After six years of financial difficulties and reorganizations, Corel finally seems on track with promising first and second quarters in 2006 and a return to public trading. One of the first steps in this turnabout, according to Graham Brown, executive vice president of software development at Corel, was the jettisoning of the company’s products for Linux, WordPerfect for Linux and Corel Linux.
Dropping GNU/Linux Helps Restore Corel Profitability
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2006-07-03 5:00 pmtwenex
Interestingly, Xandros is profitable, whilst I seem to remember Microsoft giving Corel a financial boost around the time they decided to drop Corel LinuxOS.
2006-07-03 5:03 pmralph
No, it didn’t.
How about reading the article?
2006-07-03 8:36 pmtwenex
Even the article says that MS had given money to Corel to work on .NET products. You think a company that pushes a Linux distro is going to get money from MS?
2006-07-03 7:10 pmfxer
For reference, Wikipedia lists Corel Linux as disappearing ~2002, and WordPerfect ~2004
By way of information, the new Xandros 4.0 contains a much-loved feature carried over from Windows – product activation. Users must apply to Xandros for an activation code to unlock certain functionality within the product, namely, the Xandros Networks application used for receiving critical product and security updates. Updating via apt-get and debian sources is still possible but risky due to the highly-customized code within Xandros. Without activation, the Xandros Networks application will remain disabled.
Users must activate the product after each install and, after ten activations, will be denied further activation codes until they contact Xandros Support and assure them that they are using the product legitimately.
2006-07-03 6:37 pmMechaShiva
That is some very unfortunate news. As a network admin, Windows activation has been a real thorn in my side, especially when dealing with flaky hardware that requires reinstalling the OS (Dell, I hate you). I’ve had to waste more time on the MS product activation hotline than I care to think about.
I’ve always liked the polish that Xandros put into their distro and their attention to the little things really helped set them apart. Now they have this which, in my mind, sets them apart for all the wrong reasons.
2006-07-03 9:52 pmdeanlinkous
So vote with your feet, walk away from it if you dont like it. I am not impressed with it either but I respect that they made a business decision and I at least understand the reasoning behind it. The implementation leaves a lot to be desired but it isn’t my business. Of course their business decision means that I wont never use it but then again I wouldnt use a commercial linux anyway. I think the XN app should of been a seperate download and you can only download it if you pay for it which would include activation.
It is a business and a business will protect itself, however poorly it appears to implement the protection. A business will always try to sell you something. And a business will always look after its own interests and never yours unless they happen to coincide.
OT i think tho
2006-07-04 2:57 amdeanlinkous
How does pollycat have a 5.0 rating from one comment. Wow that seems a bit much to me.
I remember using Corel Linux 1.0. In fact: I have the User Guide on my desk right now.
It promised to be ‘as easy to use as Windows’. Which was true, as far as getting it installed and clicking on icons was concerned. If you actually wanted to do something with it however (like configure your hardware, install software or new drivers, run something not in the menu), you were flat out of luck. And the user guide was absolutely useless in explaining anything outside the blatantly obvious (consider it’s 352 pages of english instructions).
I later heard their WordPerfect applications were ‘FrankenWine’. I guess Corel was a bit ahead of it’s time with a Linux Desktop. As in: there was too much still to be done back then to make it really userfriendly and a smooth experience.
They put the blame sqaurely on their Linux products, which is BS. Versions 10 and 11 of CorelDRAW (suite) where awful. They were buggy, playing catchup with Adobe (still are!) and their support was terrible.
After my experience there I vowed to never again touch Corel. Their linux blunders may have had something to do with it but their performance with their flagship product was extremely far from stellar.
I’ve heard horror stories about WordPerfect too.
(and yes their linux software was essentially badly hacked up wine running badly hacked up versions of their windows software)
2006-07-03 8:39 pmtwenex
Versions 10 and 11 of CorelDRAW (suite) where awful.
Corel LinuxOS was pretty awful, too; or at least I bet it was: I decided to give up installing it after leaving it all night to do what should have been a 30-60 min install process.
2006-07-04 1:48 amkillerbyte
While I agree with the buggy part (not that buggy anyway, but release 10 was a bit unstable), I really don’t think they were playing catchup with Adobe. In fact, both applications (Draw and Photopaint) are as good as
Adobe’s, with the plus of some features that are unique to the Corel suite (as the fractal fills and basic movie editing). Also, despite what many people think, Corel suite does do a better job than Adobe’s tools in some areas such as color profiling and color conversion.
“Dropping GNU/Linux Helps Restore Corel Profitability” is inappropriate heading, much better one might be ” Corels’ Decisions were bigger than itself”
To be a linux promoter you need to devote all of your resources towards that area, ie to be able to give support, make OS changes collaborate with Hardware manufacturers and other things as well, and Corel was a software company with limited focus of programming, and their resources were limited too. So dropping any irrelavent projects would help, which mean even if they were doing database programming and they dropped it then it would be good for them.
2006-07-04 8:18 amkaiwai
Or more correct headline would be “Corel focuses on core products” – Remember, Linux wasn’t the only stupid decision, remember the Netwinder, the Java version of Wordperfect Suite, which even Java fans though was kinda daft.
Corel is a Canadian company based in Ottawa and founded by Dr. Michael Cowpland back in 1985. He was a flamboyant combination of computer scientist and entrepreneur (notorious for his wife’s glam photos in S&M attire in the Canadian dailies). The company became a great success in the late 80’s with Corel draw but into the nineties it began to falter. It tried to expand its product base by buying Wordperfect. Cowpland then came to the view that the way forward was to become the major Linux commercial software company. The Corel Linux distribution was developed and and WP and Corel Draw were ported to Linux. As I remember it they also developed the interesting Netwinder Linux based network appliance.
The company faced increasing financial problems, probably more due to financial mismanagement than due to the failings of its Linux division. Michael Cowpland was forced out about the time MS made an offer to inject a large amount of money into the company. Corel dropped Linux and Cowpland was later charged with insider trading. I think in the end he made a large multimillion dollar settlement the largest in Canadian history for insider trading.
Edited 2006-07-03 19:33
They still had those? Damn, I didn’t know. I thought they went belly up about half a year after they originally came out. Of course the lack of advertisement helped keep me ignorant to their further existence.
Who buys a product they don’t know exists?
2006-07-03 7:57 pmjohndaly
Well now that I stopped laughing I can write something sensible.
As far as I recall the story back then went like this, Corel announced they were bringing out their own Linux Distribution that would run Windows programs, they worked on Wine some to get Corel Office ported (I didn’t know about CorelDRAW for Linux but the version for Windows really was so terrible that we abandoned it for Illustrator back then). There was talk about merging with Borland to form a company to rival Microsoft in the products they would offer.
Then the fallowing happened:
*Corel Office for Linux got bad reviews (apparently they didn’t port it all that well).
*Borland didn’t want to merge with Corel.
*Corel Linux backed out of the Windows compatibility promise and almost everybody lost interest.
*It turned out they had far less money then they said they had and the stock plummeted.
I sort of ignored them afterwards.
2006-07-03 10:14 pmrm6990
No….to quote someone above responding to an almost identical comment, “how about reading the article?” It really isn’t that long, so I’m sure you’ll manage.
2006-07-04 2:17 amjohndaly
Actually I have read the article just not before my first post.
The article is named incorrectly anyway it should be:
Dropping GNU/Linux Helped Restore Corel Profitability
Makes a big difference in themeaning.
But man, you have no idea how funny it is for me to hear Corel mentioned with Linux again. After the way they handled the situation.
I can’t believe people believed the crap companies told them back then, Dell and IBM will want to replace Windows with Linux running legacy apps using Wine really soon now (in 1999)?
As part of this expanded relationship, Microsoft has purchased 24 million non-voting convertible preferred shares at a purchase price of U.S.$5.625 per share or a total purchase price of U.S. $135 million.”
Trolling helps get more hits.
Corel Linux didn’t make any claims to Windows application compatibility. That was Lindows. Corel’s claim was seamless network interoperability with Windows Server Networks, and in that they succeeded exceptionally well. As for WordPerfect Office 2000, yes it was run through a custom version of Wine, and it worked quite well as long as your distro of Linux was Corel. The horror stories came from people trying to run WPO2000 on RedHat, SuSE or Debian (Potato). Corel never adapted CorelDraw to Linux, that was PhotoPaint 9 which was also run through Wine.
I’ve had Corel Linux 1.2 running on an old PII 350MHz with WPO2000 since they both came out. It does everything it claims. It connects seamlessly to my WindowsXP network, WPO2000 has never crashed although the re-drawing is slow, and even Paradox works well. Mozilla 1.2 is as new of a web browser you can use on it, however.
2006-07-03 10:57 pmjohndaly
I know they had a port of their Office suit, I assumed they had a CorelDRAW port from what people said in this discussion. I really stopped paying attention to Corel after that incident? Fiasco? Whatever you want to call it. But I do remember Corel making claims about being able to run Windows applications just not for long after they realized it would involve lots of work. At that time their distribution was basically a webpage, some screenshots and a lot of hype and nothing was available.
Yes you are right this sounds a lot like what Lindows did with their distribution (but then again business plans back then weren’t exactly unique) and I should look it up just to confirm but I haven’t the time today. I’ll look it up later (12 – 24 hours) and post again then.
2006-07-04 2:08 amjohndaly
Like I said, Corel Linux originally was supposed to run Windows apps.
2006-07-04 12:51 pmHagerR15
That is not what the article said. The article states that Corel is working on Wine which allows all windows applications to work in Linux.
Corel never made the claim that their Linux, using wine, would run ALL windows applications. ZDNet did. Corel developed wine specifically for their own products and nothing else.
I dont think corel has anyone to blame but themselves. Unimpressive products have nothing to do with having a linux distro. And it is a strange coincidence that MS decided to “invest” in them huh…
Maybe I can’t read these articles any more. I can’t get the 2+2=4 out of them.
I know Corel put a lot of effort into wine. I know they had Corel Linux. I know Xandros is doing nicely and is based on Corel Linux OS.
I want to read what went wrong, really!
Corel Draw, Paint Shop Pro, Winzip!?, and Wordperfect. These are or at least were heavyweight brands in the computer world. The real question should be why are they not at least pepsi to Microsofts coke.
Ok I can see they bought Winzip and Paint Shop Pro and that would be a boost to their windows arsenal. I can see how focusing their efforts on the prominent platform would save money as opposed to using binary propriatry software to sell a linux distribution.
But I still don’t really understand, I’ve bought all their products at one time or another and I wouldn’t now. Or know how they could persuade me to again.
Maybe I’m not asking what Corel did wrong with Corel Office, I’m asking what Sun is doing with OpenOffice/StarOffice, and what Novell is doing with SUSE right or wrong.
Is all the article saying is with various software acquisitions they have created a profitable enough suite of programs to make money on the windows platform, and as part of its corperate strategy getting those programs to work through wine to work on linux wasn’t, and it didn’t sell a lot of Corel Linux OS. I understand much more.
I’m sure if I could understand this article I could make bold statements, regarding
1)The importance of Native Apps, when pushing a product line and googles latest wine approach.
2)About StarOffice expanding its product line to include a raster drawing tool like paint shop pro and a recognized needed application like winzip.
3)About Sun and their own little OS.
4)About propriatry or binary software running on an open source Operating system and what it means in regard to Java or Xara or Gnash
But maybe I couldn’t, Wine is by its own standards is becoming a complete project, ReacOS is looking really interesting to a company who wants to get into the OS market and doesn’t want to a cross platform product. Looking at Ati and Nvidia or even recently Opera 9 people seem more interested in what works rather than any open-source mentality.
I think this article is important, but its left me with more questions than answers regarding how any company takes on the, lets face it a Monopoly on the scale of Microsoft in what is their traditional key areas OS and Office, and some insights on how to compete with Microsoft on emerging technologies like Web 2.0(sic), with references to all the big companies from IBM to Borland to newer companies like Skype and Google.
You can’t get cross-platform with money or developers, you get it by starting with it as a primary goal: That translates, for the mathematical among us, as “you test cross platform from day 1, or very close to there.”
It’s very expensive to develop a product for one platform and then try and just throw it up on another very different platform. Going *nix to Mac is one thing, the tools to get that done are widely popular and available, and it’s not nearly as big a change as Windows to Unix.
Didn’t Corel do sort of a “parallel but older” version for Linux back in the day?
2006-07-04 1:33 amcyclops
You have to look at the dates. 95,97,2000
Wordperfect was still big, linux very small very niche. Microsoft growing, bringing product after product out. Word lets face it in 97 looked the buisness, and twinned with Access and Excel.
Its not as true now…but
Which do you think is going to be more successful
a) Paint shop pro, winzip, corel draw, wordperfect.
b) Linux+wine, Corel draw, wordperfect.
I can see nothing here that surprises me.
The argument that oh its tricky, isn’t good enough. If I was going to have a Linux stratergy in place that involved linux. It has to have some reason over creating a more complete office to have it there, otherwise it simply takes up time and resources. It even gave linux users very little reason to use it over wine+Microsoft Office.
Novell got into the linux buisness for the server software it made sense.
IBM support linux because they sell servers.
Corel what were they thinking. I’m surprised that the interest if it was to get in with Linux was not to create something like SharePoint Server 2007 that would have made some sense to me.
Now if we compare it with something like OpenOffice/StarOffice crossplatform, open-source, right price, Open standards. Its IMO more of a threat to Microsoft than Linux and as a office suite I suspect that Corel office still looks nice, by comparison and the products individually are all more well known.
I really liked Corel Linux when it first came out but the second release was a bit of a dog. I liked Caldera too and look where they ended up, so maybe I have bad juju or something. As to Wordperfect for Linux, that was back in the day of Godawful fonts and Wordperfect was even worse than the norm while not being integrated with the X11 windows fonts. Wasn’t worth a damn.
a sacrifice to please the gods. Gimme a break, the guys are paranoid. They have a 10000 B.C. thinking and seem to live in caves. They are paranoid. Hope to see them closing down.
1) The time was too early for a Linux distribution or a Linux based application suite; remember that when this came out, it was around 2000; Linux had just started to gain traction outside the ISP realms in regards to server uses; they were too early to make any money off the product give the small amount of market there was to begin with.
2) The failure of Corel had nothing to do with Linux and more to do with the lack of any strong direction; yes, the Wordperfect buyout was a good purchase but at the same time, the idea of the Netwinder, Corel Wordperfect Suite for Java, coupled with some other terrible decisions, were the main thing that broke Corel.
Had Corel focused on its core market, possibly expand it using Wordperfect Suite; they wouldn’t be hugely profitable, but at the same time, however, they would be making a modest return.
3) Had the money not been wasted on the above said ventures, Corel would have had enough cash in the bank, for example, to purchase Borland, and create an end to end company, from development tools, to graphics applications to office suites; marketing Delphi as an alternative RAD solution to Visual Basic (and C#), Wordperfect Suite as an alternative to Microsoft Office etc. the ability to leverage the fact that they could offer better complete packages for businesses.
Its too bad that the bad decisions of yesturday castrate the company today by way of not being able to make good acquisitions to expand their business beyond they niche they’ve carved out for themselves now.
If Corel wish to ‘support Linux’, their best shot is to work with Crossover Office, and get their Office suite working with Crossover office rather than trying to do a port; most applications actually work quite well under Crossover Office, if Corel wanted to, they could OEM Crossover Office, included it with their Windows versions of Corel Wordperfect Suite, so if the end user, one day, decides to run Linux – they’ll have the tools required to get their software up and running on Linux.
I had to use corel products in college, i hate them, they are just pure rubbish for me to use, if other people find them usefull then that is for them, but for me i don’t really care that they dropped it for linux..
I didnt like it much. I dont know to many folks who use Word perfect either. Most use MS office or OO.
Thats my 2%
It took them until 2006 to dump those products!?! No wonder they have been treading water!