freeoffice as default in Manjaro 18.1-rc6 ISOs

I tested the new Manjaro 18.1-rc6 ISO which is coming with freeoffice by default. This test was triggered by todays annoucement for stable: [Stable Update] 2019-08-01 - Kernels, fpakman, Firmware, KDE-Git, Browsers, Java, XFCE 4.14-pre3, Haskell

This thread is not about liking or not liking freeoffice and it is not about the fact that the user can uninstall it and install libreoffice instead. This thread is about the implications this move has for Linux in general.

Every new user will get freeoffice per default and no libreoffice is installed. Freeoffice is the default mime handler for any office document:

Freeoffice can read ODT documents but it can not write them. Freeoffice is only writing/creating proporietary file formats. This is either the Microsoft office format or the softmaker in-house format:

With this setup new Manjaro users will start creating proprietary documents from now on. Most of them will not deliberately switch to libreoffice. Most of them will not care. This is the behaviour we have seen in the Windows world when Windows was bundled with Word or Internet Explorer โ€“ casual users are not typically looking left and right - and this is the behaviour we will see in the Manjaro world.

The open source community was going a long way to get the ODF document formate ISO certified (ISO/IEC 26300 โ€“ Open Document Format for Office Applications; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenDocument).

From my point of view this is the document format that any linux distribution should fully support out-of-the-box . Manjaro is the first community driven distro not doing that. I dont care what Ubuntu or Red Hat or SuSE are doing because they are companies. But for a community driven distro this is a no-go for me. This is a slap in the face for the whole open source community. The implications are dramatic from my point of view. Think about it!

And by the way, softmaker could easily make the full ODF support available in freeoffice. But to get it you have to buy their product. Full ODF support is only available in their โ€žSoftmaker Office NX Homeโ€œ product which cost 3 Euros per month: https://www.softmaker.com/en/comparison-freeoffice-softmaker-office . I strongly hope that this business model will never fly in the Linux world.

When this freeoffice-is-the-default thing is finally released in a stable Manjaro ISO image I will call it a bad day for the Linux community.

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Hello,

Please listen to Linux Unplugged, Philm has explained why this has happened and being this is a test release, it doesn't mean it won't do ODF when the final version comes out. From what has been stated, Freeoffice will support ODF as they have a special relationship they are building with Manjaro.

This decision is based on Linux as a whole and not just a distro. The future of Linux will be that proprietary tools will be included so people can do their work. Linux will retain it's freedom in the kernel and other core functions.

Full ODF support is not included in freeoffice. Please follow the link I have shared.
Are you suggesting that softmaker is changing the functional content of freeoffice before the ISOs are released?

Yes, They are listening to what Philm and other will say about the software as it pertains to linux. Softmaker is trying to build a relationship that can allow them to meet the needs of linux users.

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To confirm: the final 18.1 images will not install FreeOffice by default. However, there is a plan to make it available if people want it.

This actually is supposed to be happening. I don't know to what degree yet, but this is an example of a company actively working to make their software appeal to Linux users.

They have a lot of work to do to compete with existing open-source software, but it's up to them to provide a product which people want to pay for.

This probably should have been mentioned in the initial testing release post... it would have saved a lot of grief...

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It does pay to look around a bit on the forum, guys... :wink:


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I only will believe it when I see it. This is the worst move Manjaro ever made in its history.

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Too late. Bad buzz is already spread. And FreeOffice is the best example of crippleware you can find.

I was surprised you can print document in free version :slight_smile:

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Forgive me, but what is worse about it than having links to Microsoft Office Online installed by default? That's not exactly Free/Libre Software either, you know. :thinking:

MS-Office online is only a web wrapper.

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Gasp, wot! You mean actually use Search to do research? What planet are you from? :laughing:

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We'll just have to wait and see.

How many times has Manjaro made an awkward announcement which has been misinterpreted and blown out of all proportion?

We all have to remember that not all of us use English as a first language.


I'll put a note here before the discussion moves too far off topic. Please try to keep this about current issues with FreeOffice.

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But โ”€ and please correct me if I'm wrong โ”€ Microsoft Office Online is still a commercial-only service, no? So you have to buy a subscription in order to be able to use it, or not? :confused:

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As mentioned in the last Stable Update topic, in my opinion this is a viable solution IF none of the options are selected by default and if (philosophical) difference between the two software is well explained at the choose time. I would also give the possibility to not install any office suite at all.

Too many times? :slight_smile:

English it not my mother tongue too. But a bad move is a bad move.

FreeOffice is a crippleware, lesser known than LibreOffice which as powerful as the $60 version of Softmaker Office.

People using free software use it as "free as no money to spend for it".

So FreeOffice is not a good idea at all.

That will be my last word on this thread. I have nothing to add besides this: good luck.

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Well, as I'm not using it, I'm not sure. I think it is Office 365 which is a subscription based service ?!

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...followed immediately by another post... :dizzy_face:

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You can use Microsoft Office Online for free. We also support 356 subscribtion model with our JAK wrapper.

Coming back to topic:

  • initially we wanted to set us part from the pack with this rather controversial bold move.
  • it is best explained why in my interview I gave at the same day our announcement hit the web.

Therefore we do the following from our side:

  • working together with Softmaker to improve things for FreeOffice based on community feedback
  • work together with Calamares developers to establish a module so package selection is possible
  • provide minimal ISOs with only desktop and base system tools pre-installed, for people who want to install their software selection as wanted

We are still in testing phase and strongly listen to our great community their feedback and suggestions for improvements.

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I was a professional Word Processing consultant before the PC even existed. I have used SoftMaker's products on Linux for years. I have also suffered through LibreOffice and MS Office online. Although both products have improved markedly, I still find SoftMaker Office's features the most convenient, and their menu much more sane.

I believe that many Linux desktop users will benefit from the option to install SoftMaker products, and SoftMaker may finally break out of the cone of silence which has surrounded their brand.

Thank you, Manjaro team, for your willingness to experiment and move beyond the status quo.

We are still in testing phase and strongly listen to our great community their feedback and suggestions for improvements.

I'm relieved to hear this. Been using Manjaro for a few years now and though I'm not super active on the forum but up until this past week I have had a monthly donation going for some time. While on the surface defaulting to FreeOffice doesn't seem like that a big of an issue, the way this whole thing unfolded has left me worried about the future of Manjaro.

Aside from the general ease of use Manjaro entails, its active and passionate community is a big plus. Sure, the community doesn't agree on everything (as this recent kerfuffle has shown) but just the fact that this diversity of opinions can be found in a single community could be seen as a strong point. The clear advantage of Linux is its adaptability and at least some general inclination towards respecting its user's freedoms. Manjaro is pretty good at hitting that sweet spot while still being compatible and accessible.

  • work together with Calamares developers to establish a module so package selection is possible
  • provide minimal ISOs with only desktop and base system tools pre-installed, for people who want to install their software selection as wanted

Enshrining this choice from install would be a great step. Sure, right now users can uninstall the one or two features in Manjaro that they find personally objectionable, but if this pattern were to continue then the time and effort required to get one's system set up the way they want it to be would increase, thereby negating one of Manjaro's standout features: an Arch based system that requires a minimal investment to set up.

Like other users have commented, one of the key things that finally drove me from Windows altogether was the amount of disagreeable features and software it came bundled with. Even with tools that were developed to excise or silence these anti-features, it just became too much of a hassle (thankfully Manjaro is still miles away from the disaster that is Windows 10).

On an slightly unrelated note, it's interesting to hear about new applications for Manjaro and all sorts of new hardware projects related to the distro, but that also worries me somewhat, as from my understanding your development team is still pretty small. If efforts are divided then this may divert resources from the core focus of maintaining and developing the distro that brought us all here in the first place.

Though my personal experience on Manjaro has been great, justly or unjustly I often see people accusing Manjaro of being 'sloppy' and listing fumbles that have occurred in its development. Much of it is down to the sectarian nature of the Linux world and most if not all issues were thoroughly addressed a long time ago, but for a beginner friendly distribution, reputation is very important. An experienced Linux user can delve into the details for themselves and verify that Manjaro works well and is reasonably secure, private and efficient, but an amateur cannot. They listen to the experts, or sometimes just the loud voices that sound authoritative.

No disrespect meant to you or the development team with any of this. I appreciate the work that goes in to Manjaro and the long way this distribution has come in recent years.

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