In the following the origin of Freeplane is described. Since then Freeplane has got and is still is getting new functionality at a rapid speed, while keeping the easy way of working which is known from Freemind, see Freeplane's home page. The power of this new functionality is shown by the Quick reference and Documentation, which are themselves mind maps. In addition there is a growing base of didactic maps in the wiki Tutorial Freeplane.

Why fork?

There was much discussion and reflection before the decision was made to fork a project as popular as FreeMind. There were two main areas where no internal agreement could be reached after years of discussion:

Software Architecture

Freeplane's code has been refactored considerably to create a highly modular, clear and logical design, to ease entrance into development and to provide a solid foundation for long term development. As there was disagreement on this, it was decided that Dimitry would start work on a fork, while Chris develops the existing codebase, to see where this would lead. It is possible the two projects will merge in the future, no one knows. At the moment we feel that Freeplane offers an exciting opportunity for developers to help create a lean and extensible open source framework for mind mapping.

Development Process

(i) release cycle

It was felt that the FreeMind release cycle was too slow, and that this was holding the project back. Freeplane aims for regular releases, this will probably mean a stable release every six months.

(ii) community driven development

It was felt that the current FreeMind set up was not doing enough both to promote and integrate community contributions. Freeplane aims to create a contribution friendly climate. We hope to ensure that contributions do not go to waste. If you can contribute, and your ideas are not wildly out of sync with the vision of the developers, then your contribution will be rapidly integrated and included in the new release.

Relationship to FreeMind

We are not aiming to divide sentiment or users. Freeplane is not positioning itself against FreeMind. We understand that FreeMind has many loyal users, and that this is because it is such as good product. Many of the team members contribute in some capacity to both projects, though the lead developers obviously concentrate their energies more on one project. If Freeplane's approach turns out to have advantages, then this will be of benefit to users, and create a more satisfying project for developers.