What does Illustrator do that Freehand doesnt?
Release new versions
I'm not getting into the whole "vs" thing. Each app has some great strengths. And while I may have my preference and you yours, I'd hesitate to say one app is overall better than the other. Other users may disagree with that. Unfortunately, Freehand is dead and may never see the light of day again. Eventually it will fail to work on modern computer systems.
If you work in Illustrator you won't get ridiculed by your coworkers for doing Free-Handjobs.
Changes with every release. Once a long time ago freehand worked in color, and illustrator could only work in black and white. During that brief time only I pushed freehand over illustrator when installing linotronic systems. I did not think 10 years later that some of them would still be on freehand, but there were a few who bought site liscences and kept upgrading.
The new features to CS5 would show the most difference between the 2 products. All printers accept Illustrator, some won't accept Freehand files. multiple artboards, the Blob Brush tool and transparency in gradients. Adobe encourages upgrading to Illustrator, as at this point they don't plan to update freehand. Freehand does not work with Mac OS X 10.6 or higher.
Freehand has it's advantages also, masks are one I can remember. For not being updated in a long time has held it's own well.
What does Illustrator do that Freehand doesnt?
Illustrator can define a line or a movement in terms of length and direction. (What a concept!)
What does FreeHand do that Illustrator doesn't?
FreeHand knows the difference between a path being selected as a whole object, as opposed to merely having all its anchorPoints selected. (What a concept!) This results in multiple AI inferiorities including ambiguities when aligning anchorPoints and performing other operations on multiple anchors at once.
Beyond starters, I could write a list that works either way (and have, many times in this very forum).
The point is, though: Adobe now owns both programs. The old 'we don't have the rights' excuse is now moot. Now it's just 'we don't have the time and resources'.
The real problem, though, is the addiction of the AI-only user base to its mediocre feature set and its unnecessarily cumbersome interface, and their irrational emotional resistance to any change at all. Suggest a change of the things to which they are accustomed--even toward the demonstrably better--and a firestorm results. Until, of course, Adobe actually does it; then AI devotees reverse themselves, act like its the greatest thing ever, and seem to think Adobe came up with the idea. A rework of the interface basics is what Illustrator needs far more than the addition of new gee-whiz features.
But just make one simple, (and I mean, very modest) improvement toward streamlining this hideous interface, and alot of vocal AI-only users have a hissy fit. Example: The full set of Pathfinder buttons now behave the same way by default. This simple change toward very basic consistency makes some AI users rise up in arms, as if it's just the worst deal-breaking travesty ever committed.
Consider: It took Illustrator almost two decades to finally add a Fit To Page checkbox in its print dialog! That historic fact typifies the historically sluggish development of Illustrator. It took almost three decades for an AI document to be able to contain more than one page--during which every one of its market segment direct competitors provided that bare-basic functionality long prior. You should have heard the absolutely ridiculous outcry in this very forum from AI-devoted defenders at every mere suggestion of such a thing! Why, it was just going to wreck everything. Some of those sackcloth-and-ashes nay-sayers still frequent this forum, and now seem to think the ability to have a 'page 2' was just such a wonderful advancement.
I'm waiting for the day when Illustrator finally "achieves" something so basic as live geometric shape primitives (rounded rectangles, polygons, etc., on which you can adjust their geometric parameters after their creation)--you know, like every vector program under the sun other than Illustrator--including even kid-stuff drawing tools in "office" or "works" programs--have provided since the dawn of man. When/if that ever occurs, AI devotees will no doubt think Adobe invented it.
For just one simple example: A proper arc tool with adjustable parameters has yet to appear in Illustrator. Draw me a circular (let alone elliptical) arc that sweeps 36 degrees. Then adjust it to, say, 55 degrees. Fercryinoutloud, this is 2011! What is more fundamental than that kind of basic functionality for a so-called "professional" vector drawing program? Yet AI users still have to employ ridiculous multi-path manipulations to tediously build such simple and commonly-needed constructs. Some will even call such a thing "too technical."
FreeHand elegantly addressed that by embodying the functionality in its existing Ellipse tool. Rather than glutting the program with yet another single-purpose tool as AI typically does, FreeHand was first to actually imbue the ubiquitous "live object" ellipse shape primitive with some useful adjustable geometric parameters: Start and End angles. That kind of elegant and innovative design thinking and feature integration is what drove the development of FreeHand throughout its history.
Meanwhile, look at the advanced state of any other segment of the graphics software market. Then honestly compare that to the inaccuracy, sluggishness, and awkwardness of Illustrator. Illustrator's continued market domination sets the advancement of vector drawing back by decades.
It's a commercial product. Buyer demand and competition will drive its improvement. But right now it has a strangle hold on mindshare in the vector drawing segment. That mindshare just doesn't seem to be very imaginative.