CorelDRAW Graphics Suite

Installation

Installing the CorelDRAW Graphics Suite for Linux is very simple: mount the CD-ROM (which is done automatically by some desktop environments when you insert the CD) and execute the installation script "install". The installation time from start to finish is about 10 minutes.

The only problem I encountered was when starting CorelDRAW for the first time by typing coreldraw at the command prompt. An error message appeared saying that no font server was running and FontTastic was not installed. I installed the FontTastic rpm file manually from the CD, and both CorelDRAW and Corel PHOTO-PAINT then loaded.

To install the CorelDRAW Graphics Suite you will need, as a minimum, Linux Kernel 2.2, X Windows, glibc 2.0 and either the Red Hat Package Management (RPM) or Debian GNU/Linux package management utilities. Corel also recommends that you install the suite on a minimum Pentium 200 with 64MB of RAM with 255MB of hard disk space for a complete install.

CorelDRAW

When you begin using CorelDRAW you are presented with five options: start a new graphic, open last edited, open a graphic, start CorelTUTOR and launch Designer.com, Corel's graphic design Web portal. Beginning a new drawing reveals a blank window, which is the default template. Here you can apply the multitude of tools available to create drawings using basic shapes, lines and curves. Once you have created an object, arranging and transforming it can be done with a minimum of effort.

Some of the more advanced features of CorelDRAW include tools for the blending and distortion of graphics, as "well as the ability to create drop shadows, transparencies and contours. The second CD contains a series of templates that will help you to create documents quickly, such as business cards, calendars, invoices and letter heads.

Corel PHOTO-PAINT

Corel PHOTO-PAINT is a photo-editing and image manipulation program. As with CorelDRAW, you are given options in a startup menu when you begin; however, PHOTO-PAINT has an additional scan image button. The interface for both programs is similar, with the exception of PHOTO-PAINT's object window which also details individual layers. In addition to all the tools you would expect from an image manipulator, such as resizing and cropping, PHOTO-PAINT gives you the option of working with shapes and other drawing tools.

Fonts, images and clip art

The third CD contains a library of fonts, clip art images and photos. To complement this CD, the Libraries Catalogue booklet provides a good reference for discovering which fonts are available without having to search through the CD. The next section displays the clip art in colour and is divided into themes such as animals, phones and landmarks. The 1000 photo images are presented in a similar way.

General features

Many features of the CorelDRAW Graphics Suite are worth mentioning. Both CorelDRAW and Corel PHOTO-PAINT have Web and PDF publishing options, through which the user guides take you. Interestingly, these applications have not been coded for Linux but, rather, run under Corel's version of Wine, a Windows application server for Linux. Corel claims that the release has been "tuned" for Linux, with some of the Windows-specific features removed and some Linux-specific features added, but the source code is essentially for Windows.

I found the suite very usable with Linux and overall performance was good. CorelDRAW Graphics Suite for Linux is expected for release in Australia next year, but visit Corel's Web site at http://linux.corel.com for further information. The suite is expected to be priced at approximately $US199.

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