Corel Corporation announced this week that it is shipping WordPerfect Office 2000 for Linux, bringing the Linux version of its popular Office suite to functional parity with the Windows version, which was released last fall. WordPerfect Office 2000 for Linux will ship in Standard and Deluxe editions for $110 and $160 respectively; the products are expected to appear in retail stores by April.

"Corel WordPerfect Office 2000 for Linux fulfills Corel's promise to provide world-class applications for Linux and is the turning point in making Linux a reality on the desktop," says Corel president and CEO Dr. Michael Cowpland. "This outstanding program puts Corel out in front as a leader of Linux technology on the desktop and brings us closer to the use of Linux in the mainstream."

Corel WordPerfect Office 2000 for Linux includes WordPerfect 9, Quattro Pro 9, Corel Presentations 9, CorelCentral 9, Netscape Navigator, and a number of other utilities, fonts, clipart images, photos, and the like. Deluxe edition adds Paradox 9, the full Communicator suite, more fonts, clipart, and photos, and an entertainment pack of game demos. Both versions will include Corel's popular Linux distribution and an OS printing enhancement package.

Corel WordPerfect Office 2000 joins other office suites on the Linux platform, such as Sun StarOffice and ApplixWare, but the Corel offering is clearly the most potent threat to Microsoft and its Office suite, which currently runs only on Windows and the Macintosh, though the Mac product generally lags one version behind. Though Linux has not made any real inroads in the desktop market that is currently dominated by Windows, it's only a matter of time before improvements in the user interface, ease of use, and application support areas change this situation dramatically. Corel's release of WordPerfect Office 2000 is clearly a major milestone in this endeavor, because it brings the full functionality of a Windows-like office suite to Linux users for the first time