WordPerfect Office 2000 for Linux is the latest release from Corel to try and bolster the fortunes not only of the company but of Linux in general. WordPerfect Office 2000 for Linux is a port of Corel’s WordPerfect Office 2000 for Windows, some of which has also been ported to UNIX platforms including SCO OpenServer and SCO UnixWare. The port is complete, with almost all components of the Windows version of WordPerfect Office 2000 available under Linux.

WordPerfect Office 2000 for Linux runs under Corel Linux, RedHat, Debian, Caldera, SuSe, Mandrake and TurboLinux, as well as a few others we didn’t test. We installed WordPerfect Office 2000 for Linux on two systems, one running Corel Linux and the other SuSe Linux. The system requirements are quite benign for such a large office suite: 32MB RAM and 450 MB disk space to load everything in the package (if you drop the clipart, image and font libraries you save a couple of hundred MB of disk space). WordPerfect Office 2000 for Linux is designed to run under an X interface, such as KDE.

WordPerfect Office 2000 for Linux provides several applications that mirror the Windows and UNIX versions of the suite. WordPerfect 9 is the latest version of Corel’s popular word processor. Quattro Pro 9 is a spreadsheet, Corel Presentation 9 is a presentation graphics program (similar to Microsoft PowerPoint), and CorelCentral 9 is a task and time scheduler. The packages come with the standard version of Corel Linux, which stands out as one of the easiest Linux versions available for installation and configuration.

WordPerfect Office 2000 for Linux is available in two versions: standard and deluxe. The deluxe version adds Netscape Communicator instead of Netscape Navigator, telephone technical support for thirty days (both standard and deluxe have e-mail technical support), over 1,000 bitstream and type 1 fonts instead of only 100 in the standard version, an extra 11,000 clipart images and an extra 180 photos, Paradox 9 relational database, and a limited edition of the popular Railroad Tycoon II game ported for Linux. Oh, you also get a stuffed penguin toy, too.

The hefty box all this comes in contains four CD-ROMs in the Deluxe version we tested. One CD-ROM is for the Corel Linux distribution, another for the Railroad Tycoon game, and two CD-ROMs for the Office suite itself. Two well-written and heavily illustrated perfect-bound manuals complete the package. One book contains all the font and image collections, which can be pasted in to any document or presentation produced by the Suite. The User Guide steps you through the installation and use of the Office suite. There’s no instructions for installing and configuring Corel Linux with the package, although this information is contained on the Corel Web site and in documents on the CD-ROM. Still, a printed quick-start guide would have been nice to round out a very complete package.

For our tests we used WordPerfect Office 2000 for Linux for a week, producing several documents and spreadsheets, as well as a coupe of presentation graphics packages. More importantly, we successfully imported presentations from WordPerfect Office 2000 for Windows and Microsoft Office 2000 into the WordPerfect Office 2000 for Linux applications, and could export back to either Windows suite. The software was stable throughout all our tests, despite trying to mess it up with strange formats and repeated scripts that perform repetitive tasks thousands of times in a row. The X interface works very well and the learning curve is reasonable considering the amount of capabilities in the different applications in the suite.

In the Windows world, there’s a lot of competition for the WordPerfect Office 2000 package, most notably from Microsoft’s Office (which is almost a sine qua non under Windows these days). However, in the Linux world, there’s much less competition for this all-in-one suite. Star Office is pretty good, but fails almost every comparison against a heavyweight product like WordPerfect Office 2000 for Linux. Indeed, even assembling all your favorite applications (word processor, spreadsheet, graphics, and so on) into a pseudo-suite it would be very hard to compete against the level of application integration and consistent interface WordPerfect Office 2000 for Linux offers. Quite simply, this is the only real office suite game in town. The ability to move documents from Linux to UNIX and Windows versions of the Suite, and vice versa, makes this almost a no-brainer for Linux users. Sure, WordPerfect Office 2000 for Linux is not free, but then, it’s not expensive, either. If you want a full-blown production office software package for your Linux system, this is it.

WordPerfect Office 2000 for Linux
$109 Standard
$159 Deluxe
Corel Corporation
1600 Carling Ave
Ontario K1Z 8R7
613-761-7792 fax

Summary: WordPerfect Office 2000 for Linux is a superb port of the Windows version of this software, stable as could be, and the only office suite for Linux you’ll ever need.