"One of the intriguing aspects of LibreOffice, the
OpenOffice.org fork, is that everything is open to debate. However,
this atmosphere also means that the old debate about supporting
proprietary Microsoft formats -- specifically the newer OOXML
format -- is being revived. The trouble with this debate is that it
is endless, since it is a specific example of the longstanding
conflict of convenience and ethics in free software, and strong
arguments exist on both sides.
"The latest round in this old debate seems to have been sparked
by an article published by Groklaw on December 20, 2010, which
documents Novell's involvement in promoting the OOXML format. Ten
days later, a message on a LibreOffice mailing list cited the
Groklaw article, threatening a boycott of LibreOffice and
declaring, "There is absolutely no need to write in this
proprietary format. To do so is contrary to the principle of using
[Open Document Format] and open source formats."
"A discussion of the pros and cons followed. It became lengthy
enough that, a month later, The Document Foundation, the
organization that develops LibreOffice, posted an FAQ in which it
stated that, while it advocated using Open Document Format, it
included OOXML support as a convenience for users. In effect, The
Document Foundation left the dilemma of what to do up to each user
-- just as distributions like Debian and Ubuntu provide proprietary
drivers, but leave users to decide whether to install them. The
decision is unlikely to satisfy those who threatened a boycott,
although many might argue that it is simply realistic."
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