There have been many different word processing programs written for use on the PC. One early program that became popular was Word Star. This program ran on DOS and provided markup capabilities using control keys. As word processors were further developed Wordperfect superseded Word Star as the defacto standard also using control and function keys to perform markup. These early word processors could not display pages in a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) way but instead had to provide a preview function to allow the formatting to be checked before printing.
When windows came along this all changed. Microsoft Word which had been around for some time challenged Wordperfect for the top spot. The two word processors have fairly equal functionality with their windows versions and it took several years before Microsoft Word finally gained the upper hand. Since then Wordperfect has passed through several different ownerships, first being sold to Novel and again more recently to Corel. Microsoft Word and Corel Wordperfect both have similar functionality but different methods for storing the page markup. Each now forms part of a larger office suite that also includes spreadsheet and presentation programs as well as numerous other features. Wordperfect can usually be obtained for a cheaper price than Word due to its lower popularity.
Recently, another office suite with word processing functionality has arisen to challenge the supremacy of Microsoft Word. This is StarOffice which was recently purchased by Sun. StarOffice provides equivalent functionality to Word and Wordperfect, it runs on OS/2 and Linux as well as windows and it is free. Recently Sun also decided to release the source code to StarOffice so that anyone with programming skills can now add to the functionality of the product and integrate their own programs and utilities with it.
This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.