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Corel to offer Linux WordPerfect Office 2000 for free

Company adopts Red Hat sales model and Citrix terminal-based computing model

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Corel president and CEO Michael Cowpland has promised his company will provide its WordPerfect Office 2000 suite to Linux users free of charge. And the company has its eyes on Citrix's approach to computing with a technology that allows the OS to run Windows applications remotely. Speaking at Comdex, Cowpland said Corel was taking on a Red Hat style approach to sales for the forthcoming productivity suite. While a CD version of the product will retail for around $50, individual users will be able to download the suite for free. The announcement follows Corel's previous decision to make the standalone WordPerfect 8 for Linux free for personal use. It also marks a further stage in the company's shift away from Java. WordPerfect was one of the few off-the-shelf software companies to commit themselves to Java versions of their producivity tools, but in the end WordPerfect Office for Java never made it beyond beta. In the Corel scheme of things, Linux has effectively replaced Java. "It's just not robust enough as a complete platform," said Cowpland, describing the Sun technology. "Linux is going to be the next big thing." "Linux is going like a rocket," he added. "It's telling us that no, it's not going to be a one-platform world." Java still has a role in Corel's plans, however. It will provide the link between Windows and Linux -- Corel is developing JBridge, a technology that allows Java-enabled browsers running in a Linux environment to run Windows applications, much in the way Citrix's MetaFrame allows Unix, Mac and Windows clients to access applications running on an NT server. JBridge is due to ship by the second half of 1999. ®

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