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We got a copy of WordPerfect Office 2000 for Linux from Corel, so your editor decided to give it a quick try. This product is, after all, a large part of Corel's plan to find success in the Linux world; one would hope that it came out well.

The sad truth appears to be otherwise. WPO2000 has much the same feel as one of last year's Mozilla milestone releases. It's a beta-quality product at best. Here's just a few examples:

  • The recommended installation takes 312 MB of disk space - before you even load up the second disk (which is full of clipart, pictures, and fonts). The install procedure insists on putting it in /usr/lib/corel, whether you want it there or not.

  • The manual tells how to install the software, but not how to run it. The installer doubtless creates a beautiful KDE menu (it instructs you to log out and back in to pick it up), but your editor is not a KDE user.

  • Fortunately, a quick look in /usr/bin clears things up. There, one will find links to programs like wordperfect (the word processor), quattropro (the spreadsheet), presentations (the drawing and presentation package), and paradox (the database package). Running them produces the expected result.

  • Running WordPerfect turns up a number of glitches in the windows API emulation provided by Wine. The editor window has a very obnoxious habit of both raising and lowering itself - something only the window manager should do. It can even raise itself above its own dialogs if you put the mouse in the wrong place. Pulldown menus sometimes highlight entries above the pointer. Exposures are not always handled well, leaving junk behind in parts of the window.

  • The system is also sluggish and slow to respond. The hardware being used was a dual-processor Pentium 450 with 128MB of memory - certainly not the state of the art, but it really should suffice for running a word processor.

  • Recent events have left us with a great many MS Word files sitting around. Feeding them to WordPerfect generally worked pretty well - its conversion is visibly better than StarOffice or Applix. WordPerfect refused, however, to read any file owned by others, even though the permissions allowed reading.

  • Reading in Word files also brought about the first of many crashes experienced in this test. Even in normal operation, WPO2000 issues a constant stream of debug and error messages - something you're presumably not supposed to see if you start it from a window manager menu. A WPO2000 crash produces a bunch of output that strongly resemble a kernel oops message - lots of nifty hex numbers and such. At least it doesn't leave core files lying around.

  • The Quattro spreadsheet looks very much like a spreadsheet. Every attempt to read an Excel file, however, led to another verbose crash.

  • The presentation package is standard stuff. When running slides, however, it is very slow in updating the screen. Even a beast like StarOffice outruns it.

  • A quick attempt with Paradox led to a blank, unresponsive, full-screen window.
The sad thing is that WPO2000 looks very much like a full-featured, capable productivity suite. Its handling of fonts in the word processor, for example, makes choosing typefaces a breeze. A lot of what is needed is there, it just needs to be more stable. Linux users expect software that actually works. If Corel wants to build a strong position in the Linux community, it is going to have to meet that expectation.

CorelDRAW for Linux ships early. Corel has sent out this press release stating that CorelDRAW for Linux will be shipping two months earlier than expected. Betas have evidently been delivered already; the full product will go out in July.

In the same announcement Corel also says that VENTURA Publisher will be made available for Linux by the end of the year.

The InterBase license. Version 1.0 of the InterBase Public License - the license that will be used for the InterBase source - has been released. At a first glance, it looks strongly derived from the Mozilla license. It allows distribution of binaries under any license, but requires that source be made available under the InterBase license. All changes to the source must be documented in a separate file - the form of the documentation is not specified, a simple CVS log would probably suffice. There is also the "patent poison pill," which terminates the license for anybody who brings a patent suit against a contributor to the source.

People with more experience will make the final judgement, but this does indeed look like an open source license. What it probably is not is compatible with either the GPL or BSD licenses. It will thus be hard for code from InterBase to migrate into other projects, unless those projects, too, use the InterBase license. As more code becomes free, this sort of licensing mismatch is going to increasingly frustrate attempts to combine and reuse existing code in new projects.

IDC declares Linux is red hot in the server market. Here's a press release from IDC on its latest report on the server market. Server shipments grew 166% between the fourth quarters of 1998 and 1999. "In a recent IDC survey of 200 Linux users ... the majority of participants estimated that their Linux servers offered at least 4 9s in availability, which translates to less than one hour of unexpected downtime per year."

Option source? Merlin Software Technologies has announced the creation of the "option source" program. Option source seeks to reward free software developers through payments in cash and/or Merlin stock. Although the resulting software is supposed to be open source, there is a line in the web site about how Merlin might be the "sole commercial product distributor" for some projects for some time.

Lynx Real-Time Systems gets investments from TurboLinux, Motorola. Lynx Real-Time systems has announced the receipt of investments from TurboLinux and Motorola. Amounts of the investments have not been revealed.

CSP Inc. introduces Linux cluster system. CSP Inc. has announced a new Linux cluster product. This one is based on PowerPC processors, and runs Terra Soft's Black Lab Linux.

BigStorage Inc. sponsors ReiserFS journaling filesystem. BigStorage Inc has announced that it is sponsoring the development of the ReiserFS filesystem.

Compaq is #1 Vendor in Linux Server Market. Compaq has issued a press release citing the IDC "server tracker," which places Compaq as the top supplier of Linux servers. The following places are taken by IBM, Dell, and HP; companies like VA Linux Systems are not even mentioned.

Computer Associates unveils Linux service offerings. Computer Associates has announced a line of Linux service offerings aimed at high-end enterprise clients: it includes 24x7 support and remote monitoring and administration services.

Caldera Systems announces new channel program. Caldera Systems has announced a number of changes to its channel program, including a name change (to "eCommerce Solutions Provider program") and the "alliance" partner level which offers a higher level of support.

Linux Powered Voting Booth. Dallas Semiconductor supplied the Internet components. iButtons, computer chips in stainless steel cans, provided registered, private ballots. The Tiny InterNet Interface (TINI) will relay real-time voting results over a live network. What's interesting about this press release is one line about half-way down. "Further demonstrating the flexibility of the iButton/TINI technology, the "central server" in this election is nothing more than a laptop running Linux."

Coollogic to begin shipping Coollinux. Coollogic has announced that it will begin shipping its "Coollinux" distribution this week. Coollinux is aimed at embedded tasks, and seems to be intended for set-top boxes and other "Internet access devices" in particular. They claim that their kernel can fit in less than 355 KB, then talk about their inclusion of things like Netscape 4.7, which would seem a little contradictory. More information can be found on Coollogic's web site (which is running IIS 4.0 on Windows...hmm...)

Section Editor: Jon Corbet.

Press Releases:

    Open Souce Products

  • Enhanced Software Technologies has released its CRU for Linux (Crash Recovery Utility) under the QPL open source license.

  • Protectix has announced a Linux-based firewalling product, which it claims is the first such system based entirely on open source code.

    Commercial Products for Linux

  • Aladdin Systems has announced that its "Expander" utility is now available for Linux in a test mode. Now Linux users too can work with "StuffIt" files...

  • CopperZ, Inc. (PASO ROBLES, Calif.) introduced a new line of Linux servers that feature dual Intel processors and an extensive preloaded library of Open Source software.

  • Easy Information Technology announced the release of easySamba version 1.0, a Samba configuration tool.

  • IBM has made a beta version of its TopPage HTML editor available for free download.

  • InfoValue Computing Inc. (LAS VEGAS) unveiled the QuickVideo Player for Linux, a complete, end-to-end video streaming solution for Linux workstations.

  • Optibase (HERZLIYA, Israel) announced Linux support to the VideoPlex XPress, its streaming media endpoint platform.

  • Prima Tech (NDIANAPOLIS) launched its Linux series. Books "designed to meet the specific requirements of all Linux users".

  • QueryObject Systems has announced the availability of its "QueryObject" data analysis software for Linux.

  • Rogue Wave Software (BOULDER, Colo.) announced the release of a collection of C++ components for Linux.

  • SilverStream Software, Inc. (WASHINGTON) introduced the beta version of the SilverStream Application Server for Linux. It is initially supported on RedHat Linux, version 6.1, running with the latest Java 2-ready Java Virtual Machine (JVM).

  • The Software Group Limited (BARRIE, Ontario) announced that it began shipping an update to Wanware Linux, the high-speed synchronous communications subsystem for Linux systems.

  • StarNet Communications Corp. (MONTREAL) announced its X-Win32 PC X server Version 5.0 will ship with the Storm Linux 2000 operating system.

  • Trend Micro Inc. (BOSTON) announced InterScan VirusWall for ISP, its Internet gateway virus scanning software solution designed for Internet Service Providers, Application Service Providers, and telco environments.

  • UniComp has announced the availability of UNIBOL400, which enables porting of IBM AS/400 applications, on Linux.

  • VirtualSellers.com Inc. (CHICAGO) announced that its TAME software has been included on the Red Hat Linux 6.2 Application Library CD.

  • Xi Graphics Inc. (DENVER) has released OpenGL 1.1.1 compliant 3D Linux graphics drivers supporting the Voodoo3 3D graphics cards from 3dfx.

    Products Using Linux

  • DISC, Inc. (MILPITAS, Calif.) announced the COMET nas server, a line of fully scaleable Network Attached Storage (NAS) servers.

  • Einux Inc. (LOS ANGELES, Calif.) unveiled the Linux-based SLinux 1/4U High Density Cluster Server Array.

  • LAND-5 Corporation (SAN DIEGO) introduced the iCEbox InstaNAS, a 1U thin server and software. The OS is based on enhanced Linux software.

  • Merinta, Inc. (AUSTIN, Texas) supplied iBrow, an embedded Linux solution used in Internet Appliance Network's WebPlayer.

  • VA Linux Systems has announced the availability of a new, low-end Linux system.

    Products with Linux Versions

  • arcadiaOne, Inc. (SUNNYVALE, Calif.) announced arcadiaOne Online, an ASP-style online service.

  • The Bulldog Group Inc. (TORONTO) announced the next version of Bulldog Two.Six, their content management software.

  • Compaq Computer Corporation (HOUSTON) announced major enhancements to its high availability AlphaServer systems.

  • Corporate Software and Technologies (BOSTON) announced the release of CorporateTime Server 5.0 with support for Red Hat Linux.

  • Dell Computer Corporation (NEW YORK) announced the PowerApp appliance server, focusing on Web hosting and Internet caching. The PowerApp servers are available with Red Hat Linux.

  • Equator Technologies (CAMPBELL, Calif.) introduced the iMMediaC Software Toolkit, V5.0, an Interactive Multimedia C compiler for Equator's MAP1000 Media Accelerated Processor platform.

  • Hyperion (VIENNA) announced its Essbase OLAP Server technology will ship with every copy of IBM's DB2 Universal Database Version 7.

  • IBM (VIENNA, Austria) introduced DB2 Universal Database Version 7.

  • Integrix, Inc. (NEWBURY PARK, Calif.) announced the RS480 UltraSPARC rackmount server for the Ultra AXmp+ motherboard. Red Hat Linux 6.1 is available as an optional operating system.

  • Maxoptix Corp. (FREMONT, Calif.) announced the new MaxRAID series of 5.25-inch MO RAID products.

  • Metamail Inc. (BOSTON) announced its virtual e-mail system.

  • nStor Technologies, Inc. (SAN DIEGO) announced a new family of SAN storage solutions.

  • Performance Technologies, Inc. (ROCHESTER, N.Y) announced its adoption of the OpenTelecom.org H.110 Application Programming Interface (API) for its CPC380 Quad T1/E1 access interface product.

  • PowerQuest Corp. (OREM, Utah) announced Drive Image 3.0 with support for Linux Ext2 and Linux SWAP file systems.

  • Progressive Systems, Inc. (COLUMBUS, Ohio) announced it has implemented its Phoenix Adaptive Firewall onto Cobalt Network's RaQ3i platform.

  • Quantum3D (THE HAGUE, The Netherlands) announced support for large area terrain database paging in the newest version of its realtime 3D scene management software, OpenGVS.

  • Quest Software, Inc. (IRVINE, Calif.) announced the release of Foglight 2.7, its software solution for management of multi-tier e-business and enterprise computing applications and systems.

  • Rational Software (LEXINGTON, Mass) announced the availability of Rational ClearCase 4.0, a software configuration management solution, is now available for Red Hat Linux.

  • Sendmail, Inc. (EMERYVILLE, Calif.) and ActiveState will provide streamlined Mail Content Processing with Perl.

  • XOR Inc. (BOULDER, Colo.) chief technical officer Trent R. Hein has co-authored the 3rd edition of UNIX System Administration Handbook, due out in June, which will now include coverage of the Linux platform.

  • Young Minds, Inc. (Redlands, California) introduced its new DVD Studio DVD-Recording solution.

  • webMethods, Inc. (FAIRFAX, Va.) announced webMethods B2B for RosettaNet, an out-of-the-box solution that enables real-time B2B e-commerce.


  • 2netFX (Fremont, Calif/Mountain View, Calif) announced an alliance with Zapex Technologies. The new systems from the two companies will include Zapex's new ZL-330 Linux-based encoder with Dolby audio and multi-channel video, which will be combined with 2netFX's Streamrider client and Thundercast server streaming software.

  • Adaptec and Network Engines (MILPITAS, Calif. and RANDOLPH, Mass.) announced Network Engines will incorporate Adaptec's Ultra160 SCSI into its WebEngine Viper appliances. The resulting product comes in a Linux version.

  • ALPNET, Inc. (SALT LAKE CITY) has been selected by Applix, Inc. to localize Applixware 5.0 Linux for the Chinese market.

  • Applied Microsystems Corp. (MONTREAL) and MontaVista Software Inc. are working together to better serve embedded systems developers.

  • EarthWeb (ATLANTA) announced that it has completed a license agreement with McGraw-Hill. New titles such as 'Red Hat Linux Reference' and 'Linux Certification' will be added to EarthWeb's Knowledge Products.

  • Einux Inc. (LOS ANGELES) announced a technology agreement with Elitegroup Computer Systems Inc., in which Einux will supply technology to Elitegroup's motherboards and server products and Elitegroup will manufacture Einux's server line.

  • LinuxMall.com (DENVER) announced that orders from its web site are being filled through Frank Kasper & Associates' Minneapolis, Minn. warehouse. The fulfillment operation is a key component of the recently announced merger between LinuxMall.com and Frank Kasper & Associates.

  • Merlin Software Technologies Inc. (ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, FLORIDA) announced an agreement with Shrewsbury, NJ-based Programmer's Paradise, to sell Merlin's PerfectBACKUP+ Linux backup and crash recovery software to its retail channel.

  • MSC.Software Corporation (LOS ANGELES/COSTA MESA, Calif.) announced that NEC Corporation (Japan) will support MSC's manufacturing industry applications for Linux on NEC's IA-64 based server family.

  • NARUS, Inc. (PALO ALTO, Calif.) announced availability of wire speed NARUS Analyzer capability for Optical Networks at OC-12 (1.2 Gbps) data rates using the Intel's GigaBlade accelerator. The two companies have completed tests at each of their facilities, demonstrating NARUS Analyzers, using the Intel GigaBlade accelerators on Intel server architecture using the Linux operating system collecting usage data at speeds exceeding 1.2 Gbps with no packet loss.

  • NEC has announced that the Linux 2.3 kernel has been ported (with VioSoft's help) to NEC's 64-bit RISC chips.

  • Neoware Systems, Inc. (KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa.) announced that it has become a sustaining sponsor of LinuxDevices.com, a web portal targeted at the embedded Linux developer community.

  • Rebel.com Inc. (OTTAWA, ONTARIO) announced that it has entered into a distribution agreement with EMJ Data Systems to distribute Rebel.com's NetWinder product line to resellers throughout Canada.

    Investments and Acquisitions

  • International Capri Resources Ltd. (VANCOUVER, British Columbia) announced that it has entered into agreements to acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of CSV Technologies Inc. and all of the assets of Cyber Station Ltd.. This will give them all rights to Cyber Station's EZ Linux Products and Macropedia.

  • Internet Appliance Inc. (FREMONT, Calif.) has recently secured funding from three separate parties, for a $15 million total. Internet Appliance's INTERNETpro SES is a Linux-based VPN appliance.

  • SteelEye Technology Inc. (MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.) announced that it has received funding from the Intel 64 Fund to port LifeKeeper to Intel's IA64 product family.

  • Tucows.com has put out a press release on its acquisition of LWN.net.

  • TurboLinux, Inc. (SAN FRANCISCO and HONG KONG) announced it has received an investment from Pacific Century CyberWorks Limited.

    Linux at Work

  • BakBone Software, Inc. (SAN DIEGO) announced that NEC Soft, Ltd. has selected BakBone's NetVault for its Linux Enterprise Oracle Server Solution.

  • BigStorage, Inc. (SAN DIEGO) announced that it has selected the LAND-5 iCEbox family of network attached storage (NAS) products for its enterprise-level solution.

  • ezlogin.com (SANTA CLARA, Calif.) announced that it has selected 2U and 7U servers from VA Linux Systems for hosting its suite of Internet infrastructure tools.

  • Unibol (MARIETTA, Ga.) announced a contract with RoTech Medical Corporation (Orlando, Florida) for custom software development and associated licenses that will enable RoTech to use Linux-based web servers to access corporate applications and data.


  • Linux NetworX (SANDY, UTAH) named Stephen Hill vice president of business development. Hill acted as one of the lead councils for Caldera Systems, Inc. in its antitrust lawsuit win over Microsoft Corp.

  • SCO (SANTA CRUZ, Calif.) announced that it has appointed Randall I. (Randy) Bresee as its Chief Financial Officer.


  • SuSE Linux AG (Oakland and Westlake Village, California) announced that a free distribution CD of the soon to be released SuSE Linux for the Apple PowerPC will be included in the June 2000 issue of MacTech Magazine.

Section Editor: Rebecca Sobol.

April 13, 2000


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