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Title: Altsys  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Adobe FreeHand, Mac software companies, James R. Von Ehr II, Aldus, NeXTSTEP
Collection: Mac Software Companies
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Altsys Corporation was a Texas-based software company founded by James R. Von Ehr II. It was an early Apple Macintosh developer and publisher.

Three major products from Altsys for PC / Macintosh and NeXT were:

  • Fontographer for Windows and Mac OS - font editor
  • Font-O-Matic for Windows - font transformer
  • Virtuoso for NeXT / OpenSTEP and Solaris - vector editor (a version was announced, advertised and demonstrated for Windows NT,[1] but never released)

Altsys' best known product that was basically rebranded Virtuoso, that was licensed to Aldus Corporation under the FreeHand name,[2] was a vector drawing program that competed with Adobe Illustrator. It was published for many years, originally only on the Macintosh, then also for Microsoft Windows. When Aldus was acquired by Adobe, the licensing agreement that Altsys had with Aldus precluded FreeHand from being part of the deal, so the publishing rights reverted to Altsys. Altsys also published Metamorphosis for Macintosh, a font utility.[3]

Altsys was acquired by Macromedia in January, 1995.[4] Von Ehr became a major Macromedia shareholder and joined the Macromedia board of directors.


  1. ^ Willett, Shawn (31 May 1993). "Users Praise NT’s Graphic Support at Comdex". Infoworld. 
  2. ^ MacDougall, Paul (5 May 1994). "Software makers' merger gives rise to lawsuit from competitor". Folio  – via  
  3. ^ "V2.1 type library on CD-ROM". Graphic Arts Monthly  – via  
  4. ^ [1]

External links

  • Altsys Metamorphosis Apple Inc. support article, circa 1990
  • Softbase - lists whole Altsys software line for Windows
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