I began using Linux as a desktop operating system around 1993, two years after Linux was created. Countless developers, engineers and hackers were doing the same. But at that point, it wasn’t what most people would recognize as a desktop OS. The credit for creating and marketing the first Linux desktop designed for ordinary users goes to Corel Corp., which launched Corel Linux OS 10 years ago, in November 1999.
Corel was then a Windows software company, but its founder, Michael Cowpland, wanted to do bigger, better things. Corel had already had some success in 1998 with its Linux-powered NetWinder small office/home office server appliance and its WordPerfect word processor on Linux.
Corel Linux was built on top of the Debian 2.2.12 Linux kernel and used the KDE 1.1.2 desktop environment. Besides WordPerfect and the usual Linux applications (such as Emacs for text editing and programming), it also included alpha versions of the company’s Quattro Pro spreadsheet and CorelDraw graphics programs for Linux.