In the upcoming release of Manjaro Linux, users will be able to select between open source LibreOffice and proprietary FreeOffice at the time of installation.
The choice of FreeOffice and LibreOffice in Manjaro Linux
In the last week of July, Manjaro Linux suddenly decided to drop the popular open source productivity suite LibreOffice in favor of Softmaker’s FreeOffice. The decision faced heavy criticism from people who prefer using open source software.
The Manjaro team listened to the community feedback and modified its decision of including FreeOffice as the default office suite. From next release, users will get the option to choose between FreeOffice and LibreOffice while installing Manjaro Linux.
What’s the deal with FreeOffice?
FreeOffice is free of cost but not open source. It is the limited version of Softmaker’s premium office suite. The Softmaker office suite is known for its compatibility with Microsoft office. Both Softmaker and FreeOffice are available on Linux desktop but you need to pay for Softmaker. FreeOffice is available free of cost but it doesn’t have all the features of Softmaker.
Manjaro dev Philip Muller clarified that there had been no money exchanged (yet) from this deal.
On the other hand, Softmaker notified that FreeOffice users can now save in Microsoft Office specific formats like DOC, XLS, PPT. This feature was added as part of their agreement with Manjaro Linux.
FreeOffice or LibreOffice? What’s your choice?
Personally, I am glad that Manjaro Linux changed its earlier decision and took a more balanced approach about including the proprietary software.
There are a few Linux distributions that are determined to include only open source software (like Trisquel) but Manjaro is not one of them. Manjaro Linux is more mainstream and it (seems to) cater to the need of a regular user who would be happy to get his/her work done without going into details of whether or not the software is open source.
What do you think of this episode? Do you agree with Manjaro’s decision to include FreeOffice as an option? Do share your opinion in the comment section below.