidenced sales of Linux products from companies like Corel, Red Hat, Caldera, etc. and we believe the market for Linux products will continue to grow.
I also want to let you know that we intend to offer WordPerfect Office 2000 at prices comparable to our Windows suite which are already very aggressively priced. High prices should not be a factor in keeping people away from Linux.
Giving Back to the Community
by Jon Trowbridge
There is a general sense that, besides trying to increase shareholder value, Red Hat and VA are giving back to the community by employing GNOME hackers, kernel hackers, etc.
Red Hat and VA benefit from doing this, of course, but only in the sense that it benefits the free software community as a whole. What sort of things are Corel doing along these lines? Have you hired any free software celebrities and given them the mandate to hack on anything want? What non-Corel development projects are you funding? Besides bigger and better graphical installers, what benefits will the average non-Corel Debian user derive from your involvement?
The average Debian user might not derive any immediate benefits from our involvement because what we are doing with Linux on the desktop is probably too simplistic for him or her. We want to bring Linux to non-technical users and that doesn't typically describe a Debian user. We believe that an easier-to-use Linux with familiar applications will encourage more people to try Linux and once they do, they'll stay with it. Eventually Linux will move into mainstream markets, creating more demand for Linux developers, and that's where Debian and other Linux developers will see benefits.
We will also continue to contribute the work we do on Corel LINUX OS and the Wine project to the open source community. We're also using our position within the business community to evangelize Linux to other ISVs (independent software vendors) and encourage them to bring their technology to Linux. In the long run, we believe this will help further the development and acceptance of Linux.
Other projects we're currently working on include a printing API that will be released to the open source community. We needed to create a printing API now so that our applications will be able to print once they are released in the spring, but by releasing it back to the open source community we hope that Linux developers will provide feedback and suggestions to improve upon it.