We have a great relationship with Softmaker, the manufacturer behind FreeOffice. It is a solid German company, which exists since more than 30 years in the business. They approached us to add their software to our repositories. During our talks we offered to add it even on our ISOs.
With 18.1-rc5 and 18.1-rc6 we implemented it and waited for the reaction of the community. As expected it was mixed. Some are happy to finally being happy to be able to open DOCX and other MS-Office files finally under Linux, others simply don't like the fact of proprietary software for fundamental applications like an office.
Having proprietary drivers is a different story, as this enables your hardware with all the features you had paid for.
Based on the reaction of the community Softmaker is currently considering to update their FreeOffice with the following PRO features:
- Enable to save in DOC, XLSX, PPT additionally
- Enable to save also in ODT
- Enable the Dark Mode
They are open for feedback and try to implement the user needs when possible. Also when our community finds issue, we have a direct line to them to report and get fast fixes delivered.
We are at a point that proprietary software can also work on Linux. The only difference is, that they have to protect their software, as it pays their bills. About 70% of the code is reused in their products. As OnlyOffice for example has opensourced their base version, there might be also a possibility for Softmaker to do the same, however this might need a lot of discussions at their end, as they still have to protect their special ingredients, which makes their products work.