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Re : OS X (was Re: Windows ME)


A more elegant piece of prose I have not seen on this list in many a long month. Speaking from my favourite city in all of Europe, you have articulated the relationship that I have with FrameMaker far better than I could have done myself. I wonder how many others saw their own opinions embraced in your thoughtful words.

I hope that the marketing types at Adobe read your lucid words and drink in the wisdom they contain. You're an articulate spokesman for sanity and I hope that someone there can see how very right you are. The market for FrameMaker is not the one for glitz. It's market rests with people who have a job to do and need a robust tool with which to do it. And you've made that abundantly clear.

Thank you for having taken the time to contribute that. Next time I'm in Lausanne I'll buy you a drink.


At 11:18 PM +0200 04/10/00, Despot wrote:
>(Beware : long study.)
>Bill Briggs wrote :
>> I can think of lots of things that would be a lot higher priority than the
>> UI overhaul. I'm betting most users are of similar mind.
>Apologising at once for my bad English, I dare add a few words to this
>interesting thread about the core values and lacks of FrameMaker. I have no deep
>programming knowledge, but a serious bit of practical experience.
>In our french-speaking part of Europe, and our business (fine book publishing),
>FM is simply unknown. I had the idea to try it when we had complicated essays to
>layout, with footnotes, indexes, etc. Most publishing offices do it in XPress
>when they care about how their pages will look, and have time to spend. Many
>others are too snob to admit it, but they simply do their books with MSWord.
>Here it takes time, too, but it also looks ugly.
>We have a very small team for a huge editing job : about 120 books a year. As it
>is mostly fine literature and non-conformistic essays, without public or private
>funds, we cannot afford any waste of time or money.
>Well, from the first try, FrameMaker has become our main tool from text
>processing to layout, and now to e-publishing. All our books are made with FM,
>our catalogues are based on MIF exports from a FileMaker database, and we even
>use FM for some book covers and ads. As our visual style is quite sober, we have
>no need for Illustrator or FreeHand, and use QuarkXpress for cover jobs mainly
>because French printers are reluctant to unusual software. FM's typography is
>less subtle, especially for hyphenation, but who notices it ?
>I do not understand some people's complaints about "learning curves" and other
>paedagogical abstractions. I am discovering something new in FM every week, but
>people commited to standard layout jobs found it easier and less stressing to
>prepare books with FM than with that famous and heavy text processor. The
>predictability of FM's behaviour and the strong "railing" of a template-based
>system allowed us to train and set to work people without any DTP experience in
>a few days.
>Here we come to the point. To me, FrameMaker's outdated UI seems rather an
>advantage. It doesn't spend memory on visual effects, doesn't cover your screen
>with boxes, and almost allows you to leave your mouse aside. Thus, we still
>effectively run FM 5.5.3 on a six year old 7100/80 Mhz PowerMac. Try to do the
>same with Office 2000... And try to make a book with Office 2000...
>Of course, when you shift to a Graphite G4 with a Studio Display, MacOS 9 and
>other related software, FM looks like some old military truck parked in front of
>the Montreux Palace Hotel. To this I'd remark that our firm's vans are not built
>for comfort, but for efficiency.
>There is something deeper. FrameMaker's inner discipline has obviously something
>to do with the mental structure of its users. People working with FM are more
>concerned with the contents of their work than, say, XPress or InDesign users.
>FM forces you to think and organise your job -- because it hates overrides --,
>while other layout software requires mostly manual, page-to-page work. For
>similar outputs, you use quite different brain skills.
>Once I wondered why such useful and clever software was ignored in our business
>as well as in the whole Macintosh press, and so mistreated by its owner Adobe.
>Now things are clearer. The whole small-computer world is getting devoted to
>heavy tasks : gaming, fun, and multimedia futility. Images, and not words, are
>becoming the main communication items. Hardware becomes outdated as soon as you
>put it on your desktop. Software gets fatter and clumsier at every new version,
>in order to meet often imaginary new needs.
>But the needs of the people really using their computer as a tool are so
>smaller, they increase so slower than the needs of those who see it as a toy or
>as a home divinity, that they are definitely not an interesting commercial
>FrameMaker has serious and irritating lacks -- those stupid wandering footnotes,
>for example --, but rethinking it would probably cost more than what the Framers
>community seems worth to the marketing gurus.
>I apologise again, not only for the language of this posting, but also for its
>Slobodan Despot, <despot@bluewin.ch>
>Foreign Editor
>E D I T I O N S  L'A G E  D'H O M M E
>(F)  5, rue Ferou
>     75006 Paris
>(CH) Rue de Geneve 10
>     1000 Lausanne 9
>(YU) Knez Mihailova 40
>     11000 Beograd

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