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My name is Raffaele Mancuso. I am a PhD student at the Polytechnic University of Milan.

I have decided to switch definitely to Ubuntu after some time I had it in double boot.

My co-workers use Microsoft® Office and their documents are technically pretty complete in terms of the features used.

Unfortunately LibreOffice is unable to open them without breaking their layout (yes, I have all the Microsoft® fonts installed and configured through fontconfig).

I have submitted some bugs to the bug tracker so far, 3 of them regarding interoperability issues, but TDF is a small non-profit organization (11 people) and it's doing the best it could.


1. Users reviewing LibreOffice releases have pointed out for some time interoperability problems with Microsoft® Office. See for example here <>.

2. As of today LibreOffice has 1268 bugs <> marked as FILEOPEN and 611 bugs <> marked as FILESAVE.

3. Interoperability problems are also seen by LibreOffice developers, see for example here <> where Figure 1 showing the new math import from PPTX is still broken with respect to the reference rendering in Figure 2 (for instance, formula 8,9,10 are not shown)

4. Microsoft® Office seems to hold about 40% of the market share for Office suites (see here <>), while LO has 200 million users. People using Microsoft® Office would more easily switch to LO if they have full-interoperability with the file format they have used to save all their files.

5. Firms in the LO ecosystem (like Collabora and CIB) seems to contribute to fix interoperability problems. See for example Release Notes for 7.0 here <> and this blog <>. They probably have access to the OOXML documents of their clients and have the developers to fix the interoperability problems.

6. The LO website claims <>: "LibreOffice is compatible with a wide range of document formats such as Microsoft® Word (.doc, .docx), Excel (.xls, .xlsx), PowerPoint (.ppt, .pptx) and Publisher". It's important to deliver what we promise so as not to disappoint our new users.

7. Full compatibility seems to be achievable. For instance, I tried WPS® Office and did not have any compatibility problem so far (but I had compatibility issues with SoftMaker® Office 2021).


I here propose to launch a crowdfunding campaign to implement full interoperability with Microsoft® Office formats. I can launch and manage the campaign if you wish.

In particular, I thought about these steps:

1. Create a "Microsoft® Office team" with the purpose to create a dataset of Microsoft® Office documents with increasing complexity.

For example, the dataset may contain such files as:

* ./docx/1.Text.docx




And so on. We would then update a wiki page with the files of the dataset that we support and the ones which we don't yet.

I can make a contribution here.

2. Hire some developers and pay them a good salary to implement interoperability, in particular:

2.1. Submit patches to LO that improve interoperability with Microsoft® Office formats

2.2. Document the Microsoft extensions to the OOXML(*) format (is the "plain" format fully-specified in ECMA-376 <>, in ISO/IEC 29500 <> and also here <>?)

3. I think we should handle font substitution better. For example, when we open a file and fonts are missing, LO should display a window with a list of missing fonts in the first column, the font that have been used as a substitute in the second column, and whether the font used as substitute is metric-compatible with the missing fonts (otherwise the layout will break, see here <>) in the third column. Moreover, LO should have a dataset of free metric-compatible fonts (like Carlito to substitute for Calibri).


So I open this thread to collect your feedback on this proposal.

What do you think?

What changes do you suggest to the plan outlined above?

How many people we should hire, how much should we pay them, and how much money should we overall collect in the campaign?

Best regards,

Raffaele Mancuso

(*) The second O in OOXML actually stands for <> "Open" and not for "Obscure"

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