Copyright © 2002-2005 Rick Moen
This FAQ addresses common questions about Linux i386-binary releases of the discontinued but enduringly popular, proprietary WordPerfect word processor.
Some FAQs aim to present only impartial fact. Others summarise diverse answers typically given by members of the sponsoring community. This FAQ does neither: It's one author's attempt to paint a coherent picture of WordPerfect for Linux's place in the 21st Century open-source world, from a Linux-centric perspective. Some others' views will undoubtedly differ.
I'd like to gratefully acknowledge the HOWTO documents at http://linux-sxs.org/utilities/wp_index.html, which should be consulted for detailed installation instructions for WP on current Linux distributions. Also, the former linux.astcomm.net and current news://cnews.corel.com/corel.WordPerfect_Linux (older postings at http://groups-beta.google.com/group/corel.wpoffice.wordperfect8-linux/) newsgroups' comments have been invaluable.
I would also like to thank Leon A. Goldstein and Valentijn Sessink specifically for their valuable feedback, Bob Tennent and Jim C. Brown for information on the libsafe problem, and Wade Hampton for maintaining the original but now-obsolete WordPerfect Mini-HOWTO.
Several things. In an era when leading word processors gobble dozens of megs of RAM just launching, WP (v. 8.x) is thrifty -- about 6 MB. By comparison, OpenOffice.org 1.1.3 or Star Office 7.0 takes 113 MB to launch. AbiWord 2.2.1 uses only 16 MB, and KWord 1.3.4 uses 35 MB. It's a stable, fast, polished, full-featured product. It has "reveal codes". It has a nearly unique "shrink to fit" printing feature that quickly becomes indispensable once you've experienced it. WP's high-performance print module uses the MS-DOS version's time-tested, robust printer drivers by default, expanding greatly the range of compatible printers. (WP can alternatively hand off to standard Unix printing subsystems -- lpr / lprng / gnulpr / cups / pdq / etc. -- in "Passthru Postscript" mode, to use the system's own standard print drivers.) It has excellent built-in mathematical, financial, logical, and string-handling functions. It has excellent table support and a useful speed-table-formatting feature. It has a time-tested, easy to use and debug macro language. It has a robust built-in database engine for table sorting and searching.
It's still the best tool available on Linux for reading WordPerfect .wpd files created elsewhere. (AbiWord, Anyware Office, wp2latex, and the OpenOffice.org Writer 2.0 beta also qualify.)
It's a discontinued product (on Linux). The most-long-term-available version, WP 8.0 Download Personal Edition (WP 8.0 DPE), has deliberately crippled font handling and limited (but fixable) multi-language support, and won't function without fairly antique support libraries. The best version, WP 8.1, comes only bundled with the Corel Linux OS (CLOS) Deluxe and Standard Edition boxed sets, v. 1.0 or 1.2 -- likewise discontinued.
WP used to be the best tool on Linux for reading MS-Word (through Word97) files, but always faltered on some, especially those Fast Saved in MS-Word. But now, Star Office, OpenOffice.org Writer, and AbiWord reportedly do better (and, unlike WP for Linux, can read post-Word97 .doc formats).
All 8.x versions (except the 2003-4 "pilot project" re-release) ship with a broken MS-Word import / export module: This third-party code ("Filtrix") fails with the message "Filtrix unable to convert this file" if the local system clock is set to later than September 9, 2001, because an internal time counter overflowed when Linux system time in seconds since January 1, 1970 passed 10^9 seconds. The problem can be fixed using a wrapper by Valentijn Sessink of the Netherlands firm Open Office, http://www.openoffice.nl/ (not to be confused with Sun Microsystems's OpenOffice.org project), available at http://olivier.pk.wau.nl/~valentyn/wp8fix/.
The integration into standard Linux print subsystems was always poor; ditto the typeface support. Screen rendering is a bit below par -- though printed output when using the built-in print engine is uniformly excellent, and very fast. Also, TrueType fonts were never supported, only PostScript Type 1. Menu shortcuts break when Caps Lock or Num Lock are on. And WP's use of the Motif graphics toolkit makes its aesthetics a bit klunky.
Last, though the point may be obvious, WP is proprietary (not open source). Open-source projects die only when nobody cares to maintain them, can be fixed / improved by any motivated party, and can be easily implemented on newer CPU architectures (IA64, PPC). By contrast, supplies of all but one WP version are vanishing, the sole exception occupies a legal grey area, and the difficulty of keeping it running on evolving Linux systems (which can be i386 only) can only increase over time.
It's a measure of just how good WP for Linux is / was that many people consider it still the best word processor for Linux, on balance, despite the above.
Old-timers may recall that WordPerfect originally emerged from Satellite Software, Inc. of Orem, Utah, which later renamed itself to WordPerfect Corporation, which ported it widely from the original x86 assembler version for MS-DOS. (Their initial Unix port occasioned a rewrite to C, which lead to WP for NeXT, which lead to WP 6.0 for MS-Windows, which was the basis for all subsequent versions.) That firm eventually sold WordPerfect's codebase to Novell, Inc., which then sold it to Corel Corporation Limited of Ottawa, Canada. Corel then hired a spinoff firm (Software Development Corporation aka SD Corp., formed by the Unix port's manager and developers) to port WP versions 6, 7, 8.0, and 8.1 to both Linux and several proprietary Unix platforms.
Around 1996-7, the initial SD Corp.-written Linux port of Corel WP, v. 6.0, was marketed solely through through Caldera, Inc. of Orem, Utah, as part of two bundles: the WordPerfect and Motif Bundle, and the Caldera Internet Office Suite bundle (companion CD to Caldera Network Desktop v. 1.0). In 1997, Corel replaced this with a v. 7.0 that it sold directly (after SD Corp.'s open beta), offering greater file compatibility with other platforms and other improvements.
The zenith of WP for Linux's popularity, however, came with the 1998-2000 v. 8.x series, the most wildly popular Linux proprietary software of that era. (During that time period, Corel, acting without help from SD Corp., attempted to port the entire WordPerfect Office (aka Corel Office) suite to Java: Program startup was slow for its time, and some functions had problems. The project was killed after some public betas.)
The intended successor to 8.x shipped some time around 1999: WP 9, better known as WordPerfect Office 2000 (which was technically a brand new, entirely Corel-written MFC/C++ -coded, replacement WordPerfect codebase joined at the hip to several other Corel programs -- Quattro Pro (which Novell bought from Borland in June, 1994, and then passed to Corel), Paradox (which Corel bought around 1997 from Borland), Corel Presentations, Corel Central). WordPerfect Office 2000 was produced by Corel Corporation Limited, alone, Corel having closed down the WordPerfect Corporation unit in Orem, Utah during 1998-9. (Paradox was included only in the Deluxe Edition, and omitted from Standard Edition.)
As will be detailed later, the Linux release of WP9 / WordPerfect Office 2000 came about, not as a real Linux binary, but rather as Win32 code recompiled to run in a Corel-produced custom Winelib environment. (The porting services of SD Corp., experts in the C-based classic portable codebase, were therefore not required for that release.)
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.
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.)
WP 8.0 for Linux was distributed as a dynamically linked ELF binary, linked against libc5 (C library), libm (the related math library), a set of five X11 libraries for libc5-based software, and ld-linux.so.1.9.* (aka ld.so 1.9.*), the dynamic-linker/loader software current on Linux at that time. Those old libraries are often omitted from current Linux distributions. In such cases, you need to retrofit those libraries. (You can see the exact library links by running "ldd" = list library dependencies against the WordPerfect "xwp" main executable file.) Specifically: Prior to running the WP 8.0 installer, you must install ld-linux.so.1.9.* (usually in an ld.so package), libc of some version from 5.3.12 through 5.4.46, and libm.so.5.* (both usually in the libc5 package), and a set of X11 backward-compatibility libraries compiled against libc5 (libXt.so.6, libX11.so.6, libXpm.so.4, libSM.so.6, and libICE.so.6). Don't forget to ensure the libraries' directories are listed in /etc/ld.so.conf, and then re-run /sbin/ldconfig.
What binary packages provide these libs and dynamic linker/loader differs between distributions. If in doubt, documents linked from http://linux-sxs.org/utilities/wp_index.html may give details for your distribution. (Also, FAQ section "After I locate WP 8.0 DPE for Linux, how do I install it, and what can I do to improve and fix it?" has more details and remedies for installation problems.)
You installed Accelerated-X, a proprietary X11 server, and included in your installation its version of the X11 libraries, which were compiled with glibc. You need the more-traditional XFree86 versions of those libraries (libXt.so.6, libX11.so.6, libXpm.so.4, libSM.so.6, and libICE.so.6), specifically ones that were compiled for libc5 X11 clients. Remove Accelerated-X completely, reinstall the XFree86 shared libraries for libc5 clients (which may have any of various package names, such as xlib-compat, oldlibs/xlib6, etc.), and then reinstall the Accelerated-X server only (minimal installation). WordPerfect should then run correctly.
You are running with "libsafe" enabled, a wrapper library that aims to protect system security by blocking library calls that are known to be vulnerable to buffer overflows. Unfortunately, that technique blocks execution of any binary that attempts a dynamic library call to libc5.x. Both the WP 8.x installer and WP 8.0's runtime binary were compiled as libc5 executables.
To confirm that libsafe is the culprit, type "echo $LD_PRELOAD | grep libsafe". You can turn off that setting by typing "unset LD_PRELOAD". Then, remove the libsafe reference in /etc/ld.so.preload, if this exists. You should now be able to successfully run the installer, and can call the main "xwp" binary using a shell script that runs "unset LD_PRELOAD" just prior to executing xwp.
Alternatively (for the adventuresome): If you want to leave libsafe enabled for normal executiables, but still use WordPerfect, you can binary-patch libc5's dynamic linker/loader to use a different global preload file (/etc/ld.so.preloa1 instead of /etc/ld.so.preload). Open ld-linux.so.1.9.* in a hex editor (such as "vi -b"), then find and replace all occurances of "/etc/ld.so.preload" with "/etc/ld.so.preloa1". Save and exit. The referenced file need not exist: The idea is that libc5's loader will look up a null preload library instead of libsafe, while the glibc/libc6 loader will find libsafe as intended.
You're probably using one of the personal editions of WP 8.x. Only the server editions include code required to enable support of NFS file locking (which in server editions you can enable via the WPadmin login facility). Otherwise, neither the installer nor the WP program binary will run if any components are on (or will be installed to) any NFS mounted drive, including user settings in users' home directories and temporary files in /tmp.
The third-party Filtrix module, because of a programming oversight concerning date-handling, doesn't work on systems whose current date is set later than September 9, 2001: On attempts to import / export MS-Word files, it fails with error message "Filtrix unable to convert this file". The problem can be fixed by installing a wrapper by Valentijn Sessink, available at http://olivier.pk.wau.nl/~valentyn/wp8fix/. (This fix isn't necessary for the 2003-4 "pilot project" re-release, which includes an equivalent fix.)
Note: Reportedly, the Filtrix module will not process MS-Word .doc files that were saved in MS-Word with password-protection applied. This is not a bug: Filtrix never handled such files. (Nor can Filtrix handle MS-Word documents with embedded non-MS-Word COM objects such as spreadsheet tables from MS-Excel.)
Import will also fail on any file saved in a post-Word97 version of Microsoft's .doc format. This is not a bug, just an inevitable result of the program's age and lack of maintenance.
Good question. By the time the problem cropped up, Corel had discontinued all involvement in Linux. Just before that, Microsoft Corporation made a major investment in Corel, preventing the latter firm's collapse. It's possible that lack of Linux-competent staffing was an issue (those having moved to Xandros or left), that Corel didn't wish to displease its investor, that the firm perceived inexpensive Linux versions to be impairing sales of its US $500 versions for other Unixes (especially given increasingly common support for Linux-native binaries on those Unixes), or that corporate inertia after liquidating the entire Linux division accounted for this lapse. (Corel was later passed to Vector Capital, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's venture-capital firm, which took Corel private.)
Corel's only comment (November 5, 2001) was "The corporation is not prepared to make any comment", and to post a comment on http://linux.corel.com/support/updates.htm#wp8, unchanged since late 2001, that "Corel is currently working with the filter manufacturer to resolve this issue." (That claim was still present when Corel took down the linux.corel.com machine on Feb. 26, 2003.)
You don't. WP is compatible with the "kab" version in KDE 1.1, only, that being the KDE version shipped with CLOS. For unexplained reasons, this feature also doesn't work on Linux 2.4.x or later kernels.
This is a frequent symptom of colour palette exhaustion. The only real cure is to run X11 at a lower colour depth. 32 bpp will sometimes work where 24 bpp doesn't, but 16 bpp always works (assuming hardware support).
No. WP can use PostScript Type 1 fonts, only. The issue is covered comprehensively by Rod Smith, here (including describing a utility for generating PostScript Type 1 fonts from TrueType ones -- with, no doubt, inevitable loss of detail resulting from "hinting"-routine omission and other conversion artifacts): http://www.rodsbooks.com/wpfonts/
By default, WP for Linux (uniquely) ignores Linux's system printing facilities, and uses its own print engine and drivers. (The latter are the same as for WP on MS-DOS, giving the program very broad printer support. More are available at http://www.columbia.edu/~em36/wpdos/, which should be reachable as http://www.wpdos.org/.) You need to configure the printing subsystem. As the root user, start xwp with the -admin (or -adm) command-line option, then select and install an appropriate printer driver, using the Add Printer Driver widget. (In such cases but not the Passthru Postscript option discussed next, specify "-oraw" in the WP8 Printer Setup dialogue's Lpr options box on the Select Destination sub-page, or define a "raw" printing destination in your system print daemon, e.g., CUPS.) Alternatively, select "Passthru Postscript" to hand off jobs to the system printing daemon, and use the latter's print drivers, instead.
The 2003-4 "WordPerfect 8 for Linux" pilot-project offering retains this print engine, except that it defaults to Passthru Postscript using print destination WPSpool, a reasonable default for compatiblity with modern Linux systems' existing system print regimes, which mostly use CUPS. (You can still alternatively use WP's own print drivers, and either specify "raw" printing in your system print spooler or "-oraw" in WP's print options as described above.)
Because of a bug in the install script, the 2003-4 "WordPerfect 8 for Linux" pilot-project release's installer must be run setting US English option initially as default, or it will fail. You can then choose one of the other installed language options after installation.
Yes. The "pilot project" re-release included language modules for English (UK, US, CA and OZ) and French (CA and National), but not Dutch, German, Italian, or Spanish. Those modules can be installed from separate downloads mentioned elsewhere in this FAQ. After installing them, you'll need to add "/usr/i386-compat-gnulibc1/lib" (or as appropriate, if you didn't install WP to the /usr/wplinux default) as a new line to /etc/ld.so.conf and re-run "ldconfig". (Otherwise, you'll see an error about inability to find libm.so.5, when you execute the language module's ./Runme script.)
You haven't yet run the xwpfi font-installer, to inform WP of their presence. (A Readme explains how to use it.) Note that xwpfi is intentionally omitted from WP 8.0 DPE. Please see FAQ section "How do I add fonts to WP 8.1?" for more details.
You haven't yet configured X11 to know about them, though perhaps you've run xwpfi to inform WP about their existence. The two are distinct, WP's font integration being incomplete relative to that of standard Linux apps. Please see FAQ section "How do I add fonts to WP 8.1?" for more details.
Tests by Valentijn Sessink have confirmed that this process must have something to do with printing: If you rename the wpexc binary, then start WP, printing will malfunction but no other program features will. The fact that it's left running even after you quit WP appears to be a bug. You can safely kill it, when not running WP.
It's the WordPerfect Print Manager. WordPerfect by default manages its own printing, and only optionally hands off jobs to the system printing facility, if so configured.
(This problem obviously applies only to the minority who keep multiple editions of WP for Linux on tap.) "xwp" in some editions, such as 2003-4's "pilot project" re-release and WP 8.1 PE, is a symbolic link pointing to a launcher script. (Thus, you should rename any existing /usr/bin/xwp, before installing, as the installer will overwrite it.) In others, it's a binary: Run "file" on it to tell. You may have to do some debugging and creation of your own symlinks to untangle multiple editions' startup mechanisms.
You need to run "imwheel -k" (which utility must, of course, be installed) just prior to launching WP. This can be added as a line near the top of WP's startup script (which you can create, if none such exists).
Check the version of libc, which should be in /lib. If it's 2.3.2 or above (as it is in essentially all current Linux distributions), and you're using either the original bundled version of Corelwine or Michael Torrie's corelwine-cvs-20010613-1.i386.rpm upgrade (or Andreas von Heydwolff's corelwine-cvs_0.1-2_i386.deb conversion to .deb format of Torrie's release), that's why: There's a libc-support problem, which will necessitate fixing and re-releasing Corelwine. (A bug in ld.so's dynamic linker/loader prevents solving this using a wrapper to use an older libc and the existing Corelwine libs.) However, in September 2004, Torrie graciously provided his Corelwine source code. It's hoped some volunteer will soon code the patch required.
Most locations that formerly offered the download (for example, CNET's download.com, ftp.calderasystems.com, and linux.tucows.com) ceased doing so about the time Corel itself did. It's possible (but pure speculation) that Corel asked or required that the files be pulled.
However, the download is still available at:
ftp://ftp.uni-halle.de/pub/Linux/software/wordperfect8/ Includes all localisation files.
http://ftp.urc.ac.ru/pub/OS/Linux/print/ Also has PhotoPaint9 for Linux.
http://www.invivo.net/pub/SOFTS/telechargement/Linux/WORDPERF/ Note FR localisation files.
http://linuxmafia.com/pub/linux/apps/ Site carries WP 8.0 DPE, all localisation files, the Filtrix fix, copies of WP 8.x licences, archived knowledgebase / FAQ / documentation files, and Corelwine / WP9 fixes.
(The ES=Spanish archive at http://www.invivo.net/pub/SOFTS/telechargement/Linux/WORDPERF/Espagnol/ is unfortunately corrupted.)
It's packaged either as a single gzipped 23 MB tarball (GUILG00.gz), a single 17 MB RPM archive (included in Caldera OpenLinux through v. 2.3) that installs ready to run, a 22 MB RPM archive (one in SuSE Linux boxed sets through 6.1 and a similar one in older boxed sets of Linux-Mandrake) that installs tar archives in /usr/lib/wp8/ that must then be separately installed by running /usr/lib/wp8/Runme, or as a collection of seven separate tarballs (GUILG00.gz through GUILG06.gz). The program also remains available on a US $3 CD-ROM at http://linuxcentral.com/. Ditto on a US $1 CD-ROM at http://www.edmunds-enterprises.com/.