2. Taxonomy and History

2.1. Corel WordPerfect Product Strategy

To understand Corel's WP versions for Linux, and what they're like, it helps to know the company's product history. As a proprietary software company, Corel wants customers to buy its boxed-set products. WordPerfect is one such product. CLOS was another. The Corel Netwinder Linux-based computer was a third.

Proprietary software companies are motivated to keep development costs down and product-development cycles short. So, Corel always attempts to use one main codebase, the Win32 version (the MacOS one having been axed in May 2001, per http://www.geocities.com/bulgybear/wp.html) as the flagship version, and minimises time and money spent on other OSes' versions.

For similar reasons, the WP product line is always fundamentally less diverse than it seems: To fill different niches and hit various price points, WP is / was offered in different "editions", with more features omitted or disabled from the base "Server" edition (about US $500, boxed set) as one descends the price scale.

2.2. Versions and Editions

WP versions 6 and 7 for Linux (native ports coded by SD Corp.) are long gone from the market, at this date. The (premium-priced) Server Edition boxed-set version included multiuser support and NFS locking, and included both an X11 version ("xwp") and a text-mode / console one ("wp"). The lower-priced Personal Edition boxed set omitted both multiuser / NFS support and the console version. (By "boxed set", I mean that the product was not available for download, only in a retail box, via stores or mail-order.)

WP 8.0 editions for Linux (likewise native ports coded by SD Corp.) were mostly similar: The Server Edition and Personal Edition boxed-set versions were as detailed for prior versions. However, Corel also introduced a WP 8.0 Download Personal Edition, which could be downloaded free of charge as a gzipped tar archive, and was also redistributed for the cost of media on CD-ROMs, in either tar.gz or RPM format. In late 2001, Corel disabled download of WP 8.0 DPE from its ftp site, but it remains available elsewhere.

WP 8.0 DPE for Linux differed from the boxed-set versions in lacking the other versions' drawing / charting module, their module to create custom dictionaries and hyphenation databases, their equation editor, their network support, their print-queue manager, their prepaid technical support, their sample documents / templates / textures / clip-art / photos, their font-installer module, most of their fonts, their multi-language support, and their documentation. (The program could call up an HTML manual from http://linux.corel.com/wpmanual, now removed, and that entire Internet server was finally decommissioned on Feb. 26, 2003.) Also, after 90 days, it refuses to run until you enter a registration key, available free of charge (for now) on http://venus.corel.com/nasapps/wp8linuxreg/register.html or http://nas.corel.com/nasapps/wp8linuxreg/register.html (or use one of the ones people have posted in public). Also, the licence permitted only personal, non-commercial use. Last, it was compiled dynamically linked against some now-obsolete libraries, which must thus be furnished for its benefit (prior to installation).

Balanced against these drawbacks is supplies of 8.0 DPE being effectively inexhaustible -- despite legal questions.

WP 8.0 Personal Edition for Linux was offered in boxed sets, and was offered bundled with the book "WordPerfect for Linux Bible" by Stephen E. Harris and Erwin Zijleman. It included 140 fonts, the font-installer module "xwpfi" (see: http://www.rodsbooks.com/wpfonts/wpfonts-fonts.html), 5,000 clip art images, support for grammar / spelling checkers and thesaurus lookups in additional (non-English) languages, and a now-outdated set of KDE 1.1 RPMs for Red Hat 5.1 / 5.2. The CD-ROM includes a text file with a registration key. Be aware that the electronic-format WP manual included is for character-mode WP, not the graphical X11 version.

Next came WP 8.1 Personal Edition for Linux (WP 8.1 PE), arguably the best version to date, showing "Release 8.1 11/1/1999" in its About screen. It came only in boxed sets of CLOS Deluxe Edition versions 1.0 and 1.2. (CLOS 1.2 was better known as "Second Edition", a name Corel evidently pitched at MS-Windows users.)

WP 8.1 PE differed from prior versions in several ways. It wasn't licensed for multiuser (only Server Editions included multiuser support and console-mode WP; I know of no 8.1 Server Editions), but was licensed for commercial use. As part of CLOS Deluxe Edition, it was in .deb package format. Redistribution was / is strictly prohibited. It came with a full set of 300 fonts, the font-installer module, network support, WP Draw, an equation editor, and a printed manual. It ships with and installs all required libraries.

WP 8.1 Light Edition for Linux was the bundled WP copy included in boxed sets of CLOS Standard Edition. According to one report, it differs from WP 8.1 PE only in having approximately 1/3 as many included fonts (only one of the Deluxe bundle's three .deb-format font archives).

Starting in late 2003, an update to WP 8.1 PE, confusingly called "WordPerfect 8 for Linux" (but showing "Release 8.1.0076 11/1/1999" in the About screen), was available through the Corel Store e-commerce Web site on eBay, then on Corel's own site intermittently from April 15, 2004 until around June 2004 as a "pilot project" aka "proof of concept" market-testing limited offering, "to determine the feasibility of developing future Linux versions of WordPerfect or WordPerfect Office". It uses its own graphical installer routine (eschewing the system package database) that prompts you for a licence number (included), installs under /usr by default, provides the necessary set of libc5 libraries and matching wrapper scripts, provides 130 PostScript Type 1 fonts, and incorporates the equivalent of Valentijn Sessink's Filtrix fix. Supported languages are English (UK, US, CA and OZ) and French (CA and National), only -- which can be fixed. Like prior releases of WP 8.1 PE, the 2003-4 "WordPerfect 8 for Linux" pilot-project offering was licensed for commercial use, but not multiuser.

The intended successor to 8.x was WP 9, a rewrite in Microsoft Foundation Classes / C++, written by Corel alone and promoted by them as a component of "WordPerfect Office 2000". This FAQ will have little to say about WP 9 for Linux, as it was not a true native port, but rather consisted of Win32 code running in a Winelib environment -- with predictable RAM bloat and instability, as a result. (Boxed sets only were offered.)