Practical Technology

for practical people.

WordPerfect for Linux lives on (Sort of)

| 1 Comment

Corel Corp. may have given up on bringing WordPerfect to Linux, but that doesn’t mean Linux users have to give up on running WordPerfect on Linux.

A reader recently wrote me to say, “One of the things that keeps me dual-booting Linux and (sometimes) Windows is WordPerfect. I can’t be weaned off it.”

He’s not the only one. Some law firms still swear by WordPerfect. And, once you have those function key shortcuts of WordPerfect embedded in your fingers, they can be hard to extract.

I understand perfectly. You see, my fingers, besides having vi embedded in them, still have the WordStar command set in them from its first days on CP/M computers.

Once you know — I mean really know — a word processor, it’s hard to switch.

His question of the day was, “Do you know if WordPerfect 8 for Linux is still doable? Or should I just give it up? My fear is that it uses libraries so old, they would not be compatible. This assumes I could even find WordPerfect 8 for Linux in the first place.”

He’s in luck. WordPerfect 8 for Linux is still available, and with some work, you can still use it with a modern Linux distribution.

While Corel, and most of the major Linux application download sites, like Tucows Linux, no longer have it, it is still available at several sites on the Web.

The site to find WordPerfect, and how to get the various versions of it to run on today’s Linuxes, is Rick Moen’s WordPerfect on Linux FAQ.

Before jumping into this project, be certain to carefully read Moen’s FAQ. There are many ways an installation can go wrong on modern systems. The program also lacks support support for many fonts. It will also fail on attempting to import any Word file later than Word 97, and it will fail, period, on importing any Word file if the system date is set later than September 9, 2001.

If that’s not enough, the downloadable version, WordPerfect 8.0, sits in a legally gray area. To quote Moen’s FAQ, “Corel seems to have the right to enjoin anyone from redistributing it,” but “fortunately, Corel seems either tolerant or apathetic.”

In short, I wouldn’t be betting my business on running WordPerfect 8.0 on Linux.

8.1 is a different story. While it cannot legally be downloaded, legal, used copies of it still show up for sale every now and again. It can be found as part of the boxed sets of CLOS (Corel Linux Operating System) Deluxe Edition and CLOS Standard Edition. Note, though, that the online version of CLOS, which can still be found on the Web as an ISO file, does not include WordPerfect.

8.1 is also thought of as the best of the WordPerfect for Linux programs. There was a later version, WordPerfect 9 for Linux, but it really wasn’t a Linux program. It was the Win32 edition of the program with its own special version of WINE. It never, by universal agreement, ran very well.

But, all that said, if you want to do it — and are careful with the installation — you can still run WordPerfect 8.0, 8.1, or even 9.0 on Linux. For many of you, this may seem like way too much trouble for way too little result, but if you really like WordPerfect, I’m sure you’re already downloading a copy of 8.0 in another window.

One Comment

Leave a Reply