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Corel revs Linux strategy

The company will give away its Linux-based version of WordPerfect 8 Personal Edition starting in November.

Corel will give away its Linux-based version of WordPerfect 8 Personal Edition starting in November.

Users will be able to preregister online for the software, which is intended for "personal use only," a Corel statement said.

Corel plans to ship a shrink-wrapped version of the WordPerfect 8 for Linux Personal Edition. Also in the works is a Server Edition and a "full suite of applications," a statement said. However, people interested in prices and other details will have to wait until November.

Michael Cowpland, Corel's president and chief executive officer, planned to announce the giveaway at Linux Expo in Atlanta on Saturday, October 24. "We believe the development of software for emerging operating systems such as Linux will serve to create a fair playing field for all software developers," he said in a statement.

Linux, a free and relatively modern version of Unix developed by Linus Torvalds, is making inroads into the computer realm as it moves from the domain of hobbyists to more mainstream users. Five big-name database companies recently have announced they'll port their software to the new platform.

Corel has been posting large losses of late because of its strategy to go head to head against Microsoft's Office software suite. Revenues for the third quarter which were reported in September were $71.1 million, up 46 percent from the same period in 1997. However, the company still experienced a net loss of $7.8 million.

The company's Linux strategy could be an effective way to boost its presence against Microsoft, which isn't likely to offer its products on a competing operating system. The company won't gain revenue, but as corporate acceptance of Linux increases, the company could eventually have a large enough share of the market that it could begin reaping benefits from the move.