The headlines continue to roll out for Manjaro (which is now an official company), and this one puts an official end to the short-lived controversy surrounding the company’s decision to include the proprietary office suite FreeOffice in Manjaro 18.1. The latest stable version of the Arch-based Linux distribution is available now with a ton of new features, and a new choice to make during installation.
First let’s highlight the big changes to the distribution itself.
The standout feature is definitely the integrated FlatPak and Snap package support, which is managed through “bauh” (you may formerly recognize it as “fpakman”). Between the Manjaro repositories, the AUR and now FlatPaks and Snaps, there’s no shortage of available software and that’s certain to be a major draw for a lot of people.
Manjaro’s main desktop editions also get a ton of enhancements including Xfce 4.14 and its new “Matcha” theme, the “high gloss” of KDE 5.16 and its completely overhauled notification system, and Gnome 3.32 with its HiDPi enhancements like fractional scaling for Wayland desktop sessions.
And of course we see the first fruits of the partnership between Manjaro and Germany’s SoftMaker, which gives the user a choice between the FOSS mainstay LibreOffice (which up until now has been automatically pre-installed), or the non-paid version of FreeOffice.
Or simply no office suite at all!
As I covered here, the latest version of FreeOffice takes a few welcome strides forward. The company is targeting “seamless compatibility” with Microsoft Office. In pursuit of that, the latest version allows both opening and saving of classic Office formats like DOC, PPT and XLS, in addition to native DOCX, XLSX and PPTX functionality. You’ll even see LibreOffice’s ODT format as an option now.
Plus, of course, the obligatory dark mode.
Will this tempt you into trying FreeOffice? Let me hear your opinion on Twitter or Mastodon.
Manjaro 18.1 is available to download here.
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