Novell, WP

Christopher Browne cbbrowne-Re5JQEeQqe8AvxtiuMwx3w at
Fri Nov 18 16:46:36 UTC 2005

On 11/17/05, Lennart Sorensen <lsorense-1wCw9BSqJbv44Nm34jS7GywD8/FfD2ys at> wrote:
> On Tue, Nov 15, 2005 at 08:26:10PM -0500, William Park wrote:
> > I still don't understand why they sold WordPerfect.  They could've
> > ported that to Linux, and everybody would be talking about Novell's WP
> > instead of Sun's OO.  In fact, Novell could have owned GUI desktop on
> > Linux.
> In my opinion WP never survived the transition to a GUI.  The 5.x
> versions for windows were awful, the 6.x series in general were awful,
> and the 7.x series (once Corel took over) were only slightly better.
> The 4.x versions for Amiga were not exactly successful either and the
> users there looked at the text program in a window and wondered why
> someone wanted over $500 for that, when for under $200 they could buy a
> nice WYSIWYG word processor, although one with a lot less lawyer
> features than wordperfect (although not being lawyers, most users didn't
> care about the missing features, and prefered the features they gained
> and actually used).

I think you're right, there.

I was never particularly keen on WP; its means of operations never
agreed with me, as I had learned LaTeX instead.

But I certainly did respect its functionality in a way that I have
*never* respected MS Word and it's ilk.  WordPerfect, along with
XYWrite <>, was a respectable,
powerful word processor.  Even if I didn't like it much, I could
predict what WP would do; its "modal" operation always made it
user-visible what was going on.  Furthermore, while I preferred
LaTeX's capabilities for automatically managing various tables of
sorts of contents and bibliographic information, WP was, albeit at the
cost of some manual effort to manage biblio info, eminently suitable
for building documents of nearly arbitrarily large size.

Word has been just a disaster in that regard; only once we now have GB
workstations does it not cause systems to groan in agony at large

And I recall doing a test, way back when, on an Atari Mega ST (1MB
RAM).  I took the text of the Bible, and ran it through LaTeX, with a
bit of autogenerated thin markup, just to verify that I could process
it.  There were NO issues with getting LaTeX to handle a
multiple-of-thousands page document, on a machine with not nearly
enough memory to load the whole document in all at once.  I suspect
that would have made WP blow up, though it would have tried hard :-). 
The notion of running Word without having hundreds of times as much
memory as I had back then is just laughable.  And processing such a
large document without having THOUSANDS of times as much memory seems
implausible... doesn't strike me as being fundamentally better than
Word in any manner other than licensing and, I suppose, "lack of
producers' evilness" ;-).
"The true  measure of a  man is how he treats  someone who can  do him
absolutely no good." -- Samuel Johnson, lexicographer (1709-1784)
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