RIP FreeHand

A moment of silence for FreeHand users everywhere: Adobe has officially killed product development and maintenance on the vector-based design application. Adobe Photoshop product manager John Nack spilled the beans on his John Nack on Adobe blog.

An FAQ on the decision states in part "Adobe does not plan to develop and deliver any new feature-based releases of FreeHand, or to deliver patches or updates for new operating systems or hardware. Adobe will, however, continue to sell FreeHand MX, and will offer technical and customer support according to our support policies."

Adobe is urging FreeHand users to migrate to Illustrator CS3, and is even offering a special US$199 upgrade for users ready to make the switch. Adobe already has a guide available on moving from FreeHand to Illustrator.

FreeHand started life as an Altsys product, and then moved to Aldus. When Adobe bought Aldus for PageMaker and the in-development InDesign, Freehand was sold to Macromedia since it was a competitor to Illustrator. When Adobe bought Macromedia, the product was already as good as dead and hadnit been updated since FreeHand MX was released.

The news shouldnit come as a surprise to any FreeHand users - the product hadnit been included in Macromediais Studio suite for some time, and Adobe had no interest in maintaining a competitor to Illustrator. Even still, the sorely outdated FreeHand offers some features that arenit available even in Illustrator CS3. Hopefully those features will find their way into future Illustrator updates.