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Corel Software

WordPerfect Back From the Wilderness 488

Man With Broom writes "Just when you thought they were riding off into the sunset, they come back into town and start hanging around the mayor's oldest girl... WordPerfect 12 was described today on, with Corel claiming compatibility for the small business user. But can they withstand the juggernaut? And what of OpenOffice?"
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WordPerfect Back From the Wilderness

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  • 70s called (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 01, 2004 @08:58PM (#8435555)
    They wanna know where they can buy those funky plastic sheets you put over the keyboard to remind you what Ctrl_Shift_Alt_F5 means in WordPerfect.
  • word perfect (Score:5, Interesting)

    by clymere ( 605769 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @08:58PM (#8435559) Homepage
    I didn't know WordPerfect ever went anywhere. I know a lot of Windows users who swear by it. Apparently it has a better equation editor then MS Office.
    • Re:word perfect (Score:5, Informative)

      by Sparkle ( 131911 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:04PM (#8435625) Homepage
      Yes it once was a fine product. About 6 patches into 5.1 version (1992) it got to be really mellow. Then they put out 6.0 and Novell came forth with 6.1 which does just fine in DOSemu. I still use it just that way. Print postscript to a file and use ps2pdf on it.

      Now any current versions are another story. I never could stand any gui version of WordPerfect. That DOS version will stick with you though, and beats M$ product.
    • Re:word perfect (Score:5, Informative)

      by Ark42 ( 522144 ) <slashdot@mo[ ]eu ... t ['rph' in gap]> on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:14PM (#8435718) Homepage
      I used it all through college and never once used Word. Now that I graduated I never have to write any papers again, and don't have ANY word processor program installed.
      The reason to use word perfect is simple: REVEAL CODES!
      Otherwise, Wordpad has about all the functionality most people really need to write a stupid paper for a class.
    • Re:word perfect (Score:5, Informative)

      by dnoyeb ( 547705 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:19PM (#8435766) Homepage Journal
      My mom also swears by WP. In fact lots of WP Zealots seem to like WP5.1 for DOS the best. So much so that wp11 has a wp5.1 emulation mode. (even if it is kind of a lame attempt)

      Personally i feel WP is far superior to word, especially when you get the tabs and rules all messed up. reveal codes is an awesome tool to help clean all that up. I wont use a word processor that does not have reveal codes. (well I wont like it)

      I just bought wp11, I guess they are trying to get on a 1 version per year mode...
      • Re:word perfect (Score:4, Interesting)

        by nelsonal ( 549144 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:47PM (#8435964) Journal
        WP 5.1 was the finest example of word processor out there, everything that came after that added mostly bloat. It took a bit of getting the funky user interface (you had the function keys for action buttons, modified by the shift alt and ctrl buttons. It was complex enough to let you do anything you wanted, but remained easy enough that nothing was buried deep in the UI. It reminds me of most things Linux, I'm surprised there isn't a project to recreate it in Linux. Then WP 6 came out, it was slow, (on the hot rod 486s even) and sucked compared to Word and WP 5.1. I think they decied that Word's wysiwyg editor was the way of the future and tried to mimic it, and unfortunately their product sucked. That and Excell began to kick everything else's tail about that time, just as PCs got powerful enough to do more interesting math (statistical analysis and such).
      • Re:word perfect (Score:5, Interesting)

        by bgfay ( 5362 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:58PM (#8436039) Homepage
        I used to use WP, right up until last June when I wanted to switch to Linux. That's when I started using OpenOffice. But I always missed WP5.1 because it was so clean, a real writer's word processor. I got to missing it too much in December but wasn't about to install it and run DOSemu, so I learned VI. It's nutty how much I'm reminded of the clean interface. It's also gotten me to forget about formatting and just write.

        Corel can keep releasing, but OpenOffice is going to eat WP users alive. I appreciate them still selling to the faithful, but I can't be the only one who moved on when a real alternative to Word showed up.
      • Re:word perfect (Score:4, Interesting)

        by egg_green ( 727755 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @11:43PM (#8436775)
        My dad STILL uses WP 5.1, and has written four books [] without ever leaving DOS. He does this for many reasons (habit, memorized keyboard shortcuts, etc), but the main reason is that he is legally blind.

        He uses JAWS (Job Access With Speech) and ZoomText to write, and the programs magnify and read the screen to him. Try some of the GUI screen readers sometime, and you'll see why he prefers to stick to a command-line!

        Anyway, the point is that WP 5.1 can still be used today to do almost anything one could want in a word processor. As my Cisco teacher is fond of saying, "Something is never obsolete until it no longer does what you want."


      • by axxackall ( 579006 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @12:55AM (#8437316) Homepage Journal
        I loved WP-5.1 until I learnd Emacs, at first its simple tex-mode, then X-Symbol mode, recently the real WYSIWYG TeX editor TeXmacs. If in WP's reveal-code mode you can fix your markup, in TeX you can edit your styles. Even more - you can program styles. Literally. In fact, it is called "literal programming".

        I understand WP zealots. Besides my own very positive experience with WP, I am addicted TeX user now. The addiction is not that I don't won't learn MS Word - as a matter of fact I know MS Word very well. Too well to criticisize where it's weak, and well enough to to try to fix its weaknesses by stealing usage concepts from Tex world.

        For example, I edit fonts of individual words or paragraphs as an exception. Ususally I edit fonts in styles. The problem is that MS Word is badly designed to use styles.

        Well, MS Word is badly designed for any intellectual usage. If you create a document, type 50 pages, then redefine most of styles, then type 50 more pages - soo you'll hate MS Word and Microsoft. the document will grow huge (10 MB even without bitmap pictures), MS Word will exit with fatal errors, and there are chances that your document can be corrupted any moment.

        Such problem can never appear with TeX. First, the format is open and transparent - it's easy to fix problems in any text editor. Second, there is a processor that can give you enough diagnostic/debugging info. Third, you can use wysiwyg modes/editors and see/edit the code in paralel in two windows/panes, like in WP. But the main advantage is that you define your styles separately from the document and thus you separate different aspects.

        Of course using a full power of TeX is not for novices. But with editors like TeXmacs, TeX can be used by novices - it's not more difficut than WP in reveal-code-mode.

        • by green_crocadilian ( 717907 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @06:24AM (#8438842)
          TeX is awesome for laying out mathematical formulas (especially when compared to Word's bletcherous equation editor), and is quite nice for most common tasks. I couldn't agree with you more that managing a 100 page document can get crazy in Word, and is easy in LaTeX. But there's a catch.

          For setting up tables, TeX sucks rocks. You have LaTeX tabular, which is only good for really simple things. You have halign, which is quite nice, but not quite powerful enough. You have longtable. But none of them are anywhere as flexible as Word's table tool. Recently, I was converting a paper from Word into TeX. For several tables, to express them adequately in TeX, I had to manually lay out all the hboxes and vboxes. Not fun. In fact, I was annoyed enough that I started writing my own macros for setting up tables. Then I realized that the TeX macro syntax is a hell-spawned evil twin of assembly crossed with Intercal, besides the fact that it's not actually documented.

          Anyway, as sleek as TeX looks, be aware that under the surface it's a very hairy twenty-year-old piece of software.
    • Re:word perfect (Score:5, Informative)

      by t0ny ( 590331 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:55PM (#8436009)
      WP ran into a lot of problems because of how it was made. I worked for two companies who did a major conversion from WP to MS Office, and both had the same issue: the users loved WP, and the support staff hated it. Since the IT department does the software purchasing, guess who won?

      As far as USING the product goes, WP is great. A lot of times I swear at Word for messing up my formatting, being difficult to get a layout 'just right', etc.

      But as far as supporting the program technically, WP is a nightmare. They had a component called 'PrintPerfect', which would not only screw up printing for WP, but for anything else on that computer. It basically shortcircuitted the entire Windows print subsystem, trying to get it to use WP's print program. Also, there are tons of other technical issues- IMO the programmers didnt understand how to program for Windows, and rewrote a whole bunch of stuff which was already there in the WinAPIs.

      Also, for some reason WP makes it VERY difficult to get service packs. On MSO, you can just use Office Update, or download the whole thing for yourself. Likewise, researching a WP problem is extremely difficult, whereas MSO problems can be searched for via technet.

      Its a shame that WP had a good product, but shot themselves in the foot because of bad programming.

    • Re:word perfect (Score:4, Informative)

      by jsdkl ( 48221 ) <rhenry@vistatheater . o rg> on Monday March 01, 2004 @11:30PM (#8436693)
      Word Perfect has been very popular in the legal field for quite some time. Mostly because you can still read documents from years ago with no problem.
  • OSX? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ryanw ( 131814 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @08:59PM (#8435563)
    They have word perfect for OSX?
    • Re:OSX? (Score:5, Informative)

      by trippcook ( 529339 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:11PM (#8435695)
      Starting with Wordperfect Office 2002, I think it was, they stopped with the Mac support, which was a shame, as 2002 had some really cool new features, including the best built-in pdf maker I've used in a word processor, as well as the Oxford English Dictionary.

      I'm a Wordperfect loyalist from way back, just because I find it so much more intuitive than Office (at least, it is on Windows). For instance --- want to change the margins to a specific number? In WP, if you never used a word processor before, you may think to click "format / margins". On Word, where is it? "file / page setup"

    • Re:OSX? (Score:3, Informative)

      by tillemetry ( 223556 )
      No, but you used to be able to download the OS9 version off their web site for free after they discontinued support - maybe you still can.

      The OS9 version runs in emulation in OSX. I use it to read old files.
      • by gobbo ( 567674 ) <{wrewrite} {at} {}> on Monday March 01, 2004 @10:56PM (#8436406) Journal
        The last version of WP that ran on the Mac carried the version number 3.5e. It's a pretty nice wordprocessor, with a metatoolbar that allows you to pop toolbars open as you need them, and other features that were great in 1997 (the year that Apple was gonna die, remember?). Corel killed it after that, made it available for free for awhile, and now you can't even download it from their site.

        There are still a few places to pick it up: try Cal State [] or Radix's FTP site [].

        Once you've updated it properly, it runs fine in classic mode, and is pretty zippy. I have to use it periodically because the university I work at monomaniacally standardized on wintel (despite having healthy fine arts, media, and comp sci depts., duh) and many use WP, so us mac users constantly receive official missives attached as a .wpd file. Fortunately, the old mac application opens even new files without choking.

  • Old WP joke (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 01, 2004 @08:59PM (#8435569)
    How can recognize a drowning WP user?

    He's yelling F3! F3!
  • by HappyCitizen ( 742844 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:00PM (#8435574) Homepage Journal
    New Commodore 64 comes out, with 4.8 Ghz proccesser.
  • by ScottGant ( 642590 ) <scott_gant@sbcgl ... T ['oba' in gap]> on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:00PM (#8435577) Homepage
    Is it me or do some of these applications seem like cheap, drunk floozies being passed around for different people to dance with at a party?

    How many different owners did Painter go through? And Wordperfect? And Poser? And Bryce?

    Someone needs to marry these apps and make them settle down.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:01PM (#8435580)
    You'd of thought they would have perfected it by now.
  • Word Perfect (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rodrin ( 729362 ) <> on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:01PM (#8435586) Homepage Journal
    Well wordperfect used to lead, I guess while its not leading anymore they are still cranking out copies regardless. They do have a good plan for OEM on new computers though. Alot of compaqs and hps have wordperfect installed on them. $0.02
  • by Hatechall ( 541378 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:02PM (#8435593) Homepage
    Word Perfect never left the confines of my heart. I love that software dearly. And what about OpenOffice? I say it's a perfectly good alternate right after Word Perfect and right before Clippy.
  • Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:02PM (#8435595)
    The full version will sell for $300, and upgrades from a previous version of WordPerfect or a competing product will cost $150.

    Why bother when OpenOffice is equally as good and costs nothing? Not to mention it is open source.
    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Funny)

      by myowntrueself ( 607117 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:11PM (#8435698)

      1. Find someone who wants to buy WP.

      2. 'Upgrade' from Openoffice to WP for $150.

      3. Sell WP to the stooge in (1) for $200.

      4. Profit (to the tune of $50).

      This assumes that Corel sees Openoffice as a competing product. They might quibble about whether its 'competing' or whether its 'a product'.

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by oldgeezer1954 ( 706420 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:21PM (#8435787)
      There is a cost to switching from wp to openoffice. We've (the company I work for) been a wp user since the early 80's. We have in excess of a million word perfect documents many of which we would need continued access into the forseeable future. We simply can't leave them behind in order to switch ship. While there are ways to do that conversion the cost in mantime alone is fairly prohibitive.
      We've been following open office fairly closely and they've come a long way in terms of their wp connector. It's not quite there yet but it's close.
      Once we consider it to be a usable state for us then we can look at using OO on a go forward basis for new systems.
      It's my understanding that the sun version of wp will do conversions but as wp has been a good product for us there's no incentive for us to try to skimp a few dollars based on the price difference between wp and OO. For us the major incentive with OO will be we can consider switching from windows to linux.
    • by Tom_Yardley ( 587588 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:30PM (#8435860)
      "OpenOffice is equally as good and costs nothing?" It is not free and it does not do as good a job. First, the time spent learning a new program is lost time. If I spent twenty hours learning open office, that is twenty hours lost and $7,000 less in the bank. Second, there are features in word perfect, some for lawyers, some for engineers, some for other professions that nobody has copied. For example, in my profession, the law, where there are thousand of members, only a handful of us actually go to court. When we do, we have to write a form of term paper we call a brief. Briefs have a very formal style which requires a very arcane table of contents. With WordPerfect I hit one button and it generates a table of contents and table of authorities which meet the nitpicking requirements of the anal rednecks before whom I practice. Word requires two hours of typing by a $25 per hour legal secretary; or four hours of my $350 an hour time. Assuming I had the time to download, install and troubleshoot an open source word processor, it still would not have my beloved "generate" button. WordPerfect does exactly what Word does only cheaper and better and takes less space on my harddrive. Why not pay for a superior product?
    • Re:Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

      OpenOffice is not as good. It is the weakest link in the open source proposition. Specifically, OpenOffice writer. It is slower, has less features, and is less intuitive to use then either WordPerfect or Word. I have converted Windows users to Linux, and office software is the #1 complaint. Try to switch a user who uses a word processor as part of their occupation, and you'll likely hear the same thing.
    • Re:Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

      Why bother when OpenOffice is equally as good and costs nothing?

      Well, when OpenOffice is equally as good, there won't be a need to bother...but that when is not now.

      OpenOffice in 2004 is not as good as Word and Wordperfect were on my Mac in 1994. It's got most of the necessary features, but the workflow is not nearly as good.

  • by mauddib~ ( 126018 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:03PM (#8435611) Homepage
    I always wondered why all those people want to have the latest versions of WordPerfect or Word. I mean, most of them don't even know how to use styles, page numbers, different fonts or other features anyways. In that way, nothing has changed in the past 15 years. WYSIWYG isn't anything either, since what I see as the average markup in a standard letter sent by Joe Average User is just as ugly on screen as it is on hardcopy.
    • Actually WYSIWYG is maybe the worst thing that ever happened to word processors.

      Because of that 'feature' nobody knows how to use a Word processor nowadays. I've seen so many people putting in spaces to get some tabulations and stuff like that...
  • Marketing (Score:5, Funny)

    by lewko ( 195646 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:04PM (#8435624) Homepage
    Wordperfect $35
    Extra modules $15
    No #@$%#$*& paperclip.... Priceless
  • by Tx ( 96709 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:06PM (#8435639) Journal
    From the article:

    "We're not in the double digits yet for upselling people to the full suite, but we are making progress," he said.

    I think they've got some work to do ...
  • by theguywhosaid ( 751709 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:06PM (#8435641) Homepage
    "We're not in the double digits yet for upselling people to the full suite, but we are making progress," he said.

    not in double digits? that maxes out at 9
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:06PM (#8435643)
    Gotta love a company who still "implements Comparable" with a single number comparison instead of requiring 25 lines of code like other *cough* MS *cough* companies.
  • by -tji ( 139690 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:07PM (#8435647) Journal

    It doesn't seem like there is a huge market available for Windows options.. Even if they come up with some great leap in technology, how long will it take MS to "embrace and extend" it?

    They need to go somewhere MS really doesn't want to.. like Linux. Make a cross-platform suite that works in Windows, MacOS X, and Linux. Force MS to legitimize Linux on the desktop, or give the market to you.
  • by locohijo ( 224192 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:07PM (#8435652)
  • by michael path ( 94586 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:08PM (#8435656) Homepage Journal
    I used to do Technical Support for WordPerfect way-back-when. It was always a better product than Word on its own. As someone else stated, people do swear by the product (law offices are a HUGE market for them, as is the US DoJ).

    The price that Corel is offering it for does not suggest that they want it to be a significantly less expensive alternative to Office, and that's too bad. The only way they can reasonably expect to gain market share is by a combination of name and price.

    That said, I'm not sure who they're marketing this too. The article doesn't suggest it's anything more useful than OpenOffice (improved compatibility with Microsoft Office? they've been touting that since WP8!), and OpenOffice still has a hard to beat price.

    I can't imagine there's anything here to win back market share. Sorry Corel.

  • The full version will sell for $300, and upgrades from a previous version of WordPerfect or a competing product will cost $150.
    Have they been hanging out too close to the glue bins in the packaging department? Let's see, you want to grow your user base. So you have to convice people to leave Microsoft Office and not go with a lower to no cost (I know, there is TCO) solution that supports the same file format. And so you set your price right up there with Microsoft Office. WTF? Do they think they are competing only with Microsoft?
    • An interesting point, as marketing experts will tell you, is that people involved with purchasing software for the office will generally not buy something that is too inexpensive.

      In other words, if WordPerfect 12 was priced at $49/desktop, it would not be purchased, because of the perception that "if it needs to be sold that cheaply, it's probably no good".

      Balancing the price to inducement ratio is definitely the problem that a company like Corel has when dealing with marketing software against MS, especially Word. After all, you can get a full copy of Word + extra software for $99 list by buying MS Works (which has, for the last few versions, used Word as its word processing component). How do you compete....
  • by almaon ( 252555 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:10PM (#8435683)
    I remember WordPerfect fondly, ever since the first release, later down the road to Windows versions. Then sadly, work dictated that I must use Word, never cared for it very much it's improved greatly.

    Now I've switched to OSX as my primary focus, and Novell/Corel have left us out to die (I'm sure many of you are happy about that). But I'd like some more established alternatives, it'd be great to see WordPerfect come back to the Mac.

    OpenOffice is slated for a native version for OSX, but that's years down the road. The X11 version is pretty nice, I like it, but for my spoiled habits, it's not cutting it just yet. But I have high hopes for it none-the-less.

    ThinkFree is interesting, but it's responsiveness is frustrating on older equipment.

    Appleworks, nuff said...

    We want more from Corel than just KPT and Painter. Office X 2004 looks nice, but the price and ethics aren't. Bring us WordPerfect.

  • by borgheron ( 172546 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:10PM (#8435686) Homepage Journal
    I believe that the best way for Wordperfect to join the fray is to open source the bugger. Then lets see Microsoft run screaming when WP is running on every platform known to mankind, including Windows.

    • What would be the benefit to the people who own the Wordperfect code base to gain market share at zero dollars per unit sold? 'Socking it to Microsoft' is only a valid business goal when there's renumeration available for the product sold.

      I know, I know. Let's hear some preaching about the benefits of giving it all away for free.
  • 10 people (Score:5, Funny)

    by Spy Hunter ( 317220 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:11PM (#8435694) Journal
    "We're not in the double digits yet for upselling people to the full suite, but we are making progress," he said.

    Well I hope they can get a tenth person to upgrade, I'll bet they need the money...

  • by DangerSteel ( 749051 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:18PM (#8435763)
    Wordperfect and 1-2-3 were on most PC's in the office. I thought they were the greatest programs ever and couldn't be improved upon.... of course I also thought the "talkies" would kill Hollywood.

    Seriously though...there was NO Clippy

  • by Supp0rtLinux ( 594509 ) <> on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:19PM (#8435770)
    Hmmm... ironic that companies like Novell that were on the brink of being nothing adopted Linux as their new strategy to get cash flow positive. And Sun, who many thought were on the way out, are being forced to swallow Linux more and more. Its no secret that Corel jumped into Linux quite some time ago, but perhaps the market is a bit better for them now. Many companies are still shy of StarOffice simply because Sun has been so Linux wishy-washy the last few years. And while OpenOffice is good, it has neither the history of Corel Office, nor the compatibility (at least looking back... Corel Office was much more compatible with Office 2000 than OpenOffice ever was). Perhaps the time is right for Corel Office to once again be what Word Perfect was before MS came to town. And with a cross-platform base, perhaps they can topple some of the MS dominance.
    Now if only someone (Corel, OO, Sun, etc) would put together something like Ximian's Evolution, but have it co-exist with an office suite, maybe we'd have a good, robust, cross-platform office suite worth switching too.

    The only thing necessary for Micro$oft to triumph is for a few good programmers to do nothing". North County Computers []
  • by QuantumRiff ( 120817 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:19PM (#8435772)
    for one damn reason, Save a file as a Wordperfect 11 file, open it in wordperfect 8, and "Holy Crap", it works.. Formatted correctly, no nasty errors, it doesn't force you to upgrade all your computers office-wide to be compatible...
  • by st0rmshad0w ( 412661 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:20PM (#8435774)
    What's REALLY scary is those WP 5.1 cultists who won't go away. Truely frightening.
  • WP in Law Offices (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ashitaka ( 27544 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:20PM (#8435775) Homepage
    Much will be said about the continued use of WordPerfect in law offices where it has been a traditional choice. We still use WP 5.1 for DOS to create our bills but this is dictated by our ancient accounting system which will be gone by year-end. (Thank $DEITY)

    However, any law firm sysadmin worth his salt recognized long ago that the current legal document creation paradigm involves cooperative collaboration with clients absolutely none of whom will be using any version of WordPerfect. In addition, the pool of new legal secretaries will all be coming with Word as their background. The look of shock on our new recruit's faces after they've gone through the WP billing section of their training is a sad sight but one that reflects the reality that, for even Wordperfect's most loyal users, the time has come to use what the market requires. Legal documents are no longer created in isolation.

    OpenOffice is nice to dream about but the forces that dicate a move to Word for a firm of any size are what is currently keeping OO out.

    The most successful law firms in the future will be able to define a new, non-document-based legal information exchange paradigm. We need to get past the days of everything being done in the word processor.
    • The most successful law firms in the future will be able to define a new, non-document-based legal information exchange paradigm.

      We're working on something called the American Standard Code for Information Exchange.

      You might want to look into it.

  • WP8 for Linux (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mm0mm ( 687212 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:25PM (#8435811)
    Since 5.1 days, WordPerfect was always my choice for writing documents. While MS-Word stayed inside my harddrive for rare occasions of opening incompatible documents that WP couldn't open, I used WP extensively. Since I began using Linux, however, things changed quite a bit. Though I used WP8 for Linux in the beginning, I later moved to OpenOffice, which possesses greater interoperability. Now my day to day tool for writing has been replaced completely with OpenOffice.

    I was extremely disappointed when Corel stopped developing WP for Linux. I still wonder if Corel will ever release open source version of WP and regain some market share in wordprocessing. Even if they do, however, it is probably too late to regain their position in the business. MS locked in customers with their products and expanded their business. On the other hand, WordPerfect's proprietary format choked its own neck. sigh...
  • Two Words... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by elbarsal ( 232181 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:28PM (#8435832)
    Reveal codes

    MS Word is better than it used to be, but I'll tell you, when it's doing something wonky, I really miss being able to reveal the formatting codes so I could see why the entire previous paragraph was stuck as heading 3.

    Formatting is really just markup (like HTML) - why can't Word show us where it starts and ends when we want to see what's wrong?
  • I adore wordperfect (Score:5, Informative)

    by Schlemphfer ( 556732 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:29PM (#8435847) Homepage
    I write for a living, and have used WordPerfect 10 and 11 for my latest book. They came bundled with my last two computers, and I'd take WordPerfect over MS Word or OpenOffice any day.

    Most word processors offer substantially the same feature set. But there are at least three key areas where I think WordPerfect has an edge:

    1) Draft Mode. This is the mode most people do their writing in, and I love WordPerfect's minimalism. Lots and lots of space for the text you're working on, and minimal clutter since they don't try to include access to every blasted feature in the ruler bar. OpenOffice's version of draft mode, such as it is, is called "Online Layout" and it's still cluttered looking and IMHO garbagey. MS Word's Draft Mode seems more cluttered than WordPerfect's., and suffers from too many autoedit things turned on, where the word processor incorrectly anticipates your needs.

    2) Better writing environment. WordPerfect doesn't try to implement every last feature a business user could conceivably want. So the menus and so forth are far less cluttered, which makes the main features you need much easier to find. Add to this that MS Word's grammar checker is a piece of crap, while WordPerfect will actually make some interesting comments. I think if you're trying to write for a living, WordPerfect is a wonderful tool.

    3) Reveal Codes. I've heard MS Word is trying to implement this feature, but WordPerfect's had it forever, and it's sensational. Have you ever used a WYSIWYG wordprocessor, and all of a sudden wondered why your text at a certain point has the formatting go to hell? And the only way to fix things is to delete a chunk of your text?

    Well, with WordPerfect, you can see the hidden formatting codes embedded in your text. So it makes locating a problem code easy. In a long document, it makes tracing a piece of corruption a breeze, and it takes only seconds to remove the problem at its source. You find the hidden formatting code, delete it with a backspace, and your problem is solved. As far as I know, WordPerfect is the only word processor where you can be 100% sure that your document has absolutely no embedded crap.

    Some final comments. I love WordPerfect but I'm no zealot. I'll happily ditch it in two seconds the moment an open source alternative addresses my above comments. I simply can't understand how people can create a word processor that doesn't have a sharp looking, minimal, ultra responsive draft mode. I like the draft mode in ABIword, but I've found that the program isn't as stable as I'd like it to be.

    Unfortunately, WordPerfect has some stability issues as well. I've found that in my newest book, which contains 300 or so footnotes, WordPerfect seems to have a memory leak or something which causes a freeze for every ten or so endnotes I edit.

    My guess is that in five years or less, open source word processors will have all the main features a serious writer could want. But for now, WordPerfect remains my word processor of choice.

  • by bersl2 ( 689221 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:43PM (#8435934) Journal
    Basically my proof of this statement is "Because my dad (a lawyer) said so," so take this with a boulder-sized grain of salt if necessary. All of his legal forms for dealing with the district courts and the Fifth Circuit are in WP format, dating back to maybe 1996 (or whenever Corel made WP 6). They now are distributed in PDF, though.

    Anyway, at least he swears by WP. He's in the other room, using it right now, in fact.
  • Linux anyone? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pair-a-noyd ( 594371 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:44PM (#8435940)
    Shouldn't be too hard, WP 8 didn't involve any sort of a GUI, it was a DOS based program.

    I used to install it for people in the 80's but hated it because I just didn't know how to use it. I could install it but couldn't use it.

    Well, I finally learned how to use it and found it to be an extremely powerful and useful word processor and to this day I still miss some of the features it had. I found it extremely useful to be able to delete columns of text rather than only being able to delete horizontally in serial fashion. And the macro features were exceptionally nice too. Man, after a few months of intensive screwing around, I had gotten quite good with WP..

    I wish they would port it to Linux. I quit using WP in the early 90's but I would use it again if they could bring back the version 7 or version 8 program to run on Linux..

  • Used To Be Big (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sparky77 ( 633674 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:47PM (#8435956) Homepage
    It's so interesting. I now work in the same complex that the original WordPerfect corporation build back in it's glory days. The place is huge! It's hard to believe that all these buildings were full of people coding WordPerfect 6 for Windows 3.1.
  • by tjstork ( 137384 ) <todd,bandrowsky&gmail,com> on Monday March 01, 2004 @09:52PM (#8435987) Homepage Journal
    And that's still out there too.

    The one thing that is silly is that we have this notion that we all have to be on the same word processor, when, we really don't.

  • by ( 311775 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @10:04PM (#8436089) Homepage Journal
    Take a look at the Dell home systems. They've been including it for quite awhile. I bet there are more WordPerfect users than you realize. Wordperfect is a great word processor. If they wouldn't have stumbled during the Win 3.0/3.1 days then the could still own the market. AMI Pro was really the best word processor during those days until ... hmmm... who bought it..Lotus???... IBM owns it now and it is called WordPro.. I Still think that Open office has everything that anyone needs...
  • by barfy ( 256323 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @10:45PM (#8436334)
    They did not come out with a windows version fast enough and the market left them behind.

    Contrary to many of the comments made here, which shows misunderstandings of the word processing and os markets back in the good old days of floppies and text displays...

    Reveal Codes, is only a useful feature if the product does not behave as expected. Reveal codes helped people force the program to do what it wanted to do, because occasionally the program didn't *do* what it wanted them to do. And in the real world, this problem has largely gone away. With a WYSIWYG display you simply do not have the issues that you had when you had to guess how your document would print.

    The reasons that WP were dominant were two-fold. First they had the largest library of printer drivers. You could print on practically any type of printer technology.

    Secondly, they could be trusted in how the text would break and that line-numbers could be trusted no matter what device you printed to. This was a vital feature that insured that the largest group of paper generators at the time (lawyers) set the marketplace, and set the market. WordPerfect could not be touched... They were as dominant then as Microsoft is now. But they failed to change when it needed to be changed.

    The first feature became moot, as the Operating System provided an imaging model (GDI) and a device driver model to output that model. Wordperfect in their dominance, having them create a driver for your device was critical to your devices success. Windows freed the Printer Manufacturers from the "tyranny" of the of the word-perfect monopoly. Thier products would work as expected with ALL programs that were designed for windows, rather than making drivers for ALL programs, they could focus on a single driver.

    Technology would obsolesce almost all character printers for ones based on a bitmapped display (Laser and Inkjet).

    True WYSIWYG display of the page, and that the display imaging model and the printing imaging model were the same, then the display could be trusted. And all the problems that required reveal codes went away.

    Creating documents that looked like they printed. Were huge driving factors to the rapid adoption by lawyers, and by a huge new group of people that actually wanted to create documents, but couldn't before, office workers.

    Word Perfect missed the boat. They were the presumptive champions but they just could not get to market, and by then Microsoft won.

    As to the UI... There were several types of users and writers out there. The most computer savvy of them all, were the ones that had been using word processors for years. The *HUGE* market to come, well nearly everybody, didn't know how to futz with computers.

    I can make Word a blank piece of paper. With no menus, just me and the page, and I can invite, or disinvite any piece of underlying technology that gets in my way.

    I as a company can assume that the type of person who could do this, would be the type of person that would figure out HOW to do it.

    The Unwashed masses needed as much help as possible. And it worked, millions, billions(?) of users started making documents they had always wanted to make, even without a bunch of specialized knowledge.

    And that describes Words dominance. It was, and arguably is, the most powerful word processor, with fully custimizable UI depending on the needs, skill, and tasks of the user. This generated, possibly, the longest most sustained growth in productivity in human history.

    Word Perfect was just too late to the new way of doing things... And the name and history was not enough to comeback against word.

    The truth is for the business world that pays their labor, even with a value proposition of *free* for openoffice, there are going to be too many issues and problems added by not being word, that OO is still not ready for primetime. If it happens (It may never happen), it will just take over the market almost imm
    • by tfoss ( 203340 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @12:27AM (#8437142)
      I agree that WP was a day late, and a dollar short with it's windows offerings, and that simple fact was the reason for its downfall. That being said:

      Reveal Codes, is only a useful feature if the product does not behave as expected. Reveal codes helped people force the program to do what it wanted to do, because occasionally the program didn't *do* what it wanted them to do. And in the real world, this problem has largely gone away. With a WYSIWYG display you simply do not have the issues that you had when you had to guess how your document would print.

      But you still have issues with *why the fuck* Word is making the page/line/paragraph look like it does. It does me absolutely no good to see a borked format if I can't figure out why it is borked. Behaving as expected != correctly displaying WYSIWYG. Reveal Codes was an absolute god-send, and a feature I still miss from good old WP5.1. (As an example, inserting/editting text just after some formatted text, say a subscript, is a pain in the ass.)

      And that describes Words dominance. It was, and arguably is, the most powerful word processor, with fully custimizable UI depending on the needs, skill, and tasks of the user. This generated, possibly, the longest most sustained growth in productivity in human history.

      Um, I think maybe, just maybe, you are overstating the global/cultural benefit of one bloated piece of software.


    • by JRHelgeson ( 576325 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @01:12AM (#8437412) Homepage Journal
      Actually... I worked for WordPerfect in the early nineties. I was writing laser printer drivers for them at the time.

      To respond to your well-written and accurate comment:

      1) The ONLY thing that ANY printer company needed to do to get a WordPerfect printer driver, is send WP a printer on 'permanant loan' for us to write the driver for, then to subsequently troubleshoot those drivers on that printer. If any manufacturer wanted us to pull support for that printer, all they had to do is request their printer back - which N-E-V-E-R happened. For that reason, WP had a HUGE printer lab that I spent hundreds of hours in.

      2) WordPerfect wasn't that late to the word processing market for Windows... When Win 3.1 came out, WP 5.1 for DOS was the reigning word processor. WordPerfect, in order to get into the market sooner, released WordPerfect 5.1 for Windows -- a horribly buggy version of WP.

      The reason it was so bad was they stripped the user interface from the DOS version and put a Windows interface on it. At WordPerfect, we called this the WISIWYWA - What You See Is What You Want (As opposed to ....What You Get) This was primarily due to WP5.1 Win still using the DOS print drivers. The Bug Fix for WP 5.1 Win was WordPerfect 5.2 -- still using the DOS print drivers.

      A more accurate claim would be that WordPerfect was slow to market with a STABLE version of WPWin. WPWin 6.0 was a complete re-write of the code base to work within the 16bit Windows OS, of course by that time they were late to market.

      3) One reason why WP was slow to market with WPWin 6.0 was a bitter debate taking place between the top brass at WP. Alan Ashton and Bruce Bastian (The Pres/VP) wanted to support Windows, whereas Pete Peterson wanted to support OS/2... heh heh. Anyone remember OS/2?

      Alas, WordPerfect was, in fact, Almost Perfect []

  • by gblues ( 90260 ) on Monday March 01, 2004 @10:51PM (#8436373)

    Reveal codes are only useful for people who don't know how to use Word.

    Going back 5 major versions (and probably farther), Word has had support for styles. Styles allow you to take a block of text and apply either a character style (for a group of characters within a paragraph) or a paragraph style (for an entire block of characters terminated with a paragraph character). This is a very, very powerful feature.

    The problem is that nobody knows how to use it, and they use the auto-formatting features. You can spot these people a mile away--they bitch about grammar check, numbering errors, re-typing large blocks of text, etc.

    If you're using styles correctly, you'll never need anything resembling "reveal codes" to fix your formatting problems. If you use the manual formatting functions, you're asking for trouble.

    On the other hand, I personally eschew both WP and MS Word for Adobe FrameMaker. Now there's a true power user's word processor! :)


    • by Elf-friend ( 554128 ) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @02:27AM (#8437826)
      The problem with the way Word does it is that it takes time to learn. Reveal Codes is easy. It is also a hell of a lot more intuitive (doing things essentially the same way typesetters always have done). You ought to be able to use the manual formatting features without "asking for trouble." You shouldn't need to learn to use a poorly documented feature to write a simple document. In that respect, WP has less of a learning curve - the buttons that are there on the toolbar, which everyone is going to use by default, work properly. And when you do screw up, there is an easy-to-use (and to learn) feature to fix it.

      For the long-term Unix veteran, or the ones (like myself), who just think more like Unix, a word-processor is really nothing more than a fancy graphical font-end to a combination text editor and typesetter. Most people who think that way would like more access to the actual typesetter markup codes than Word gives you (these are the same folks who still write HTML in Notepad/vi/Emacs, or at least tweak it with those while mostly using a WYSIWYG HTML editor). Some people still write word-processing documents (complete with markup) in text editors and run them through troff/TeX for this very reason.

      So you see, Reveal Codes makes things easier for newbies and power-users alike. Unlike Word, which, in typical Microsoft fashion, is only really fun for intermediate users, and a pain for both extremes.

      Now, if only they would make a decent Linux version.

BLISS is ignorance.