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[Fwd: PROFOUND AND SCARY OBSERVATIONS [Fwd: Framemaker isperfect, therefor it's dead]]

Hello Framers,

My son Steve has expertise in software and IT far
beyond mine.  He was an MSWord developer at
Microsoft for six years, and in the half decade or so
since he left he has converted all computers  (many)
that he and his wife own and use to Linux.  That
may just indicate something . . .

I think his observations are potentially quite useful
to the FrameMaker community, and so I'm forwarding
them as he suggested.  He didn't see my wisecrack
about how there may soon be an opportunity for an
open-source Linux-based program to be called
FlameMaker, but quite a few of you reacted to my
jibe in various ways.

Chuck Hastings      cwh2@earthlink.net

Vintage Silicon Logic         San Josť and Seattle

Dad: if you think your FrameMaker discussion mailing list would be
interested in this, please forward it to them.

Cas Tuyn noted that FrameMaker is essentially perfect, and it's so
difficult for Adobe to sell upgrades that Adobe may simply stop selling

The top reason I now prefer free, open source software to proprietary
software is: no one can ever take it away from you.  The people working
on a piece of free software aren't trying to make money.  They don't
make decisions based on how much money people will pay.  They just want
the software to be good.

With free software, you don't have to be a software engineer to be able
to get features added; the development team will probably add a feature
if you request it and it's a good idea.  And, if your business
absolutely requires a particular feature, you can always hire a software
engineer to add that feature, if no one else will.  (And if anyone in
the world adds a new feature, the rest of the world gets it for free!)

So, in the free software world, as long as there are people who care
about the program--care enough either to write code, or to hire someone
to write code--that program isn't dead.  That's why I would sooner run a
business using free software, than using proprietary software.

It used to be true that you had to be a software geek to understand and
use free software, but it's no longer true.  The best of the free
software is about as good as the best of the proprietary software, at
least for the most common purposes.

Getting down to specifics, is there any free software that can fill the
shoes of FrameMaker?  I am handicapped here because I don't know much
about FrameMaker, but here are the ones I think might be of interest.

OpenOffice.org Writer: This is usually viewed as a replacement for
Microsoft Word, not as a replacement for FrameMaker, but I read an
article that claims that it is more like FrameMaker than it is like
Word.  Here's the article, so you can read it yourself:


OpenOffice.org software is available for Windows, Linux, and even
Mac OS X (but it's tricky to install for Mac).  You can get
OpenOffice.org software from the OpenOffice.org web site:


KWord: the KDE project's word processor, KWord, is advertised as a
FrameMaker-like word processor.  It's frame-based.  You need to be
running KDE to use it, so it is limited to platforms (such as Linux)
that support KDE.  In other words, no Windows version is available. 
(Yet, anyway.)


LyX: a friendly, graphical front-end for TeX, a system for typesetting. 
LyX is supposed to make it easy to write highly structured documents,
and the styles control how everything looks.  So you would make sure all
the sections are tagged correctly (title page, headings, body text,
whatever) and it will all look very consistent when printed.


Vex: an XML editor, intended to be word processor-like and intended to
be used with DocBook for authoring documents.  There are other XML
editors out there as well; I haven't really tested any of them, so I
just picked this one as an example.


In case you are not familiar with DocBook:



In closing, I'll also note that even if Adobe kills off FrameMaker, you
don't have to stop using it.  Lots of old software is still around in
common use.
Steve R. Hastings    "Vita est"
steve@hastings.org   http://www.blarg.net/~steveha