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  Office Pakete If you want to use Linux in an office you need office programs with a lot of colored buttons and controls.
You find three rivals all with the same philosophy.
[ Applixware | StarOffice | WordPerfect | KOffice | SIAG ]

One for all, or just for itself?
The first (big) officesolution for Linux was Applixware. This packet was first available for Unix and later for WINDOWS completely in contrast to the two rivals, StarOffice and WordPerfect.
Later followed StarDivision with Star-Office 3.0 which was free for Linux and noncommercial usage but not for WINDOWS.
Since the last year (1998) Corel  has sent its WordPerfect on the market.
 
Applixwar-Icon
Applixware
Applixware is in contrast to the two antagonists not free. I do not have much experiences with this program but I had a view on the demo version.
Applixware has been fitted perfectly for Linux. Copy and Paste work together with many other X-applications and the appearance is adapted very well but it looks a little bit old. Word processor, spreadsheet, graphic program, mail and so on are all integrated into Applixware, everything with a good documentation. Colors, fonts and other functions are eligible as you wish.
This is a stable and well thought out officesolution. So if you have the money it is a good choice.
 
StarOffice Icon
StarOffice 5.0
StarOffice has been free for Linux and noncommercial usage and since the release 5.0 it has been free for all operating systems.
The motto "Do everything in one place" is completed "perfectly". In contrast to the normal UNIX-philosophy (use for every small task a special program) they put everything in one packet. The advantage is the shorter learn process because the structure is everywhere the same but on the other hand the normal user gets many more functions than he/she will use in his/her life because there are other native Linux solutions with more comfort. Who would use this monster program (162 MB hard disk space) just to read news, write e-mails or browse in the web? Not me. StarOffice has its own desktop with its own "Win95-start-buttons". Does it surprise that the Linux user do not like StarOffice? (The desktop is not a windowmanager but StarOffice offers some identical functions)

To keep StarOffice as portable as possible file dialogs and other dialogs are not opened by the X-server but in an own window which is only moveable inside the StarOffice window. There is no other way than to maximize the StarOffice window to keep the overview. An additional disadvantage of this portability is the speed. My P133 with 32 MB RAM   needs sometimes 4 to 5 seconds to open a StarOffice menu. At least 128 MB are necessary if your swap should keep cool.

The UNIX integration of StarOffice is worse. The file dialogs are completely different from the "UNIX standard" and are more WINDOWS-like, but not the same. (Hint: Press the button at the right top nearly 3 seconds and an additional menu will open. What a surprise?!). I had the feeling that  StarOffice is used together with a WINDOWS emulator.

There are positive aspects, too. The word processor is quite good and usable for short texts. The same with the spreadsheet. A real highlight is the graphical part which generates 3D objects with OpenGL support, with textures, light-sources and shadows.
The stability has not been improved significantly since the presentation at the CeBit 1998. At that time the program crashed in front of my eyes at a big screen - even the hand which was placed on the projector could not hide what happened. They told us that the fault has its source in the operating system which was WINDOWS 95. Under Linux StarOffice crashes regularly and saving is much more necessary than ever before. Nevertheless, StarOffice is usable especially because it is free.
 
WordPerfect - Logo
 WordPerfect 8.0
Corel tries an other direction. Instead of using one program for everything you find for every work a single program which is connected very well. Until now you have just found for Linux the word processor WordPerfect but Corel works permanently to complete the spreadsheet and the paint program.
WordPerfect is free for private usage and is worth a download.
The frontend is programmed in Motif and works surprisingly fast. It is not overcrowded with functions and the user should find his way quite easy. WordPerfect runs quite stable and has no problems with longer texts. On the other hand the printer configuration makes problems for the first times. If your printer is not supported you have to evade to postscript-passthrough but than you just get black'n'white prints. Stability, fast speed and many Import/Export filters make  WordPerfect a good choice if you want to write texts and increase their design.
 
Texteditor Icon
 KOffice - Siag - and other

Additional you find programs which are programmed by private people under a GPL (GNU Public License). 
There is SIAG (Scheme In A Grid) created by Ulric Eriksson, a spreadsheet with a GTK surface.
A big highlight is also KOffice because it has used Corba much more than every other KDE program until now. With KOffice it is possible to include parts from other KDE programs in your text. The whole program is designed modular and you are able to choose your favorite word processor while you construct graphics with an other program. KOffice arranges all these parts together. KOffice is still in an early development level and is not usable for convenient work.
MakerSoft wants to publish a version of its OfficeSuite for Linux in the future but this program will not be free.

It seems that the future will be still interesting.
 

Links
Applixware http://www.applix.com/
StarOffice http://www.stardivision.de
WordPerfect http://linux.corel.com/
KOffice http://koffice.kde.org/
SIAG http://www.edu.stockholm.se/siag/
 
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