Review: CorelDraw 9 Graphics Suite for Linux
Obtaining CorelDraw 9 Graphics Suite
In June, we took a look at a beta of CorelDraw 9 Graphics Suite for Linux. CorelDraw, a vector illustration program, has a long and positive history in the Windows world, where it has handled plenty of the graphics design tasks most smaller businesses require. The accompanying element of the suite, Corel Photo-Paint, is a fairly competent bitmap/paint/photo-editing program, similar in the tasks it performs to what you'll find in the GIMP.
Since then, the suite has gone into final release as a shrink-wrapped package. Though there aren't a lot of changes to the software since our last look, it's easier now to make some definitive statements about the suite with regards to the quality of the software and documentation.
The basic requirements for the suite are fairly modest: A Linux 2.2-based distribution with either glibc 2.0 or 2.1, a Pentium 200, 64 MB of RAM, and 255 MB of hard drive space are all that's required.
The CorelDRAW suite is available at a suggested retail price of $199. For that, buyers get a box with three CDs containing CorelDRAW 9, Photo-PAINT 9, and a clipart/fonts CD; a manual of about 150 pages devoted to each program; and a third bound catalog of all the fonts and clipart included on the third disc. The box also comes with a 12" tall inflatable penguin.
Corel has also made the Photo-PAINT element of the suite available as a no-cost download. A tarball is available for what the download site describes as "Debian or RPM-based distributions," or there are .debs and RPM files available. The tarball weighs in at around 180 MB, the .deb's and .rpm's are about 90 MB apiece.
The CorelDRAW suite comes with a graphical installer, which is run from the top directory of the CD. The installer autodetects the distribution on which the user is installing the suite, and correctly identified two of our test machines: one running Debian 2.2, another running Red Hat 7. If the installer should, however, fail to correctly identify the distribution in use, a drop-down menu allows the user to select the appropriate distribution from a list of prominent distributions. There's a good new-user-friendly touch added here. The suite really only comes in two archive formats: a collection of RPM's and a collection of .deb's. The installer, however, was designed around the potential ignorance of new users when it comes to their Linux systems, and names a variety of distributions. Granted, many users will be perfectly familiar with which package format their distribution uses, but it's a considerate touch on Corel's part nonetheless.
The installer offers a choice of whether to install CorelDRAW, Photo-PAINT, or both. It adds entries to the menu systems of the distributions themselves, but avoided adding anything to the GNOME or KDE2 menus on our test systems. We would have liked to see menu entries added for each of the popular desktop environments, but that's not the worst oversight ever, even if it may confuse new users.