WordPerfect for free? If you use Linux

Corel tries to regain some market share for its fading word processor.

Corel on Thursday will release a free, limited-feature version of the WordPerfect word processing software for the Linux operating system. A more complete version of WordPerfect 8 will be available for $69.95. While WordPerfect 7 was available for Linux, it wasn't free.

Release of a free, name-brand graphical word processor is another step toward general acceptance of the free Linux operating system, said Michael McLagan, who runs the Linux.org Web site. "Everything that happens in that regard is a step toward wider recognition. It's a matter of recognition and acceptance," he said.

Corel's WordPerfect was once the most popular word processing program, a title now held by Microsoft's Word product. So Corel has seized on the fervent Linux movement, which is highly anti-Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT), as a possible platform for gaining back some lost market share.

Corel's Linux commitment
There are other word processors available for Linux, including an older version of WordPerfect, and software suites from Applix and Star Division. But Thursday will bring WordPerfect's latest software to Linux, and offer a free scaled-down version to users. It also signals continuing commitment by Corel to the Linux operating system. Corel recently began offering Linux-based computer system named Netwinder.

"They've been in the community and involved for 3-4 months now," McLagan said. "Getting WordPerfect is the first step in getting involved in software side."


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