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Interview: Corel's Linux VP on the Microsoft deal


(IDG) -- LinuxWorld managed to collar Rene Schmidt, executive VP of Corel's Linux product group, and ask him a few questions about the impact of the announced investment by Microsoft in Corel on Corel's Linux plans.

LinuxWorld: Why the partnership with Microsoft?

Rene Schmidt: Fundamentally -- you've probably heard [new Corel CEO] Derek [Burney] mention it in the past -- the friendship that we've had in the past with Microsoft is something that we want to bring back to the mainframe. [We want] to work together on the initiative because we recognize some of the same directions that Microsoft is taking with the .Net platform.

That is something that we are very interested in, bringing our applications to the Web. And that really fits in very nicely. It's kind of like what we did back in Windows 95, when we created Win95 versions at the same time as the launch of Windows 95, and it was really cool to work together towards a successful new platform.

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LinuxWorld: With the recent investment by Microsoft, many people in the Linux community are concerned about your various Linux projects getting derailed. What effect will there be on your Linux ambitions?

Rene Schmidt: Essentially, with Linux, we are very committed to it. And the agreement, or partnership, or alliance, whatever you want to call it, with Microsoft is not anti-Linux or anything. It is really about .Net. It is really about the Web.... [Linux is] not really any different than any other platform, whether it is a Macintosh platform or a Windows platform that provides services through the application. So from our point of view it is not something that hampers what we are doing on Linux. In fact, it provides new opportunities in Linux.

LinuxWorld: So your next release of Corel Linux will come out on schedule and as planned?

Rene Schmidt: Yes. We are working on a server edition and we are also working on an enhanced version of the desktop and the server combined together to provide enterprise solutions. They are slated for next year.

LinuxWorld: Will you continue to work with and support the Wine project, and will you continue to use Wine to bring your traditionally Windows applications to Linux?

Rene Schmidt: Yeah, currently we have WordPerfect and CorelDraw, we've done those two main suites. Where we are right now is that those are two main investments at this point, and what we are doing is we are looking at the desktop market on Linux and trying to expand it as well.

It will be based really on customer demand; that is what is going to drive us in terms of what we do next on applications for Linux. In terms of Wine itself, we still support it; we have been working with the community to come up with a 1.0 version of Wine and we are hoping that that is going to allow a lot of other ISVs to move their applications more rapidly over to Linux.

LinuxWorld: Will Corel be the first to bring Linux to the .Net platform?

Rene Schmidt: Well, if I have anything to do with it, I think I would like to, for sure. We all have those kind of aspirations to bring the best of services through the Web to our customers and .Net is definitely, from our point of view, one of the best ways to go. So if we can do it through .Net, that will be a goal for us.

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