This is a bit off-topic, but for what it is worth, I just finished my own
evaluation of OpenOffice.org Writer. While it has a number of
FrameMaker-like features, it is in no position to pose as serious
competition to FrameMaker - unless you:



-          Can't afford FrameMaker (OOo Writer is free)

-          Publish mostly to PDF (it has a very good PDF generator built in)

-          Are willing to design a whole new set of doc templates

-          Are prepared to contend with the usual "gotchas" inherent with
open-source software



It does save to the XML-based OpenDocument format (as well as a number of
other format, including Word), so if you can find some third-party tools to
work with that, you might be able to look at generating various help formats
(I never got that far).



It is very impressive in many ways, though, and I would encourage anyone
with interest to download it and play around with it. It really is
positioned to compete with MS Word more than FrameMaker. Some of the
features are pretty neat, and some are a bit wobbly. The Find and Replace is
totally geeky. The online help is commendable for an open-source product,
but still leaves a lot to be desired.



Here are some helpful links:



http://www.openoffice.org/ <http://www.openoffice.org/> 



http://www.techsoup.org/learningcenter/software/page4765.cfm
<http://www.techsoup.org/learningcenter/software/page4765.cfm> 



http://documentation.openoffice.org/HOW_TO/word_processing/writer1_EN.pdf
<http://documentation.openoffice.org/HOW_TO/word_processing/writer1_EN.pdf> 



http://www.dooyoo.co.uk/office-suites/openoffice/1026626/
<http://www.dooyoo.co.uk/office-suites/openoffice/1026626/> 



http://software.newsforge.com/software/05/06/14/2137222.shtml?tid=152
<http://software.newsforge.com/software/05/06/14/2137222.shtml?tid=152&tid=9
3> &tid=93



It is at version 2.1 presently, and in my opinion, still has enough rough
edges to say it's not ready for prime time. I would expect that when it hits
version 3 or 4, it should be a pretty interesting alternative. And who
knows, maybe by then the OpenDocument format will have gotten some
traction...



Regards,



Keith



--------------------------------

Keith Arnett

Senior Technical Writer

webMethods, Inc.\ Fairfax VA

703-460-5927

Mobile: 540-671-1954



> Someone left on my desk (presumably to irritate the heck out me), an 

> article from the January STC Magazine Intercom called "Old Software." 

> They underlined a paragraph which says, "also absent from this 

> discussion is Adobe Framemaker, which is starting to show its age and 

> lack of recent development. Fans may want to consider using OpenOffice.org
Writer."

> 

> Now that's not true, is it? I am always arguing with my officemates 

> that Framemaker is the best software for what we do, which are 700+ 

> page manuals, with multiple updates and constant repagination. I know 

> nothing about OpenOffice.org Writer. Does anyone else? I have no 

> desire to replace, I'm getting ready to learn Structured, but I need 

> some knowlegable words from my fellow listmates.

> 

> Thank very much in advance!

> 

> Becky Frasure




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