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Re: UNIX left out in the cold?

>From: Rick Quatro <frameexpert@mindspring.com>
> >UNIX is the most stable, professional, powerful and scriptable
> >of all operating systems. [...]
>With due respect, I take issue with your blanket statement in the
>first sentence above. 

I know that was a bit provocative. Hopefully, this doesn't completely
undermine the serious intent of my message.

>Your statement may be true about UNIX overall, but it doesn't
>factor in each production environment and the tasks at hand. [...]
>Because of FrameScript, the NT environment is more "powerful and 
>scriptable" for me.

You're right, but I was only talking about the OS itself. IMHO, UNIX
in itself is more "scriptable", in particular compared to Windows.
FrameScript is a non-OS, non-Adobe product than can be ported; it
wasn't available for Mac at first either.

>UNIX Frame has fmbatch, but Macintosh has AppleScript and FrameScript,
>which give you more access to FrameMaker than fmbatch. Windows has
>FrameScript and a slew of inexpensive macro programs to automate
>FrameMaker tasks. The fact that there are so many software choices
>for a platform really helps when your production tasks are varied.

First of all, UNIX FM has built-in macros to automate tasks. Otherwise
you're right, but at the same time the many free text-processing tools
on UNIX make it possible, if not easy, to do virtually anything you can
think of (see my MIF scripts :-) You don't depend on or need to buy
other tools just to be able to do batch processing, which is the key to
"single-button" work flow solutions. (As an example, in my previous
position, I had a single UNIX script that copied the latest changed FM
files, imported settings to all files, built the book, run a complete
format report, converted all files to HTML, and performed a link check
on the HTML files, all this automatically in the background. Try to
do that on Windows or Mac with only the OS and standard FrameMaker.)

In general, UNIX users seem to be more inclined to making their own
little utilities, instead of buying pre-made software. To some extent
this is *because* there is a lack of software, but scripting tools are
also readily available in UNIX.

>Adobe is a company that wants to be profitable. It will not be compelled
>to support an OS just because it exists. It does not even matter if the
>OS is better (or the best)! Mark said it best: [...]

Mark's comments may well make sense in the traditional computer
business. I still think that a somewhat different approach is needed
for Linux. It's also perfectly possible for a vendor to make a deliberate
choice of policy that won't make "business sense" at first, but that
will pay off in the end. I wonder if PDF (or PageMaker on Mac in 1986)
would have been a reality if Adobe just had sat and waited for the
"market" to demand it? I don't think Adobe knew whether or not it
would pay off when they created it.

In my possibly simple-minded opinion, vendors could make promises or
in other ways show interest in supporting certain platforms or products,
to actually influence their customers' future choice of products,
thereby securing their investments and company good-will, instead of
simply sit and watch a market "die". Customers often make "silent"
choices depending on what's available, instead of actively making their
needs and wishes known to vendors' marketing departments.

>Your concern about FrameMaker/Acrobat integration is valid, but again,
>how important is this integration to you and your workflow?
>Is it more important than your OS?

This reasoning assumes you have a choice. To use your own words
("make your business dependent on your customers"), what if you're 
working for a UNIX-only customer? Similarly, would it be a good
business practice for Adobe to tell their FM customers on UNIX that
they better switch OS to be able to produce PDF? Wouldn't that be an
example of both misleading marketing and ignoring customer needs?

Thanks for this interesting discussion,

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Thomas Michanek, [Michagon], Linkoping, Sweden
Documentation Consultant, FrameMaker/UNIX expert
EMAIL:  mailto:Thomas.Michanek@telia.com
WWW:    http://go.to/framers , or go directly to:
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