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 – 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 – 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 „Softmaker Office NX Home“ 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.