FreeHand vs. Illustrator

I am currently sitting at my café style table having a morning latté with my wife. I just opened the latest issue of Macworld magazine (11/03) and started reading the “Feedback” section. I finished reading one called “Free to Be Dissatisfied” where the reader is complaining about a Studio MX review that didn’t include much info about Freehand MX. I am taking this opportunity to answer one of the questions that came out of this readers rant:

Adobe Illustrator has no similar importing and exporting capability for FreeHand – is that a con, too?

No, it is not a con. It is a nice to have for users that only use Freehand. Adobe leads the race between Illustrator and Freehand so historically the leader never opens interoperability with the product that is loosing. This would only even things up. Adobe is in a position to never loose this race because the Illustrator format was changed to .pdf based during version 9 while Illustrator 8 was EPS based. Adobe controls the Illustrator and .pdf file formats so they will always be in the lead. If Adobe adds features to the .pdf format, then the first program to support those features will be Acrobat and Illustrator.

The same thing can be said for Macromedia in regards to the Flash (.swf) file format. Flash will always lead that market because they control the format and so the program will always be one step ahead in features. They currently don’t have any competition but they used to when Adobe released LiveMotion 2. The week before LM2 was released Macromedia conveniently released Flash MX three months before the scheduled release. It included support for all the new features of the Flash (.swf) file format that no other company had access to.

The bottom line is that it’s a game of tug and war. The two sides have both been playing this game for years and the file format that is most excepted wins the race every time.

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