AXENE December 20, 1999

TECHDISPATCH - Mining the Technology Field



by Eric Foster-Johnson

December 20th, 1999

TODAY: The Axene Office Suite

Along with the big players, like Sun's StarOffice and Corel's WordPerfect, Axene provides a little-known suite of up-and-coming applications, at

Axene's suite includes XAllWrite, a word processor, XQuad, a spreadsheet, and Xclamation, a desktop publishing package. All applications are available in English, French, German, and Spanish, showing Axene's commitment to international users.

Axene extends this commitment to operating systems as well. Axene supports most UNIX platforms, including the majors like Solaris and HP-UX, as well as some minor versions, including DG/UX. On the free operating system front, Axene supports Linux, of course, as well as the FreeBSD and NetBSD versions of Berkeley UNIX. Written using the Motif toolkit, all Axene applications require the X Window System, provided by XFree86 on Linux.

You can download the applications for a free 30-day trial. The costs are cheap, especially for the free O.S. versions, at $25 per application. The normal license is $120, and floating licenses are available too.

Right now, the major applications, such as XAllWrite, are at version 1.0 beta. XAllWrite, like most UNIX applications, supports PostScript printing. Similar to Adobe's FrameMaker, XAllWrite provides the concept of frames to help lay out your text.

XQuad claims to provide over 100 mathematical functions. Like XAllWrite, it supports PostScript printing.

The only major element missing in all these applications lies in file-format compatibility with the major players, especially Microsoft.

If this isn't an issue, Axene, with its support for multiple UNIX versions and cheap prices, fills a niche for office software.

*Editor's note: Merry Christmas -- this column will resume on January 3rd.

Eric Foster-Johnson has written 14 books on Linux, UNIX, programming, and open source tools. He can be reached at or at

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