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Interview with Mike Cowpland, Corel CEO

In 5 years, Linux will become the more dominant operating system in terms of

Unix. Windows will be more involved with back-end applications like it is today.

Why did Corel decide to develop its own distribution rather than adopting or

embracing an existing one?

We did look at several distributions but found them very limited. They were

difficult to install and use and required an expert, which we did not find

acceptable. In Linux, when something is not happening, the best thing is to do

it yourself and that is exactly what we did. As compared to any other

distribution, we received the highest rating of 9 from CNET in addition to

being CNET's Editor's Choice, whereas Red Hat has received a rating of 8.

Corel is primarily known as a company developing Graphic suites and Office

suites. Does this give a feeling that Corel is losing its focus of developing


Not really, a tremendous amount of User Interface has been worked at with

programs such as CorelDraw. In Linux, it is a world team effort with each

organization doing what its best at. The kernel is still being developed by the

kernel people and we simply use it. We don't have to reduplicate that work.

We are best at the user interface and we are doing that. With our 50 million

Windows users worldwide we have very rich experience with that. We have

made the user interface really easy to use and the fact that our distribution

has been well received proves it.

Corel has been a Windows developers and is now a Linux developer. Does it

affect your relationship with Microsoft?

We have always had a good relationship with Microsoft and continue to do so. We

use Visual Basic and they use our components. We can focus in certain other

areas, which I think in some ways it is going to be good for Microsoft. They

are, as you know, getting hammered for being a monopoly. Microsoft will do

better when they have competition OS around.

What do you think is better. Being a Linux Developer or being a Windows


We actually like being a multi-platform developer. Otherwise one company has

too much control over computer manufacturers - they can dictate terms. They

can insist that you bundle certain things or put logos in certain places, which

Microsoft has been known to do. I don't think that's good for anybody. Being

in the multi-platform world is healthier while maintaining connectivity,