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Corel Claims That The Worst Is Over 85

Navarre writes: "Looks like Cowpland is on spin control now. Our least favorite Linux representative is now claiming that all's well in the Ottawa-based Corel. The story is here. Supposedly $25 mill in the bank and stable. Funny, but I just heard more people here in Ottawa had been laid off. Go fig. I hope Cowpland's correct though, since I have a friend trying to get work there." Maybe one of these days I'll write a huge feature on why Corel's financial difficulties had nothing to do with their Open Source strategy.
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Corel Claims That The Worst Is Over

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  • That worked, but left their customized version of LILO in the boot sector, the fancy graphical menu version Corel made, and it hung my machine when it realized that Linux was no longer there.

    This is also my experience with their current distribution. I abandoned efforts to get Linux working on my desktop, removed the linux partition, and went with Win98. The LILO boot menu still came up, thankfully with Windows/DOS as an option. I'm currently bypassing it with Boot Magic - it's a dumbass way of "fixing" the problem, but for the life of me I don't yet know how to remove Corel's boot menu without reformatting my hard drive. My Linux Newbie jounal here [].


  • What Corel really needs to do is code the apps NATIVELY, and then use an emulation/porting library/compatibility layer to port to Windows.

    Why? It's clear that they can't break the Windows lock on office-type software. Thus, they need to try and make the Linux software a priority. Using libwine (or even running it hosted under Wine, wich is what I heard Corel Office does) is just unacceptable. It's inherently buggy, not because Wine sucks, but because it's an ENRMOUS task to re-implement the huge and muddled Win32 library.

    If Corel would simply junk the existing code and rewrite it to use QT/KDE or GTK/GNOME, they'd be a lot better off. It doesn't make sense to focus your efforts on an emulated/compaitibility mode-enabled pieces of software.

    So I say to Corel: focus on Linux and provide compatibility to Windows - you'll have a lot better product!
  • I have to say that as regards Graphics & Illustration CorelDraw8 is second to none. I haven't used Freehand or Illustrator since I discovered Corel 3 and haven't looked back.

    True, photopaint is a poor substitute for photoshop, but it's got quite a few nice features and with a little more effort on intuitive features it would win my vote.

    Plus the pricing of corels products is excellent. As a student I think I can now buy their entire product line for a few hundred quid.

    Also I wish they would get a move on with Linux versions because much as i like linux, personally I dont think it has enough application support to use as a Desktop OS, and corel do seem to be the only large vendor making inroads with this.

    I really do feel sorry for corel and the position they are in, and i'm pissed the proposed Borland/Inprise merger fell through, because that would really have generated a company with all the market sectors to rival microsoft... and enough dominance to slowly break down microsofts 'standards'.

    Whilst CorelLinux has a long way to go, what with a decent set of graphics and office apps from corel, decent RAD development tools from Borland & Gnu, decent Interface from kde/gnome, and windows binary compatibility from wine - we'd have everything to start attacking M$.
  • I use Mandrake 7.0 at home, and am testing 7.1 at work. One big difference between the two is 7.1 has X v4.0, which doesn't support that many graphics cards yet, but is supposed to be MUCH better than previous versions. (Faster, more features, auto detection of mouse wheel and so on)

    My first real Linux install was SuSe 6.1 and I liked their package management system. I haven't tried SuSe in a while though, and I've lined up Debian as my next test distro.

    I love Linux, but it's still a little rough around the edges. I'd look into using LyX on Linux for word processing. It's based on TeX and gives you much more exact and consistent results.

    If you have a recent WINE snapshot you should be able to run Word 95/97 "after a fashion" as well as Juno and Yeah Write!

    You also might want to try an Applixware demo.

    Matthew Miller, []
  • Coreldraw is not #2 in its field, or rather for a very long time it was #1 by far. Corel's problem is that its products are as you described them, and it has been bleeding money in every sector except the CorelDraw sector. They expanded too fast, stretched their resources and abused engineers way too thin, and ultimately every product has suffered and is slowly falling farther and farther behind. Corel's open source strategy has nothing to do with their failure, except for the fact that it costs money to hire programmers - money that the company simply does not have.
  • Good possibility that they will not fall over..

    Corel has been on a "downward spiral" ever since it was created. They'll stick around, Cowpland's spin will keep spinning, some suck^H^H^H^H people will still invest. Corel will change it's focus again. Mix and repeat..
  • WordPerfect did not "hold the market" until 1997.

    They lost most of their 90% word processing marketshare in 1992-94, before they were able to ship a working version of WPWin, and they were able to match Microsoft is suite packaging and pricing. It was Office 4.2 (1994) that killed them, not Office 97.
  • Couldn't they offer free downloads of source, but charge your credit card for a precompiled binary? That would keep most people paying, while still allowing developers to use it for free.

    I could be mistaken, but I don't think the GPL allows that. Free software must be free - you can charge for the distribution and packaging, but not the software itself. So, you can sell a box in the store, and you can sell a pack of install CDs online, but I don't think the FSF would let you get away with charging for a download.


  • by Anonymous Coward
    It's simple: anyone in the Win* market is getting clobbered (sp?) to death by the M$ steam-roller and the herd effect (wich lead the New Unified Ottawa City to choose M$ Office over Corel's software -- ditto for the Canadian Federal Gov. that violated its most basic provisionning rules when it migrated to M$ Office instead of buying Corel's software). The only way to survive is to get out of M$'s playground, to migrate to other OSes, namely Linux.

    Cowpland understood this and told his minions to port their S/W ASAP to Linux, but their Windoze "Cash cow" is drying up quicker than they can move to Linux and ramp up the sales there. It does look like bad timing -- what if Corel had started their migration, say, 6 months earlier?

    Of course, there were other boneheaded moves on Corel (mostly Cowland's ?) behalf, but the fundamental source of their problems is in the shrinking non-M$ space in the Windoze universe. If you are not from Redmond (sp?) and are playing in Bill's pond, you're scr**ed.
  • Cockroach theory [] explains why Corel's stock price is in the dumper . On Wall Street we say:

    Like cockroaches, there is rarely just one adverse earnings surprise.

    So a company like Corel that has let some ugly critters slip out of the cupboard and onto the quarterly statements is assumed to have more. Until Corel supplies a steady stream of rising earnings (meaning at least 3 quarters), don't expect Wall Street to embrace the stock.
  • I think what you're talking about is a problem with branding. It's not so much what Corel *does*, it how people *percieve* the company.

    "rescued orphanware, shovelware, ...high-end software that only amateurs buy."

    Image matters, and Corel's isn't so hot.

    But do perceptions match reality? I would argue that they don't. I've used Wordperfect, Coreldraw, and Corelpaint. I've also used their competitive cousins. Sure, you can tick off products feature by feature, bug by bug, and you will find differences - on both sides of the fence.

    I would submit that Corel has an excellent stable of products, for excellent prices. The irony is that that is not enough, because people are dumb herd animals who rarely act independantly of their peers. "There must be reason everyone uses Photoshop, right?" Bzzzt - wrong. Everyone uses Photoshop (or Word, or Freehand, et al.) because they don't have the time, patience, inclination, or ability to think for themselves. No, I'm not knocking you for using these products. I'm just saying that most people never even consider that it might be worthwhile to try something else. Why bother?

    Just look at how bad Microsoft's products and behaviour had to get before people started to wake up to the realization that "hmm, maybe there are alternatives".

    Great products with "ugly ads, ugly packaging, and lowball pricing". And that's enough to tank them. Very sad. And probably very true.

    So what's the moral of this story? What do we learn? Overcharge, because you will gain customer confidence? Don't develop products that only work w/ 95% of the consumer base? Throw struggling products, projects, and developers in the garbage? If you can't obtain majority market share, don't even bother? If you can't become a billionare, resign and go sell insurance? Please Wall Street or die? If your neighbor's in trouble, look the other way? Actually, no, maybe kick him in the shins?

    Number one lesson of the day: Make sure you have pleasing packaging.

    My mind feels numb.

  • Up until I went off to college, 1997, WP Suite still owned more than 50% of the business office market. MS Office 95 had just under 40%, and Lotis had roughly 10%.
  • Think about it, Corel would get a lot of kudos from the open source community, they could quickly have the best word processor for Linux and other (non MS) platforms and then they could start edging back in to the Windows market.

    I don't see how this could possibly work for them. Open sourcing their software could help improve it on platforms like Linux, but on Windows the Corel Office Suite is an excellent product, every bit as good as MSO. Since that's the market they have to crack, open sourcing it would be pretty much useless. Making it a free (beer) product won't help their market share either since they're practically giving it away now. I can get WPSuite 9 from resellers here in Vancouver for less than CDN$100, while the MS product is going for >CDN$400. Naw, it looks like WPSuite is pretty much a perpetual niche product on Windows. On Linux, it could become the standard, but that still would make it a niche product over-all.

  • ObRant: I would kill for a Reveal Codes option for Microsoft Word, so that I don't need to "sacrifice letters" to get to one side or the other of a format-change boundary. And, no, "Show All" doesn't do what I want/need.

    WP 7,8 and 9 all still have Reveal Codes. In fact, it's always been in the product. Why not give it a try? I prefer it to MS Word, myself.

  • That's all fine and good (and I've tried WP7 and WP8 .. nice, but still not as crisp as WP 5.1). However, they don't work really well with the Word documents I get here at work (they screw up the formatting rather spectacularly, and other nasty things happen). I use Word only because my employer has standardized on it. I guess it's because it simplifies the process of deploying macro vir^W^Wsoftware updates.

  • When you are hemoraghing cash you need to cut costs. Generally, since you can't fire equiptment, cutting costs means cutting workers.

    Likely both statements are true. Corel IS out of the woods financially, for the moment, as they now have their expenses under control. That meant cutting your friends from the pay-roll.
  • Of course, I can't back it up, but seem to recall that in the "suite" market, WordPerfect was around 15% by the time Novell bought them in ~1994. (Their stock was sure low at the time.)

    You might be thinking of the Stand-Alone Word Processor market, where WordPerfect has always sold well. (as does 1-2-3 in the stand-alone spreadsheet market, completing the classic 80s desktop combo. Can't say that I've ever seen anyone use Quatrro Pro.)
  • by hatless ( 8275 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @02:47AM (#934918)
    Corel can't market their way out of a paper bag. They've got ugly ads, ugly packaging and lowball pricing that undermines confidence in the product.

    Add to that a product strategy that seems to involve implementing features nobody ever asked for because they have orphaned technologies lying around, while leaving gnawing feature gaps intact year after year.

    They're a slowly sinking ship. Their brand is synonymous with rescued orphanware, with shovelware, and with high-end software that only amateurs buy. It's one thing to be a niche vendor. It's quite another when the only niches you dominate are for word processing software for law offices, and graphic designers who have no money.
  • by FascDot Killed My Pr ( 24021 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @02:50AM (#934919)
    "Wow, we were really all over the news there for a while. ZDNet had daily stories about us, The Register kept running headlines like 'The End of Corel'. Even Linux Journal kept running advertisements, I mean 'articles', about us. But the worst appears to be over--you'll finally be able to read a Linux-related news story without any mention of me or my company."
  • in dos, try fdisk /mbr
  • [...] the old Orem WP was the best!!!

    Agreed! Give me WP 5.1 on a 286 and a 40MB HD, and I'll be in heaven for writing papers. :-) And I'm not being even a tad sarcastic. I used to run WP 4.2 on a Tandy 1000 (the original 4.77MHz 8088 version), cached entirely in a RAM disk and booted from a 360K floppy. The whole thing booted up in less time than a modern PC, and was more responsive as well. WP 5.1 really did just improve on a good thing.

    ObRant: I would kill for a Reveal Codes option for Microsoft Word, so that I don't need to "sacrifice letters" to get to one side or the other of a format-change boundary. And, no, "Show All" doesn't do what I want/need.

  • You nailed that one on the head. Mind you they *did* finally make WordPerfect work after the previous fiascos by WordPerfect and Novell. Although one must install several 50Mb 'patches' to get their programs up to spec. And Quattro is a much nicer program than Excel.

    One thing that you forgot to mention is that Cowpland is a moron.

    And his wife is a dog.

  • Please Emmitt, please write a full feature!!!!

    It would be so important to not only the Open Source community, but to the whole IT industry.

  • by kwsNI ( 133721 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @03:04AM (#934924) Homepage
    I don't know about everyone else, but I'm not heading out to buy Corel stock because they say that the worst is over. I think that if Corel wants to let everyone know that they're going to make it, they need to go out there and prove it.

  • It's also interesting to see all this "bitching" about Corel from the Linux crowd. You folks should go read the recent interview with Copland. Linux is ONLY 5% of their business to date. They hope for more, but 5% is still just 5%.

  • It is up to the liquidators to decide. If they do fall over of course.

    IMHO they deserve to fall over. This ugly bulshit of releasing a barely working wine linked build and calling it a full productivity environment deserves to die. It is a technological downward spiral. From bad to worse:

    • WP 7 and earlier. RPC based IPC. More than user on one machine. All things in place for future network exetnsions. True Unix application.
    • WP 8. Named Pipe based IPC in a fixed directory. Single user and gaping security hole (creation follows symlinks). Still true Unix application.
    • WP 2000. Wine linked BS. No IPC expansion capabilties. Windows app bodged to run on Unix.

    In btw: Soffice since version 3 is going down the same route. From bad to worse.

  • I agree. I would much rather use an office suite that used native libraries rather than one that ran on top of a "kludgy" solution. (Applix 5 uses gtk+, so I would rather lose a few features, and pay my money to a company that really seems to "get the picture".....) I mean Wine is a noble effort and all, however I think Linux has progressed to the point where it should be "Shown in through the front door" rather than have to sneak in "through the back door".......


  • Timely topic...The Corel Linux words on the box turned OFF my office mate. He's just bought a new high end PC and is looking around for a Linux distro to install. He's hardware engineer, power NT usr, Unix in college, and according to him, "It's time." His impression was the words focused on Corel and not enough on what's in the box...too much on install tools and not enough on the list of software. He liked SuSe because it listed the key packages.
  • Its not flamebait but a pukka site (and amusing at that).

  • Don't be surprised. X windows, and therefore anything that runs on top of it, is a crock of shit. It's the slowest, worst, most bloated
    piece of crap you can imagine.

    Moreso than Windows? Pfft. X is actually well-designed IMO, (except for the fonts), and, with XFreee 4.0.x, it's fast as well.

    Not to mention I would gladly sacrifice 10% of the speed to gain 90% more stability.

  • How curious. I just ordered the Ventura demo CD from them. Their 1-800 service was beyond excellent. I also had an EMail exchange with someone in the training department, concerning a bug on one of their web pages. His response, too, was professional, polite and helpful. Finally, I've cruised their private newsgroups: their CS reps in those groups are also providing excellent service.

    What leads you to say that their customer service is poor?

    Their marketing... now *that* I'd agree is poor!

  • I've developed a stock market theory that will earn anyone a million dollars in a month.

    Purchase Corel stock on the even days.

    Sell it on the odd days.

    If you look at its performance charts, the damn stock bounces up and down more than a hooker on an over-inflated airbed.

    Every even day, it soars 10%.

    Every odd day, it drops 10%.

    So, basically, you're increasing your money at 10% a day, if you buy low and sell high. Doesn't take long to parlay your initial $500 investment into a million!

    Disclaimer: I have no money invested in Corel, I am not an investment analyst, and I haven't performed adequate research into this stock market theory. However, a quick eyeball of the charts seems to indicate that Corel stock just may be the ideal day-trader's pick. :-)

  • If they go down it will be because of the wordperfect kiss of death that kills every company that foolishly touches it.

    Its too bad they don't have inprise with them. Being in ottawa, you'd think they could lobby for some government sales, or even canadian subsidies for providing greater access to software to its citizens.
  • Corel's product evolved from two separate companies' products (Borland Quattro and Paradox, WordPerfect) and really never had the advantage of good integration during the critical days before Microsoft locked up the suite market.

    I have a couple things to say about this. First, WordPerfect, and the suites that contained it, held the market until MS Office 97 came out. MS Office 97 was the first to break conversions, force upgrades from 95, and force the OEM's to bundle it.

    MS Office 97 was also the first of the MS Offices where Excel finally was exceedingly better than Quattro Pro. Until Quattro Pro 9, very little had been done to Quattro Pro because it had been such a good product and no one wanted to break it. Unfortunately when Excel could boast drastic improvements over Quattro Pro, that placed a gaping hole in WP Office. The other products, WP, Presentations, Paradox, etc..., were roughly equal or only slightly better, but when the weakest link is the spreadsheet then people will turn elsewhere.

    Another major problem occured because of Novell. Anyone who was a WP fan and tried using Novell WP Suite 6 with NT knows exactly what that problem is. Novell saw NT 4.0 as the enemy, mainly because like Novell servers, NT 4.0 servers gain performance increases by placing most of their calls at rung zero. WP had the marketshare in the office products at that time, and Novell in their infinite wisdom believe that they could kill NT by not porting WP over. Novell was ignorant about the fact that MS Office 95 was a good product (one of Microsofts few), it was stable, as powerful as WP, and compatable. Even after they started to lose marketshare hand over fist to Office 95 they didn't budge. Eventually they sold WP Suite 6 to Corel, who spent quite a bit of time working on a port to NT.

    Corel isn't without its stupid mistakes though. A couple years ago when Java was first starting to take off they tried to port the entire WP suite over to Java. This was in the Java 1.0 stages, it didn't have printer support yet! Whoops.

    It was nothing about integration that killed WP Office. I have used WP sence WP 5 for DOS, and used Novell WP Office 6, and Corel WP Offices 7, and 8. I have seen it fall from its glory days, and I know why it has. I have even just recently ordered WP 2000 for Linux, to support the company and to get a good office product for my home machine.

    I give Corel until New Year's. Max.
    I agree that they probably won't survive, but I would give them until begining to mid 1st quarter. After which WP will probably just move over to another companies hands.

    Corel is placing their entire companies future into Linux. They are porting everything that they have, during which time they are giving need support to the WINE team, and PR. If or when they die it will be a sad day.
  • What make this guy think he can speak for all of us. Why would I consider Corel to be my least favorite distro? Most people don't don't install and uninstall every linux distro there is, then choose which is their favorite and which is their least.
  • Why did this get moderated from Informative to Flamebait? Granted, it does contain hyperbole, and the author does admit he's ranting at bit, but the post does suggest alternatives; it's not just an anti-X blast. Instead of moderating it down, why not post a rebuttal?


  • Why is Corel a least favorite? Actual plan to make money? Ease of use?

    Last time I checked Corel's CEOs haven't been sleeping in the Microsoft hotel (although, I was hearing rumors their cleaning ladies have)...

  • The nearest that QDOS gets to power commands.....

    As a fan of "rm -rf *", "fdisk -mbr" is the best that QDOS gets to providing me with dangerous power.

  • How true. Maybe if more Open Source, quality applications were available for Windows this attitude would change.
  • Actually, Pentium optimization only helps for the specific CPU called an Intel Pentium. P2, P3, AMD anything, or whatnot, you may as well not bother. It even slows things down for some of the more modern chips.
  • I have them in my FC Portfolio...
  • They have never been much good at Customer Service. They have been stretching themselves too thin - and it shows in their financial status... I too hope that they can pull the company out of the slow spiral it was in...
  • by stab ( 26928 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @01:45AM (#934943) Homepage
    I've never ever used their Linux distro, but the one huge point in their favour is the large amount of work they have put into the WINE [] project, which gives them a large, fat plus in my book.

    They recently merged their CVS trees with the wine developers as well, and credit them in all of their Linux ports, which is extremely cool...

    Due to tight project schedules, the Corel WINE team has been working pretty much in isolation for the last few months. With the graphics release behind us, we're looking forward to working more closely with the WINE community. We're really excited about some of the recent WINE developments (like address space separation) and want to help WINE move towards a 1.0 release. We will soon be actively working on merging our WINE changes back to the WineHQ public WINE source tree. We also hope to contribute where we can towards the 1.0 WINE release.
    Again our thanks go to all of the WINE developers. The credits page for our applications list all of the WINE authors. Without WINE we would not have been able to port these applications to Linux in such a short period of time. It's also a testament to the maturity of WINE (and Linux) that these highly complex applications run with full functionality and good performance.

  • by linuxci ( 3530 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @01:34AM (#934944)
    Despite the fact that they were going down anyway many people will still see this as evidence the open source business model doesn't work.

    They have also done a lot of good work on wine so I definitely hope that they'll survive and ultimately do well, however I've heard a lot of people saying that it's they're management that are bringing them down so if that's the case there may be no hope for them, and if it is the case we have to make sure people understand it wasn't because they were promoting free software.

    Given good management and a good product it's definitely possible to make money from free software it's just in other areas than selling the software, but most of you know that anyway.
  • If they do fall over what should they do with their technology? Sell it off or give to the public as type of open source donation just to spite Micro$haft.
  • by Salsaman ( 141471 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @01:40AM (#934946) Homepage
    I would think that right now, Corel needs all the help it could get in rebuilding its battered image. One way I could see this being done would be to completely open source WordPerfect, a la Mozilla.

    Think about it, Corel would get a lot of kudos from the open source community, they could quickly have the best word processor for Linux and other (non MS) platforms and then they could start edging back in to the Windows market.

  • by acarey ( 34175 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @01:50AM (#934947)
    Despite the fact that they were going down anyway many people will still see this as evidence the open source business model doesn't work.

    But Corel doesn't really use an open source business model, do they? In fact, I'm not sure what you'd call their business model. It's neither 100% commercial (a la Microsoft or IBM), nor is it open source (their stuff tends to be free as in beer, not speech). It's not one nor the other (although to be fair, since [this is just my opinion, not flame-bait] it's not possible to make money off open source, they can't really do that).

    And that, in a nutshell, sums up Corel: neither one nor the other. Corel is a confused company that seems to lack any fundamental vision, and that's why it's tanking. I hate to seem cynical, but Corel's dance with Linux is a last-ditch effort to seem relevant in a software industry in which they are no longer relevant.
  • by Anonymous Coward which of the Big Companies will buy Corel if their financial woes continue. IBM? HP? Compaq? MS? I've felt for a long time that that was how the BC's would get into the distro business--not by creating a distro from scratch, but by buying one of the Linux co.'s. Corel seems set to help accelerate that process.
  • Corel started going downhill soon after they bought Wordperfect from Novell (who really messed it up). When they branched out into Linux/Open Source, they actually improved their status. Their only problem I think is that they are doing to much. They need to concentrate on a couple things because they certainly can't afford to keep going the way they are. If they smarten up, they can be a player again. Sell off (or even better, open up WordPerfect) and concentrate on the money makers like Corel Draw and their Linux business.
  • this doesn't really add much to what you say, but it's my experience as someone who works with graphics software for web, so..

    their recent release of photopaint for linux is actually quite a fine piece of work. i've spent a lot of time with photoshop and the gimp, both of which i'm very fond of. but photopaint under linux actually is a VERY fine piece of work. granted it wont bring them revenue, as it's a free download. but it does show that they're on the path to bringing out some very quality products for linux.

    photopaint's interface is very intuitive (more so than either gimp or photoshop, and that's saying something seeing as i'm at home in both). which shows that they know how to make an end user product, and make it user friendly. i definately respect the interface designers at corel, and thus hope that they do survive.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward Claims He Has A Satisfying And Active Sex Life.

    Not everything you read is true. :)

  • I have used their distros (2.3, 2.4), and I must say I like them a lot. They're definitely aimed at the novice Linux user (like me): Corel is definitely not Slackware. Still, they include most-if-not-all the apps you'd expect, and have some great Novell IPX support. If Novell would hurry up and release Client for Linux, and either WordPerfect or StarOffice was just a little better with MSOffice conversions, I'd be looking at Corel for desktop replacements within the company. Rejoice, brothers and sisters: the end of Windows is nigh! ;)
  • by shagster ( 2319 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @03:37AM (#934953) Homepage
    I think that Corel's biggest problem is itself. For as long as I can remember, the company has had some sort of finicial problem, doom seems to always be around this company. Although it does somehow manage to keep going. I'm not sure how though.
    One only has to look at the Netwinder to realize that his company has some serious marketing issues. The Netwinder was a good product at a reasonable price (at least when they first came out) but they never gave it the push that it need in the market area, and it has now taken a backseat just about everything else.
    Now that Corel has taken such an interest in the Open Source area, people are now going to attempt to plan open source on their troubles? Corel had troubles BEFORE taking on open source, I recall articles with themes of "Corel last ditch hope","Corel embracing Linux in hopes of changing Market Share", etc.
    Corel has and always has had, more problems then what the surface shows, I only hope the correct things before open source is given the blame. Other than that, I'll just keep running WP6.1 for dos in dosemu :)
  • Corel's flagship product used to be CorelDraw from day one, and with reason because it kicked every other app's ass. But now with their focus set on Linux, they betrayed their own corporate image.

    What kind of business sets aside a long-standing successful product line in favor of an operating system that's still in its infancy and not at all ready to enslave the masses ? The answer is simple : a Michael Cowpland business. He's the only CEO crazy enough to gamble with such high stakes. Is he an idiot for doing so ? Maybe at first glance, but if you take a peek into his history you'll find out how this kind of radical decision making is what led him to staggering success time and time again. He's a corporate gambler; he wins some, he loses some, but he definitely knows how to play the game.

    I'm no business strategist or whatever they call those spin doctors these days, but Corel without Cowpland is absolute nonsense. We should be looking up to him for his devotion and bravery. He's not your run-of-the-mill suit-sucking idiot like many of you seem to think.
  • by Brigadier ( 12956 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @03:44AM (#934955)

    I work for major (fairly) graphics company which makes a range of large format outputting devices. being in tech support I come in contact with our customers none stop and a surprising amount have endoursed Corel. though traditionally free hand, quarc, illustrator and photoshop have been concidered the tools of professionals, Corel since Corel Draw 7 has made a very usable and productive graphics sweet for signifiantly less that Adobe. you figure Corel Draw suite (draw and photopaint) costs about $300+ where Adobe illustrator Alone is over $400, then you need illustrator for vector art another $400. In up and coming graphics houses this is a cost effective solution. Not to mention there success with importing varied formats successfully. the graphics market uses a combination of raster/vector art, for digital printing, and also vector art for dimensional work, suprisingly cad type work. This I think gives them a big push. If they contine to improve the prduct, but not raise prices they have hope. Regarding the Word perfect suite. as stated in another post they have to overcome MS Office in the MS world and star office (free non commercial) in the Linux world. The company is a risk taking company which I think is a big plus. with the big push for linux desktop machines they have managed to position themselves right in the middle, which though risky is a nice place to be if linux does decide to boom.
  • RCORE.html
    May be of interest. Says Corel's outlook has actually improved since it's forray into the open source scene.
  • by sdery ( 142495 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @03:46AM (#934957) Homepage
    I think a lot of people in the Ottawa area look down on the company because of the management. Let's not forget the whole Netwinder issue. Corel built these things, and then sold them to Rebel. Those things just kick ass! Corel tried to fit in the Windows industry, but that just wasn't happening since everyone's pretty much accustomed to Word, and the MS Office products. Now in a scramble to stay a float on the market, they've shifted their goals towards Linux. But we have to remember that most people (although it's increasing) do not use Linux. So we've got a company producing a non-major distribution (before RedHat and Mandrake) for a non-major OS. Then there is the way they actually hire. They are big into outsourcing and external contractors, "hire them and fire them". They seem to think that this saves money. Everyone I've talked to do not enjoy working at Corel for the most part. And then there's his wife. Woooohoooooo. There's just another story all together :) But, I've seem them pull the most amazing crap out of their back pockets, so this might not be the end. I think they're just a little lost in what the company should be doing. They're having problems finding their "niche" in the market. If they don't find it soon though, I still think there will be enough captial out there from some stupid company to finance another one of their endeavours.
  • by DeICQLady ( 150809 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @03:54AM (#934958) Homepage Journal
    I've seen replies tout that in order for a company to get into "our" good graces, they will have to run to open source... in my opinion, that is total bullshit. Yes, it has been proven that an "open-source-centric" business model can work. The company that will survive however is the company that can adapt for example:

    IBM scrambled to get Windows on their Netfinity servers, for those companies who insist they cant use anything else... but they are investigating, behind the scenes how to have these same servers compatible with other OSes, therefore whenever Microsoft cannot provide that foothold into the market, they get dropped like a hot sack of potatoes (now whether or not Microsoft will get to this point is another discussion).

    Apple, in all its wisdom, realized that if they want to give everyone access to that one of a kind user experience they will have to make their major product (the MacOS) more general purpose, so they made the kernal (which has got a lot of people excited) open source, to bring in a fresh perspective. Of course, Steve would run Apple in the ground if Aqua were also totally so!

    One thing we have to give Microsoft credit for, is when they realized they were behind, that something explosive was about to hit the scene that they didn't have, they ran to ensure that they would provide it first, regardless of whether or not they would have gotten to that point as soon. They adapted, and the companies that couldn't adapt with them ("ahem! Assume the kiss ass position!") got separated like chaff in the wind and suffered greatly.

    Corel still has a few ropes to learn about who and what they want to please as well as how quickly to adapt. Hopefully they are on the right path. There are things I have like about WP that I wouldn't want to go away, but to be improved, it will be interesting if they listen.

    Nuff Respec'

    7D3 CPE
  • The Register today reported that Larry asked Ray Lane to leave. Big mistake.

    Mike, I think you can save Corel by giving Mr. Lane the keys to the store and then going on a long vacation.

  • As some others have noted, Corel's problem can be summed up in two words: Michael Cowpland.

    Over the course of some 15 years he's taken a company with a suite of good products (the Corel Draw suite) against which Microsoft has never even TRIED to field real competition and run it into the ground in a Quixotic quest to compete against Microsoft in areas where Microsoft had already attained uncontested dominance.

    Along the way he has repeatedly screwed investors by pumping Corel's stock by jumping on every flavor-of-the-day technology conceivable and then failing to deliver. He blows millions on pie-in-the-sky R&D projects just to get at Microsoft, the stock sky-rockets on hype, then hits the basement when said buzz-word fails to make the PC, OS, Microsoft, etc irrelevant within 3 weeks. Remember WordPerfect Office for Java?

    Ironically, Corel Linux seems to be the only one of these projects that has succeeded at all (because the open source community did most of the work) and, again, Corel has missed the boat by targeting the area in which Linux is LEAST likely to succeed in the near term, the desktop.

    My only regret is that I didn't short their stock when it was at $40.

  • Unfortunately it would be near impossible to release wordperfect as true OpenSource without
    severely crippling the initial release.

    WordPerfect contains ALOT of other peoples
    code. Code that Corel does not OWN. This will
    make it infinately difficult to Open Source.

    I think it is a great idea, and would help them
    IF the could pull it off.
  • My $.02. It seems Corel's getting squeezed by some bad timing. The Windows market has squeezed them out and the Linux market isn't big enough yet. If they had a ton of cash around, that might not be a problem. But they're a big company with weak finances. If they can keep it together for another year or two, they should do great. The market they seem to be after is Linux apps, an excellent choice, but a very small market for the time being. That'll change, but it may be changing slower than Corel had hoped.
  • Why do you assume they'd be using GPL as their license? There -are- other licenses out there, y'know :) --S

    heh, sorry, brain fart. I was thinking of Corel Linux, not WordPerfect. Opening WordPerfect under a customized license would be fine. Well, I think it'd be fine; lots of people qould undoubtedly complain (see rants about Darwin and other mostly-free projects).


  • It'd be realyl great if Corel would step up and make an Office Suite for Linux. It really would. They could make CorelDraw for Linux, then they could make all sorts of nice things. But the problem is that they'd still not make any money. How many of you have purchased Corel Suite 2000? How many have purchased any software for linux? Opensource/Freesoftwaring the Corel software would only be worse for them. How does company like Corel make $$$ with an OpenSource strategy. True, the market is wide open for *good* linux apps. They're desparately needed, but no one that uses linux wants to *buy* apps. If I had to buy it, then I couldn't just type "apt-get install appname" I'd have to go to the store, come home, open the box, put the cd in the drive, etc. The point is, until the linux users of the world come to grips with paying for software, then not Corel nor anyone else will make good software for it. That is unles -- they can make it OpenSourced and free to use for private use, but businesses have to buy it. But that's a whole different arguement of how to enforece, etc.
  • I agree with you that their marketing is not ag good as it could be, but it's definitely not as bad as you say. Corel used to have ugly ads and packaging, that's for sure.....but their recent designs (the boxes for WordPerfect Office 2000 and Corel Draw 9) are very nice-looking. That's not to say that one of the things that Corel could really use is a good ad agency....they've always done that internally and they've never been great at it.
  • WordPerfect 8 is free, but they're selling WordPerfect Office 2000 for Linux, which gives you the whole package, not just the word processor. Same with's just basically a teaser for the commercial Draw 9 package that will be out soon.
  • Just to set your mind at ease....Draw (as well as all the other ported Corel apps) use they run just fine.
  • by linuxci ( 3530 )
    Very, very true. But I can imagine many people saying that their embracing of open source (wine and Linux) was part of their downfall.

    We know that's rubbish, but many people will believe that (the same people who buy commercial prepacked software as they want "someone to sue")

  • The Corel saga is actually one to watch. The result of the mngts. refocusing on basics might allow for decent cash flow generation (yes, ugly words my children - but necessary words). Open source systems are new and unproven and banking on ancillary product to generate cash flow is a dangerous business (how long until the ancill. stuff becomes the focus)? Does that inhibit creativity? The business model for open source providers is evolving - as Corel morfs into the next shape - it might be a good look at the future. Or, it might just die.
  • by Tet ( 2721 )
    Due to tight project schedules, the Corel WINE team has been working pretty much in isolation for the last few months. With the graphics release behind us

    What graphics release? Yes, Photo-Paint is now supposedly complete, and is available for download, but I'm still waiting for CorelDRAW 9. Beta 2 is OK, and mostly usable, but it's far from a finished, released product.

  • What are you talking about? Are you even being serious or just a troll. I was at the UKUUG Linux 2000 conference this weekend that had many debian people there and not one word of a demise was mentioned.

    So basically, this looks like another troll but I thought I'd point that out just in case anyone believed him.
  • Virtually every market Corel plays in is a market dominated by another company, relegating them to a poor number 2. Their platform strategy has also been very uneven.

    For instance:
    Corel WordPerfect Office: on Windows it competes with Microsoft Office. Unlike MS Office, Corel's product evolved from two separate companies' products (Borland Quattro and Paradox, WordPerfect) and really never had the advantage of good integration during the critical days before Microsoft locked up the suite market. Not to mention that they bought the WP Office product from Novell who had failed with it, and WordPerfect before that.

    CorelDraw: It's probably their best stand-alone product, and the software they made their reputation with. But it's really tough nowadays to compete with Adobe and Macromedia (Illustrator and Freehand), not to mention that Corel's Mac support has been lacking (they alternate between neglect and religion), and the draw market is one where cross-platform compatibiliy and parity have always been critical.

    Corel PhotoPaint: See CorelDraw. But it's Photoshop that croaks them there.

    Corel Ventura Publisher: Another formerly market-leading product that waited too long to improve, got croaked, and then bought by Corel.

    On Windows, Corel had a few good products, but got hurt by some QA issues (buggy releases of WordPerfect and CorelDraw in the past), and they specialize in marketing products that are all past their peaks. They killed off the cross-platform support of WordPerfect (one of WordPerfect's competitive strengths was that it ran on virtually every platform, now it runs on Windows and Linux - the Mac version and all the other platform versions are dead). They pinned all their hopes on a rapid transition to Linux, which has yet to happen. And they'll probably run out of cash before it happens.

    Something else that's an issue in the death of a company is perception. People now see Corel as doomed - and their limited cash is forcing them out of events like PC Expo and MacWorld where they could at least try to make themselves look viable. Not to mention that their advertising has dried up, making it worse. I just hope somebody with a clue winds up with these products after Corel hits the FC hall of infamy. The only thing that might turn it around at this point is if Cowpland steps down and puts somebody in with tons of credibility in the industry. Novell got a few very good years with Eric Schmidt (though they're slipping back some now that Win2K is out of vapor), and Jobs saved Apple. I'm not sure who could bail out Corel, but it's sure not Cowpland and they're running out of time fast.

    I give Corel until New Year's. Max.

    - -Josh Turiel
  • by weloytty ( 53582 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @02:07AM (#934973)
    "Think about it, Corel would get a lot of kudos from the open source community, they could quickly have the best word processor for Linux and other (non MS) platforms and then they could start edging back in to the Windows market.

    Corel's problem isnt that the linux community doenst like them, their problem is that they arent selling enough software/services/etc to pay the bills.

  • It took me something like two months to get my WordPerfect rebate. Bought it in March, got the rebate in May. About the same amount of time it took me to get the rebate on my Voodoo video card, actually. Usually rebates aren't handled directly by the company whose product you're buying, though, so I don't think we can blame Corel for this one. IIRC, the check I got was from someplace in Arizona.
  • by streetlawyer ( 169828 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @02:13AM (#934975) Homepage
    I would think that right now, Corel needs all the help it could get in rebuilding its battered image. One way I could see this being done would be to completely open source WordPerfect, a la Mozilla.

    "A la Mozilla" hmmmm.... that great open source success story

    Think about it, Corel would get a lot of kudos

    You can't meet creditors' demands with "kudos". Creditors want cash, now. Even if this were a great long-term move, the long term doesn't matter much if you're dead in the short term. Giving up a source of cashflow could even be criminally negligent, given a bad court day.

    from the open source community,

    Who are notoriously bad customers. They want free software, free MP3z, free everything, and half of the bastards even use junkbuster to make sure that not one single penny of revenue will be squeezed out of them.

    they could quickly have the best word processor for Linux

    Well, I didn't want to mention Mozilla, but you brought it up .... despite what Eric Raymond says, development of a new word processor is neither necessarily fast nor necessarily "the best". What they'd get would be YA open source project, full of people with no experience in word processors busily reinventing the wheel.

    and other (non MS) platforms and then they could start edging back in to the Windows market.

    In the meantime, paying the wages with magic beans, or perhaps with wooden nickels? And the whole point of MS Office is that you can't "edge" into the market. People want compatibility between applications, and that means all or nothing.

    The Open Source panacea is more like Laetrile than penicillin, I fear.

  • However, initial experience has been somewhat disappointing. It's been much slower than Windows 95 (which really surprises me)

    Don't be surprised. X windows, and therefore anything that runs on top of it, is a crock of shit. It's the slowest, worst, most bloated piece of crap you can imagine.

    As for Star Office, don't even think about it. It too is a slow, tedious bloated thing with a deeply unintuitive UI.

    KOffice still looks like the best bet for *nix WP software since it has few enough features and innovations that it might have a comprehensible UI and a decent implementation. And it uses the 'frames' approach to layout, which is probably good.

    That's enough ranting. I use KDE on Solaris all the time at work and it's great, but it is still NOT a home/office setup. I can think of nothing worse than handling office tasks on a *nix platform.

  • for his perseverance. Unlike many CEO's who just jump ship when whe ship starts taking in water, Cowpland holds holds his end, and won't let go until
    a) the boat sinks
    b) he dies

    I find this admirable. They've really been struggling, but if they can pierce the Linux market, they might finally get a major break!
  • Corel has taken a big chance on Linux, and so far they've spent a lot of time and money without earning anything back. WordPerfect and Photo Paint are excellent, but are being given away free. WINE isn't a commercial product. Corel Linux is still very new and is being piffed by the Linux die-hards as "Linux for weenies." It will come around, but it will take time.

    Remember, Corel is a decent sized company with bills to pay. It isn't the same as a freebie consulting service that eventually earned a reputation and the ability to charge money. The latter is more typical of Linux-oriented businesses.
  • ...they release a fast, stable, and reasonably bug-free Linux version of Corel Draw.

    Once that happens, the cash cow has arrived.

    But if it's clunky, flaky, bloated, and slow, then we're in for another round of "We're not dead yet!"

    Note for those who view Corel's involvement with WINE as evidence of a high probablility of "bloated and slow" - there are two ways to use WINE: The first is "not an emulator mode", where a WINE process runs a native Windows binary and handles all the OS calls - this is more likely than not to be sub-optimal. The second is to compile Windows source code against libwine, which is a native-Linux shared object that provides the Windows API.

    The first method is a massive (if nifty) hack, and I'd never expect to see any real production application depending on it. The second method is more like building a toolkit app, like a Motif of GTK app - only in this case, the toolkit is the Windows API. If Corel is building Corel Draw for Linux based on the libwine method, the results are likely to be pretty good.

    Even better would be a native GTK version of Corel Draw, but a libwine version is completely acceptable, assuming acceptable libwine performance. Running Draw under WINE "emulation" though, is not acceptable, at least not to me.

    Corel, are you listening?

  • Couldn't they offer free downloads of source, but charge your credit card for a precompiled binary? That would keep most people paying, while still allowing developers to use it for free.

    I guess if source is available, someone else could offer a compiled binary for free, but corporations don't like to buy things from other than the "official" source, which to them means the official brand.

  • There does seem to be a fair conflict of interests between Open-Source and Shareholders.

    Personally I think Corel and Inprise would make a very good team although i know nothing of the financial situation.
  • by stab ( 26928 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @02:16AM (#934982) Homepage
    Wait for our release of OpenFX [] :-) More details soon ...

  • by Transition Cat ( 115549 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @02:19AM (#934983)
    Ontopic: Corel better not go under because I still haven't gotten my rebate checks. Barely ontopic: I finally got around to trying Linux after being sick and tired of Windows crashing every damn day; Corel Linux was the distribution I went with (because it'll be free if I ever get my rebate checks). Well, it wouldn't detect my serial mouse (no ps/2) on my desktop and the installation usually failed (stalled, or had display problems at best). It all looked fixable if only I knew command line stuff. More details here [].

    It installed pretty much without a hitch on my Compaq Armada 1590DMT Pentium 166MMX 48megs laptop. However, initial experience has been somewhat disappointing. It's been much slower than Windows 95 (which really surprises me) and Word Perfect looks like MSWord97's bitch. Unless I got a stripped down version, WP sucks (lack of fonts, features, options). Hopefully, Star Office will be an improvement. Also, little things, like not being able to turn off "tapping" for the touchpad make this user's experience less satisfying.

    It looks like I'm going to (reluctantly) continue using Windows as my primary OS. I HATE Windows, but when it isn't crashing, or slow, it does what I need my computer to do. Linux (Corel Linux, anyway), just doesn't seem quite ready. For someone who does no programming, isn't running a server, and doesn't need a multi-user environment, Linux feels "not quite ready for prime-time." I fully intend to learn more about Linux - try other distributions (recommendations?), watch it grow, but for now, I'm stuck using Windows. Damn.


  • But targeting such a small market such as the consumer Linux market would net them almost nil profits. Most Linux users have enough knowledge to download/compile/install whatever Word Processor (suite?) they want, so I doubt many Linux users would spring for WP if it was open-source and downloadable for free.

    Kudos from the OSS community can't be cashed at the bank. Corel needs a stable group of corporate clientele who are willing to regularly pay for upgrades, bug-fixes, enhancements, features, etc. Despite what many people think, OSS isn't the holy grail of software fixes...

  • by Sir_Winston ( 107378 ) on Friday July 14, 2000 @02:24AM (#934985)
    I'm constantly amazed at the number of posters on /. whose answer to everything is open sourcing something. I have nothing but respect for both open source and Free Software, but realism dictates that open sourcing one of the few applications that Corel actually manages to sell decent volume of, "wouldn't be prudent at this juncture."

    The problem is, Corel isn't a Linux company. Tack on a "yet" to that last sentence if you believe, as many do, that Corel will be making Linux a topmost priority. Corel is a Windows applications company, and in the Windows world, the idea of open source or Free Software hasn't taken hold yet. Few in the Windows world, for instance, would pay for WordPerfect Office Suite if they could download it for free, while in the Linux world there are many people who would purchase their favorite distro in a boxed set even after they've downloaded it. Windows users are too used to having to pay ungodly high prices for every piece of software they own, to give much thought on how to compensate a company which has just given them something free. Software is still very much a commodity, a good to be purchased, to a typical Windows user--if you don't make him either go to the store and buy it, or enter a credit card # for a paid download, but instead let him freely download something, you're not going to get any money even if he uses it every day.

    As for businesses, they wouldn't pay for a WordPerfect Office Suite which they could get for free, either. Unlike Linux companies as service companies, Corel wouldn't have any services to offer--office applications are pretty damned straightforward; there's little configuration to be done, and even a clueless newbie can figure out a word processing proggie in record time. In other words, Corel would have no source of revenue from WordPerfect Office, whereas now they have a small-compared-to-MS Office but still very tangible cashflow from it.

    Netscape/Mozilla was another matter, entirely--there was essentially little choice but to open source the browser, since Microsoft was now giving one away for free and very, very few people were buying Netscape any more. Therefore it made economic sense to give away what you couldn't sell, anyway.

    While it would be nice if Corel would open source WordPerfect, and it would benefit both the Linux community and all users in general (MS Office sales would start taking a huge dent, yay!), it wouldn't be in Corel's best interest to do it, and so there's zero chance of it happening unless Corel gets bought out by a *real* Linux company.

    On a side note, I applaud Corel for their attempts to make a Linux distro easy enough for a Windows user to transition to, but they made things damned complicated in order to do it. I installed Corel Linux 1.0, and when I couldn't even get X to load in standard SVGA mode, I decided to just uninstall it. That worked, but left their customized version of LILO in the boot sector, the fancy graphical menu version Corel made, and it hung my machine when it realized that Linux was no longer there. I couldn't boot the damned thing at all, and no keystrokes in the world could bypass the thing. Finally I had to install Mandrake 6.1, whose own normal copy of LILO bypassed Corel's monstrosity, and then my system could boot again. Corel, be careful until you have more Linux experience...

"What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying." -- Nikita Khrushchev