Meet Stagestack, a new option for FreeHand fans
Fans of the defunct vector drawing application FreeHand have a new hope on the horizon, in the form of an application in development called Stagestack. The app will be "focused on bringing back all known features from the former Macromedia FreeHand but including the latest trends like support for web designers without getting bloated."
First, here's a bit of history to put the story of Stagestack in context.
FreeHand was created at Aldus in the late 1980s around the same time that Adobe debuted Illustrator. FreeHand was later acquired and developed for years by Macromedia. When Adobe and Macromedia merged in 2005, it became clear that the company wasn't interested in developing two vector drawing apps, and FreeHand's days were numbered.
In 2009, a group called the Free FreeHand Organization attempted to rally support for keeping FreeHand alive. They filed a lawsuit to force Adobe to maintain FreeHand or release the code. But the group's fundraising efforts didn't give it the resources needed to continue the fight, and this summer the effort was ended with mediation settlement that gave Free FreeHand members little more than a discount on purchasing CS6 products. Even more bad news was the fact that as of CS6, Illustrator will no longer open FreeHand files.
Now, the group has abandoned the idea of resurrecting FreeHand and re-orgainzed its efforts to support the development of a new alternative to Illustrator, called Stagestack. The application, formerly known as Expressive, is being developed by Quasado.
The company is using a Kickstarter-like project to fund the development, with discounts on licenses, and access to early builds in exchange for pledges.
At the Stagestack website, you can track the development of the application, learn about the features, read the blog, and make a pledge to help it become a reality. You can also learn more at freehandforum.org.
Here's a quick (and silent) video demonstation of Stagestack.