An Interview With FreeHand’s Creator

Longtime readers of Design Tools Monthly or PlanetQuark.com know that I’m a huge fan of FreeHand, the onetime competitor to Adobe Illustrator.

On Feb 10, the FreeHand Blog posted an enlightening interview with James Von Ehr, who co-founded Altsys and co-created FreeHand.

In it, he explains the company’s loss of momentum when they focused too much on HOW they coded the program, rather than improving what it did. And then along came Adobe…

When asked about Adobe, he replied: “They are very good at marketing, and make decent products. I’m not a fan of the ‘buy your competitor and kill their products’ business strategy, but I understand it.”

When asked about the difficulty FreeHand had in fully supporting PDF early on, he replied: “I would have liked to have done a better job of supporting PDF, but Adobe had several undocumented secrets they would never tell us, so some of our big customers… had to go back to Illustrator. It was really aggravating that Adobe was proclaiming an open standard, when they in fact kept secrets from their competitors.”

You can read the entire interview here.

Jay Nelson is the editorial director of PlanetQuark.com, and the editor and publisher of Design Tools Monthly. He’s also the author of the QuarkXPress 8 and QuarkXPress 7 training titles at Lynda.com, as well as the training videos Quark includes in the box with QuarkXPress 7 . In addition, Jay writes regularly for Macworld and Photoshop User magazines and speaks at industry events.