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Italo, I will focus here only on the major issues and postpone what I deem the minor ones to our future chat.

Thanks for the message. Ineroperability is definitely a topic worth of further efforts. I am adding some comments to your message, but the best option is probably to organize a chat after FOSDEM, the largest FOSS virtual event, planned for February 6/7 (too busy before).

Sure for the chat.

There have already been specific projects about interoperability, funded by different entities. There is a team in Hungary working full time for OOXML interoperability.

So, the idea is not new, and launching a different project seems less obvious than supporting existing ones.

Can't the new people we hire support and work together with the team in Hungary?

We know rather well the OOXML format [...]

Thanks for the video.

Although I fail to understand some points, for instance, how the fact that a document saved by MSO can be shorter/longer somewhat implies that the standard is being violated.

Although I understand how it hampers interoperability.

OOXML TRansitional, as a non standard bridge with legacy Office formats,

You say that the Transitional format is non standard.

Then what is the purpose of Part 4 of OOXML (ISO/IEC 29500-4:2016)?

It is titled "Transitional Features".

Is my understanding that, by and large, OOXML Transitional = OOXML Strict + Transitional Features, correct?

By the way, the Italian law - if respected - prohibits the use of OOXML by Public Administrations, as it does not respect many standardization parametres.

No I don't think so, given that Italian judges and the Italian judiciary system are using it <>.

The Italian Ministry of Justice is distributing OOXML files in its website <> (see at the bottom "REGISTRO delle richieste di accesso")

Please see more on this later.

But if I ever get in trouble for using Microsoft Office, I hope the judge would accept a bargain that would have me write 1.000 times "I will not use Microsoft Office anymore" in Writer.

Although I may use Writer wonderful copy-paste capabilities to speed up the penance :)

LibreOffice has a font replacement table, which can be configured by the user, and ships with several fonts which are designed to be metrically compatible with Office fonts (for instance, the Liberation family).

Other metrically compatible fonts can be installed by the user (shipping all these fonts would dramatically increase the size of the installer).

(1) I don't agree that the increase in file size by embedding fonts would be a problem. Nowadays kids download 30 GB videogames over the internet.

(2) Anyway, I am thinking at maintaining a git repository with substitute fonts. I had a look at them, and most of them seems to be released under a license that allows redistribution. It looks to me, for what I was able to see, that collecting those substitutes fonts and use mscorefonts for the (few) ones missing (like Wingdings) would provide a very solid base for interoperability on the font front. It may be a good base for a future LibreOffice official database of substitute fonts?

(3) I thought more generally at handling them better. The first time I opened a document that used Calibri with LibreOffice, it was not at all obvious to me that the font name being displayed in italics by LibreOffice meant that the font was being substituted with another one. Maybe when a document uses fonts that are missing on the system, we can have LibreOffice displays a message box that shows which fonts are missing and which ones are being used as substitutes?


I have downloaded the form to exercise GDPR rights from the Italian GDPR authority <>, which is distributed in .docx format (another counter-example to you saying it's illegal).

I have opened it in LibreOffice Writer and here is the result:

The checkboxes are all messed up.

This is absolutely terrible: this is a legal document, and we must be absolutely crystal clear on what rights are being exercised and what the counterparty needs to do.

If I now check the first box, the counterparty will not know what he needs to do. And he would be right.

Here is the reference rendering:

I have opened 5 bugs and will open another one with this after checking whether I can re-distribute that document or else reproduce the bug in a plain one.

But we need to acknowledge that maybe bugs could be handled better by highly-paid programmers (with crowdfunded wages, or donations).


Italo, it is not clear at all what is our position on this.

In the LO website there is written that "LibreOffice is compatible with a wide range of document formats such as Microsoft® Word (.doc, .docx), Excel (.xls, .xlsx), PowerPoint (.ppt, .pptx) and Publisher".

Then, when we talk about interoperability, we (in the post and in the video, you, but I use "we" in an attempt to not sound aggressive) switch our position: OOXML Transitional is non-standard, the standard of 6500 pages is too long, there are proprietary formats instead of SVG, the dates in Excel are saved incorrectly.

1. Is our position that OOXML should and can be supported? Fine, then we need to find a better way to support it

2. Is our position that the entire OOXML standard is a messed up standard, and so it is okay for us to not support it fully? Fine as well.

We have to remove "LO is compatible with Microsoft Word" from website.

We need to say "Microsoft uses OOXML which is a messed up standard for these reasons (link to webpage). We try our best and you might be able to import some documents, but the standard doesn't allow us to work with it".

We also have to pull out LibreOffice from this WIkipedia page: <>.

It is a messed up standard, we are not supporting it.

3. Is our position that we support OOXML Strict, but Microsoft Word is saving in OOXML Transitional, as you state in the video that 100% of the documents are Transitional?

Fine, then we are not "compatible with [...] Microsoft® Word" as stated in the website.

At least not with Microsoft Word default options.

It is saving in Transitional, and we are not supporting it.

Have that Wikipedia page be split in OOXML Strict and OOXML Transitional sections.

Remove LibreOffice from the Transitional section and put Microsoft Office on the Strict section with a note "you need to explicitly export in Strict. It is the one of the last options".

Otherwise, how can we have a talk about interoperability, and states that we should use ODF for interoperability?

That Wikipedia page lists 31 word processors that support OOXML. I am not counting the "viewers" and I have counted all the versions of Microsoft Office only 1 (including mobile, etc.).

And that 31 softwares include LibreOffice and Collabora.

How many softwares do we want a format to be supported by before deeming the format as interoperable?

30 non-Microsoft softwares that support OOXML seems pretty interoperable to me.

If we take (2) or (3), we have to be consistent and maybe convince other softwares to do the same.

I am not at all persuaded that if I open that document in AbiWord it will look good, although I haven't tried.

We could have a hard time with OnlyOffice/WPS, and SoftMaker saying they fully support Microsoft documents no compromise (not true, I had problems with it too. But they will fix them and never say they are not supporting Microsoft documents, which is their flagship marketing statement).

But we might have a better time convincing libre softwares, having them state that they are not supporting OOXML.

Otherwise, how the discussion with the Italian GDPR authority about having them distribute that form in .odt format would turn out?

"Dear authority, by making the form available only in .docx format you are effectively preventing citizens who cannot afford a Microsoft Office license to exercise their rights"

"What???? Use LibreOffice, their website says they are compatible with Microsoft Word"


"Dear authority, by making the form available only in .docx format you are effectively preventing citizens who cannot afford a Microsoft Office license to exercise their rights"

"Well since LibreOffice doesn't support it, you may be right....."


I had a paragraph here whose point was basically to try collaborate with Microsoft to better export from MSO to ODF.

The paragraph would have challenged some statements said in the video.

But would make the post too long (it is already), and seems a marginal issue now.

I am saving it and if someone is interested may post it later.


Best regards,


Ciao, Italo
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