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Corel

Corel May Have A Buyer For Its Linux Division 145

SimJockey writes: "Looks like Corel is getting out of the Linux distro business." According to an anonymous source, says the article, "a newly formed company called Xandros will pay $2 million for the Linux unit, a division that comprised about 14 percent of Corel's total business as of January 2001." The Corel distro did some things well, so good things may come out of this sale.
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Corel May Have A Buyer For Its Linux Division

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  • Oops... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Mike Schiraldi ( 18296 ) on Tuesday August 28, 2001 @03:05PM (#2226798) Homepage Journal
    When i first saw the headline, i thought it said, "Corel May Have A Buyer For Its Linux Distribution" and said to myself, "Woah! They might actually sell their first copy!"
  • Coincidence, or conspiracy?


    It'd be interesting, to say the least, if the maker of red carpet, evolution, *and* distro of a gnome desktop would get it's own linux distro.

  • When they can download it for free.
    • When they can download it for free.

      You kidding right?
  • Interesting to see a linux division be purchased. To my knowledge Corel Linux was just a modified caldera distribution... of course mandrake used to be just a modified redhat distribution.

    What assests is this company really purchasing? Is there a service/support component to corels linux structuring?

    -Marvin
    • No, it's a heavily modified Debian distrib. Very "dumbed-down", almost to the point of useless. I guess they were trying to compete with Windows. The GUI install was a custom job, so that's part of what they're selling.
      • >>The GUI install was a custom job

        ah, that's it? well it explains a little about the price, but one wonders why you would pay for a GUI installer when LIZARD is under the GPL.
      • Just a lot easier to configure. Rt-click on the desktop and you can configure everything from desktop colors to Samba settings. It's all in once place. I've recently installed Redhat 7.1 on a new computer I picked up, and I still can't get Apache / Samba working right. With Corel it was all up and running within 15 minutes of partitioning the hard disk.

        You could still do all the command line stuff if you wanted to.
      • At my old job, I was the resident Linux geek.
        One day, a coworker brought in a copy of Corel that had come in the back of Linux Magazine. Knowing absolutely nothing about Linux, he was able to install it on a spare machine and have it view all of the machines on his Windows network.
        Corel had a great 'Network Neighborhood' thing in KDE that actually worked, right from the start
        He told me that the install consisted of clicking 'OK' 5 times.
        One more Linux user that we probably wouldn't have if he'd gotten a copy of Slackware with his magazine. *That* is the value that Corel adds.

        Cheers,
        Jim in Tokyo
        • As a slack user I agree with you 100%.
          People who use slack do expect your average newbie to use slack unless they realy, realy want to know how linux works.
          However, in timem he will be ours. Oh yes he will be ours.
          • GUI's are like diapers, everyone grows out of them

            I love to click my way around stuff - It's the primary reason I'm stuck using windoze and not linux. Linux==trip to the command line, and to me it's an unneeded hassle. I'm technically literate-but like that vast majority of the population gave up DOS when windows came along. Linux is too much like a return to DOS.
    • Caldera = Mandrake = hacked & whacked Red Hat.

      Corel = hacked & whacked Debian w/a broken installer.

      I've always had great luck with Caldera & Mandrake. Iffy luck with Red Hat. Corel's distro I got free at a Corel promotion, but their installer would not start on my laptop, my desktop, or my roommate's notebook. So much for Corel Linux. Debian always works great but is such a pain to install in any custom way that you have to really want punishment to live through it, and it's development/stability-testing cycle is so long you're always running terribly safe, but 2-year-old, software.

      I really liked Caldera OpenLinux for a long time (through 2.4) but have recently become so tired of always seeing Red Hat and no other packages for every last piece of software that I finally just went Red Hat 7.1 and have been reasonably satisfied.

      Long-winded ramble. You're welcome...
  • I remember a presentation done at the Ottawa Linux Symposium [linuxsymposium.org] by a Xandros guy on the KDE multimedia architecture. The guy mentionned then that Xandros would be making a splash in the news in "a few months" about a new distribution. Guess this is it.

    Hopefully a startup might be able to manage the distribution better than Corel has, with tighter focus and better communication with the community. The downside is that I will miss Corel's excellent presentations at OLS.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    About $2 million I'd say.
  • Corel's Distro (Score:3, Informative)

    by Whyte Wolf ( 149388 ) on Tuesday August 28, 2001 @03:10PM (#2226827) Homepage
    I talked to some developers with Corel a couple of years ago when they were just getting into the Linux market (it was at a job fair when I was looking for work) and they seemed pretty keen on how they were going to bring a fully integrated GUI to the Linux desktop (integrated as in from install through to user's desktop--like Windows does).

    I liked the idea, and was especially happy to hear that it was a Canadian company. That said, I always thought Copland was a little flakey, and as it turned out his 'Copland Research Labs' got rid of him--and unfortunatly it seems their Linux distro. What can you expect when MS invests in you though?

    I just wonder if all of Corel's GUI work was proprietary, or if it might be released Open Source with the distro's move?

    • I have a copy of 1.2 that was handed to my upon entering the a Rebel.com building, it's sitting on the Corel cube that Tux is holding, also from a trip to the same Rebel.com building.

      The installation is great, its as easy if not easier then a windows install, sure not great if you want to set more then a few options during install, but if it's your first time installing an OS, you should be fine.
    • I talked to some developers with Corel a couple of years ago when they were just getting into the Linux market (it was at a job fair when I was looking for work) and they seemed pretty keen on how they were going to bring a fully integrated GUI to the Linux desktop (integrated as in from install through to user's desktop--like Windows does).

      Lots of people really slammed Corel's distro but I thought it was a _very_ good first stab at a distro for newbs. With some tweaking and updating Corel Linux could be a very big competitor with Mandrake. Before you fall out of your seat laughing let's not forget that Linux had never seen a slicker install or a friendly set of workstation management tools than what Corel sported at the time. Many distros still don't have the ease of use that Corel has (the ones that want those kinds of tools anyhow). Granted the distro was inflexible and kept you firewalled off from the CLI but hopefully these are short comings that Xandros will address.

      I liked the idea, and was especially happy to hear that it was a Canadian company. That said, I always thought Copland was a little flakey, and as it turned out his 'Copland Research Labs' got rid of him--and unfortunatly it seems their Linux distro. What can you expect when MS invests in you though?

      I'm really glad that Corel's Distro is now safely out of Cowpland's. Cowpland is just a technology hound (who chases the latest tech flavor o' the month) and would have either dropped the Corel Linux all together or ruined it somehow. Getting rid of Cowpland was the best business decision Corel has made in some time.

      I just wonder if all of Corel's GUI work was proprietary, or if it might be released Open Source with the distro's move?

      Yes, Corel's GUI work was proprietary and that's the beauty of this sale. Now all of Corel's Linux work could possibly be GPLed by Xandros if they so choose (something that would never have happened with Corel). This sale could potentially be a huge windfall of code for Debian (and any other distro for that matter).

      • Yes, Corel's GUI work was proprietary ...


        Which GUI you are referring to? The installer? Because the rest was based on KDE 1.x as far as I can remember (I had COREL 1.0 for a while ). So it should not be proprietary, unless they violated the GPL.

    • I wonder also about the Word Perfect for Linux product. Its not available at the Corel site any more. Presumably people chose StarOffice or Abiword over WP, but I thought it was nice that a name brand productivity package was available for the platform.
      I also wonder about Corel's deal with the devil to port the .NET framework to Linux. Will that entanglement go with the buyer.
      Hmmmm... Corel may not be out of the Linux business just yet.
    • >I always thought Copland was a little flakey

      His timing was often bad. His ideas were great, the execution was often poor.

      He had a Java version of Draw 3 years ago... now they're going to do it all over again with .NET.

      Burney is the idiot. He could have partnered with an OEM like Dell/Compaq to create an office-oriented distribution with one-stop service; competing with MS using the same rules MS plays with.

      Burney did his infamous "matchbox assessment" (that's CEO speak for "I don't like the idea, let's kill it quickly") of Linux, and Corel's Linux momentum and future died.

      This news merely a prolonged post mortem.

  • It is estimated by PC Data that Corel's Linux division sells about 25 percent of all Linux operating systems for desktop computers, second only to Red Hat .


    REALLY???
    • I see a lot of Corel boxes on retail shelves. There always seems to be Red Hat and a second distro, usually either Mandrake or Corel, but I sometimes see SuSE. I wonder how they get those numbers, tho, if that's by retail. Also, I've never heard of PC Data - could that be a Canadian research firm?
    • > It is estimated by PC Data that Corel's Linux division sells about 25 percent of all Linux operating systems for desktop computers, second only to Red Hat .

      Hmmm, that 25% looks awfully similar to the 2.5% listed in post # http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=21024&cid=2226 944

      Methinks someone just forgot the decimal point there.
  • I remember a VERY similar story on /. a few months back. I would post a link, but the /. search tool is down again. (no shock to me)
  • "Linux, created 10 years ago this month by Finnish computer programming student Linus Torvalds, has become a popular software system used to run Web sites and is seen as a rival to Microsoft Windows, the dominant software used in personal computers."

    Is it just me, or is it getting more and more annoying having to read this line in every single article ever written about Linux? I'm surprised they didn't subsequently define 'computer'.
    • I know - I thought the same thing the other day when I read "Linux, the upstart operating system..." Upstart? Ten years old and it's an upstart?

    • Its not just you. Journalists need simplistic button holes for complex subjects or their brains explode.

      They should also use this one:

      "Dos, a copyright violating copy of CP/M that was bought for a song 23 years ago this month by Harvard drop out Bill Games, still runs the majority of computers across the world, as it crashes constantly and costs the world billions in lost productivity every year, it is little known why it is the dominant software used on personal computers."
  • Mandrake is arguably the best desktop distribution around, but still has a lot of shortcomings. It's simply sloppy and unpolished in some areas, and their QA process seems rushed.

    It's good to finally see some competition in the Linux KDE-based desktop-focused distro market.
  • seems a bit ridiculous to me. it would seem to me that money would go to better use creating a better distribution. I guess the marketing crew decided they could market the fact that it was once owned by Corel. yeah right, no one took Corel's distro seriously since the first release.

    one wonders exactly what Corel has in the Linux dept that would be worth 2M....

    I would have just bought a CD from cheapbytes and forked...
  • ms involved (Score:1, Redundant)

    by jeffy124 ( 453342 )
    I recall reading somewhere that MS has somehting to do with this. They wanted to partner with Corel on some project, but stipulated they would refuse unless something was done about the Corel Linux distro. Not the first time MS has steered someone away from a product, they frequently refuse partnerships with an entity that also builds a product that significantly competes with one of theirs. (keyword in that last sentence: significantly)
    • Would you partner with a company that had conflicts of interest? Probably not. If Corel decided to drop Linux to make the MS partnership happen, thats their perogotive. There is nothing to say that they were forced or bullied into it.

      Its only unfortunate that Corel overlooked what happens to companies who "partner" with MS...

      -matthew

  • Of the 5 distro's I have tried, it was the only one that set up EASILY on my old DEC system without a bootable CD drive. It detected the goofy built-in video chip, configured X and the sound card, and everything else too. I thought it was even better than Mandrake 7. After trying to set up SuSE (without the GUI since I couldn't boot to the CD), it was a dream.

    - Freed

  • Corel is selling it (the Linux division) because of the change in leadership. The former chief executive thought it was the future of the company but Burney thought they were putting more money into it than they needed to," said a source who wished to remain anonymous.


    Xandros [xandros.com] does not even have a website yet.

    But I'd like to give them a bit of user-end advice.

    I have a friend who is working-class and got a computer with Linux because he couldn't afford Windows, and he needs something to write with.

    To get Linux to people like him, you need to do what AOL is doing - sell or give away Linux distributions out of little TAKE ONE hoppers at computer stores and supermarkets, on every continent on earth.

    They should be packaged with Internet access as well.

  • Perhaps it's my lack of understanding of marketingspeak, but the following quote, from the article sure seems to contradict itself:

    "The desktop division has the potential to hinder the company's growth and needs to be spun off and allowed to expand outside the company," said Burney on January 23.
  • Corel Linux was never my favorite distribution overall. However, one would have to admit that they did a lot of things right.

    Their installer was a joy to use the whole time, excluding the weak partitioning system. It is so easy to install, and that is what always turns me off with Debian!

    It was really easy to update. The update program was fairly well designed, and all of the updates I used worked correctly! That suprised me, because many others don't seem to update very well.

    One of the nicest things about that distro was the configuration tools. The integration of the system controls and the KDE Control Center (KControl) was seamless! The tools were slightly weak for my taste, but they were much more organized than any other distribution that I've seen. SuSE comes close to Corel with YAST's integration to the KDE Control Center, but it seems a little less polished. For Gnome fans, I guess that Corel would be a nightmare. However, for somebody who likes KDE (ME!) it is a joy.

    Some people have complained about the customizations of some software. However, every customization that I saw was an improvement. For example, Corel made their Linux distribution in the pre-konqueror era. KDE had KFM, which was a little bit weak at the time. Corel's version of KDE, however, had the Corel File Manager which was actually ahead of its time.

    Some people also complain that some software included is closed-source. I would have liked it if it was open source, but I wouldn't consider it to be unsuperior just because it is closed-source. In fact, for its time, many of its proprietary features were much more advanced than their open-source counterparts.

    So, I am rooting for the new owners, and we can only hope that they will expand on the good work that Corel has done.
  • Wasn't it last year at this time that Corel announced the very same thing? I forgot the name of the company they sold it to that time.

  • Quoted from the Article:
    Linux, created 10 years ago this month by Finnish computer programming student Linus Torvalds, has become a popular software system used to run Web sites and is seen as a rival to Microsoft Windows, the dominant software used in personal computers

    The Linux operating system has garnered a strong following in the programming community because it makes its underlying code freely available for programrs to use and improve, in marked contrast to closely guarded proprietary software systems such as Microsoft's

    Wow, this guy really knows how to sum up information about Linux! Sheesh, these are the kinds of stories you get when you drop out of journalism school.

    Someone should create some sort of presskit that journalists can use when they reference Linux so that they don't get it wrong, like the usually do.
    • This may understate some things, but it's not as inaccurate as most reports are, in fact it probably does as decent a 2-graf job at summing up linux for the totally unaware as I've seen yet.

      What would you rather he say in the same space? (Not a rhetorical question!)

      timothy

    • Someone should create some sort of presskit that journalists can use when they reference Linux so that they don't get it wrong, like the(y) usually do.

      Someone did : from www.linux.org:

      Linux is a free Unix-type operating system originally created by Linus Torvalds with the assistance of developers around the world. Developed under the GNU General Public License , the source code for Linux is freely available to everyone.

      I think this is the officially blessed definition of Linux, to be quoted in press release and such.

  • by Cyno ( 85911 )
    Who cares? Its not like Corel was a REAL linux distro.
    • So I guess Debian isn't a REAL linux distro? You could update Corel to Debian (though it broke their samba integration into the file manager and a few other of their "improvements") so you could look at Corel as an easier way to install Debian! What EXACTLY prevented Corel from being a REAL linux distro? (My guess is nothing, your just a flamebait merchant)


      If you had your way I guess no-one would be allowed to run linux unless they can install a system from source over the web from a base floppy using a text editor to adjust the mbr and partition table.

  • Doesn't anyone think it Fishy that a company would sell fourteen percent of it's profits just to "get out" of the Linux distribution community? this probably has more to do with M$ not allowing anything that creeps of GPL/opensource pac-man like activity and implementing .NET with it's products.
  • Looks like Corel finally read the Writing on The Wall: there ain't no money in Linux. Phrases like "steady descent from a Linux-inspired high of $39.25 in December 1999" make it seem like the stock market bubble correlates quite nicely with corporate enthusiasm with Linux. I note Corel stock was up today, following the announcment. What other companies have followed the Linux bandwagon and are now ready to jump off? I've got some money to invest.
    • With Linux and OSS in general you have to go with the flow: place a few developers in the strategic OSS projects and wait for them to gain expertise and acknowledgement from the community. Never rush ahead of the crowds(like Corel did), but instead gently push in the directions you want to go, gatering all the consensus you can from the community (and, why not, even collaborate with would-be competitors). Never put too much investment in single products, because you wont be able to recover the investiment unless you make the product proprietary (and in such case you go out of Linux and OSS market and you must compete with MS).

      RH and others understand this. Corel didn't. They tried to rush ahead, invested too much in their own software (and in marketing and such: Corel boxes where everywhere ). They isolated themselves from Linux community, aiming to the larger market of computers users. But their product was not enough palatable for this market, owned my MS: not enough compatible with MS software, still based on an OS that most hardware vendors do not support, sold at the same price of Windows 95/98, which most users don't see as a cost because it is pre-installed on any new PC.

      Therefore Corel failed. But there is money in Linux. Maybe not the quick and fast money that corporations and shareholders would like, however. More the slow but steadily increasing money coming from a well-done work and from the availability of a large amount of 'building blocks' from which professionals and amateurs around the world can build their own personal computer solutions.

  • why would they want to get rid of it? It has to be among the most profitable revenue sources for them (next to ongoing Word Perfect 4.2 support contracts)


    If Corel is selling 14% of their bunsiness (and the only segement with growth potential) for $2 million, what does that say about Corel?

  • Everyone knows Corel's Linux distribution didn't really make it that well. But Many people who want a office suite better than Abiword end up getting Wordperfect 2000. Also they will probably be getting linux.corel.com in the deal. Consumers will probably still think they are buying from Corel.
  • The value of Corel to Linux community has always been their ownership of their application assets. Divorcing the applications from the Linux side of the business is a net loss for Linux.

    What's to become of Wordperfect and friends? This is one less incentive to port them, or parts of them, to Linux. In fact, it may provide less incentive to support them on Linux period.

    Of course if these products weren't held hostage by proprietary licences, we wouldn't be in this dilemna now, would we?
  • LinuxToday [linuxtoday.com]has the press release concerning Xandros licensing CLOS from Corel and

    In addition to the information found in the press release below,
    Xandros has this to say about its plans:



    "Xandros is developing a customized Debian-based Linux
    distribution that is derived from version 3.0 of the award
    winning Corel LINUX OS. It will support both the KDE
    and Gnome desktop environments. In addition to the
    features that Linux users expect, Xandros will be
    distributing significant additions and enhancements.
    Furthermore, Xandros is creating a server and enterprise
    management solution that will significantly reduce the total
    cost of ownership of computing environments. The overall
    solution is complete "off the shelf", but Xandros
    Professional Services can customize and integrate the
    products as well as provide enhancements to legacy
    systems as needed. Finally, all Xandros offerings will be
    backed by world-class support."



    So there is a version 3 of CLOS. What happened to ver 2? The last release was ver 1.1. It is a licensing deal so Corel will still own the distro. Xandros plan enterprise version. I wonder if it is the software part from Rebel? You can see bios of all the the key players at the Xandros web site [xandros.net]. It seems like they all were graduates of Corel U(ex employees cut loose in the last bloodbath). They are also supporting Gnome which is a change from CLOS 1.1. Should be interesting.

  • Xandros!
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/4/21356.htm l

    Xandros are the people who have bought the rights to the Corel dist' (but only for 18 months, so if it goes horribly wrong Corel will get it back).
    Best of luck to them, it will/would be good to have a strong KDE based dist' running on Debain.

    choice of desktops is good, so longs as i can still use KDE apps under Gnome and Gnome apps under KDE.

    Anyone know what the "and related technologies" mentioned in the article is supposed to mean? What related technologies? WordPerfect for Linux maybe?

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