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November 2, 1999

Corel-PC Chips Deal Leads to Far Greater Exposure for Linux

By CBR Staff Writer

A deal struck in March 1999 between Corel Corp and the PC Chips Group has led to a coup for open source operating system Linux. PC Chips has said it will bundle Corel Linux with every computer motherboard package it ships around the world. WordPerfect 8 for Linux is also included in the deal, which originally covered only WordPerfect Suite 8 OEM for Windows. The companies have agreed to jointly market their products, on and offline.

PC Chips shipped 15 million motherboards in 1998. It’s also a major seller of CD-ROMs, floppy drives, modems, graphics boards, monitors, cases, power supplies and other peripherals. It hopes to move 20 million motherboards and white box units in 2000. For a PC supplier of this magnitude to ship Linux on all its hardware is a remarkable act of faith in the hacker OS.

It’s also quite a feat for Corel’s Linux distribution, whose developers concentrated on making the graphical user interface easier to use. The software is still in beta test, but the company hopes to launch it on November 15 at Comdex in Las Vegas. While Corel Linux is designed to be as simple as Windows and, thanks to the PC Chips deal, pervasive, executives warn that it’s still not for everyone. Its ideal users are those who want good value and the applications that run best under Linux – many of which are Corel’s. This is not, then, the deal that brings Linux to the corporate desktop, but it’s still a pretty significant step.

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