Just wanted to point out to everybody here that our discussion has been noticed by the Manifold people and it has sparked an interesting debate over on their community messageboard. In one of the posts, Manifold representative Dimitri Rotov is asking for suggestions to improve Manifolds cartographic capabilities, so if anybody here has some suggestions, please feel free to contact Manifold and make them known.
Being a user of Manifold I occasionally have followed the Manifold discussion forum off and on - more off than on, lately. Your link to the follow-up discussion on this discussion (is that a meta-discussion?) reminds me why I don't particularly enjoy participating in the Manifold forum: I generally don't like the tone. That's never been the case with Cartotalk.
As one participant in the Manifold discussion pointed out, "improved cartographic capabilities" means alot of added or improved tools and little functions. Where does one start? Better ability to export files, improved page layout, improved text labelling options, curved text, improved symbol use . . . . I could go on.
I too would like to be able to produce my maps all within one software package. When I used ESRI software I could, for the most part - occasionally for the very high end stuff I would need to export to Illustrator or Photoshop. With Manifold anything beyond a very basic map requires another piece of software to finish.
That's not to say I don't find Manifold useful. It is. The reason why I purchased Manifold was that it provided a complete GIS package at an affordable price. It is a great piece of software but not necessarily suited to mid to high end cartography.
Not yet, at least.