IBM Lotus Freelance Graphics
|Stable release||9.8 + Fixpack 6 / 2002|
|Operating system||Microsoft Windows|
Lotus Freelance Graphics is an information graphics and presentation program developed by Lotus Software (formerly Lotus Development Corp.) following its acquisition of Graphic Communications Inc in 1986. Lotus Freelance Graphics is a part of the Lotus SmartSuite office suite for Microsoft Windows. (Previous versions were also released for DOS and OS/2.)
The pre-windows version was an entirely keyboard-driven graphics package although it would work with a mouse (provided you had a mouse and had installed a mouse driver for the OS). In a throwback to its original developer, the executable for Freelance was named GCIFL long after the Lotus acquisition of Graphic Communications Inc. It was a 'points and vector' type graphics package and was easier to use accurately without the mouse. Even with the mouse, the keyboard control dominated for its speed - as what Windows introduced as 'keyboard shortcuts' by way of introducing longer ways of achieving the same thing with the mouse.
The Windows-compatible version allows users to create and compile text, digital images, diagrams, basic drawings, and charts (such as bar charts and pie charts) into a digital slide show. The program was originally a drawing tool but enhanced to include charting features either by manually inputting data or by importing data from the Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet program.
Freelance worked within DOS to produce slides that were a worthy competitor to PowerPoint, a program that was started for the Macintosh system. Lotus opted to develop for OS/2 and got left behind on Windows giving Microsoft a head start. IBM then acquired Lotus, Microsoft then used a licensing issue with IBM to delay Lotus and IBM access to the Windows 95 code base giving Office a 6-month head start over Lotus' SmartSuite. With the general lack of adoption of OS/2, Freelance became a little-used system.
It was eventually grafted into a new version of 1-2-3 for Windows (Smart Suite) but by then PowerPoint and Excel had become dominant. The quality of the Freelance product started to deteriorate as IBM gave little support to SmartSuite while Microsoft Office and PowerPoint dominated the application area.
- Personal recollection of a 1987-88 user
- Infoworld article 28 Sep 1987
- Freelance Graphics home page
- Lotus SmartSuite home page
- Freelance Mobile Screen Show Player (to view .prz files, 1.5MB)
- IBM Fix list for SmartSuite for Windows 9.8 and fix packs
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