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First Look: Word Perfect 8, personal edition for Linux

By Dave Whitinger

This morning I downloaded the 23 megabyte package, Word Perfect
8 for Linux.

The download gave me two options: one big file, or several
smaller files. I have an unusually fast connection to the net, so I
elected to get the big file.

I received a file named “GUILG00.GZ”, which I moved it into
/tmp, and su’ed to root.

`zcat GUILG00.GZ | tar xvf -` left me with a series of files in
the current directory (no, it did not create a new directory for
me). There was a shell script called “Runme”, whose purpose is to
begin the installation.

(Here are some more detailed
installation instructions
).

(Here are instructions
for adding a WordPerfect icon to AnotherLevel (Windowing
Environment with Red Hat).

After making sure that my DISPLAY variable was set
appropriately, I executed the Runme script and was presented with
an attractive graphical installation screen.

I answered the few questions I was asked:

  • Installation directory
  • what kind of printer I had
  • do I want to update the /etc/magic file
  • and so forth

I accepted the default on everything, except for the
installation directory, and the printer. I opted to install into
/opt/wp. My printer, an HP Desktop 672C was not listed, but the HP
Desktop 660C was, so I chose it.

Ten minutes later the installation was finished and a message on
my screen told me I could now start WordPerfect and gave me
instructions how. `/opt/wp/wpbin/xwp &` started the program. I
was amazed by how fast it loaded! On my pitiful Pentium 75 (64MG
RAM), it was up in about 4 seconds.

I was immediately presented with the dialog box:

“The grace period for this software will expire in 90 days.
Please obtain a valid license key from http://linux.corel.com, and
enter it below:”.

No problem; I went to
https://livewire.corel.com/wp8LinuxReg/register.html and filled out
the form to get my license key for the free personal edition.

Unfortunately, when I clicked on “Submit”, the server gave me
back an error: “An Error has occurred while submitting your
information.”

Ahh, well, I’ll try again later.

Back in WordPerfect, I clicked on “Enter key later”, was allowed
to enter the software. I can use the product for 90 days without
entering a key, after which I must register with Corel (don’t
worry, it is free of charge).

(At press time, I was able to get through and obtain my
registration key – I’m now registered to use it forever.)

I am amazed by this product! It appears to have all the
functionality found in the Windows version of WordPerfect. It can
save to HTML, PostScript, FrameMaker (many versions), RTF, MS Word
70, Applix, and many others.

It underlines typos in red, grammatical errors in blue.
Typographical errors that are usually immediately obvious are
corrected automatically by the software. For example, I typed
“usted”, and as soon as I hit the space bar, it immediately changed
it to “used”.

These features can be easily disabled: right click on your
document and click on “Spell Checker”. Then go to the “Options”
menu in the window that appears. There you’ll see where to disable
these features.

The Help section looks very complete and easy to navigate.
Embedding images into your document is very easy. You can also
position the cursor anywhere in your document and start typing
without having to worry about indentation or tables to make it
happen.

HTML conversion is handled using the “Internet Publisher”
feature. This was one of the disappointing features of WP 7 and so
I tried it on one of my documents to see if Corel had improved it.
Nope, the conversion lost some of my formatting and defaulted it to
a grey background. (screenshot)
I wish Corel would really go to work on this and make it a strong
feature as it would certainly be welcomed.

Overall, this is a fantastic word processor, and I couldn’t be
more excited to have it available, free for personal use, for my
favorite operating system.

More excited than me, however, will be my wife. She falls into
the “user” category, who is only interested in using computers as a
means to an end (getting work done). From now on, she’ll be able to
write her letters and read those nasty MS Word documents she
occasionally gets all on Linux.

Good work, Corel! This is a fantastic piece of software, and you
deserve a lot of credit for bringing it to Linux under a friendly
license.