How true are these ? scare the life out of me as speed for a new prog must be same or faster, he does stuff there that I do all the time.
Would CS5 tackle these tasks and win ?
Some of those are true, but then the guy making those videos is cherry picking so it's not a great way to compare. Heck, just the loading test is insipid. The functionality of Illustrator has grown in leaps & bounds since FH checked out, and one can only assume that FH would have grown as well. Its like comparing how fast Word 2010 loads against Lotus AmiPro 3.0. I'd bet money on AmiPro, but I'm not sure what that proves.
I haven't used FreeHand enough to say on some of the other examples, but at least one gave away that the AI user was being deliberately obtuse. That one where they try to select the start inside the box and stretch it (second video, about 2/3 in) -- I've done that plenty of time and never had a problem. The sub-select tool is one click and go; slightly slower -- I guess -- than the FH but not enough that I'd care.
I joined Avenza back when we had just released our last (as it turns out) FreeHand MAPublisher. As I said, I didn't get much chance to use FH but I have to admit it felt pretty snappy. That said, I also had a harder time distinguishing what was going on (particularly with selection, something lampooned the other way in the videos), at least as a new user. I'd probably have figured it out eventually but having used other products like that the AI was more intuitive, even if the FH way was better in some situations. Right from the start I preferred Illustrator to FH though take that with a grain of salt since I never really spent more than twenty minutes at a time working with either product.
One other thing I'll say is from a purely developer point-of-view: developing for FH was fairly painful. I've done a lot of work over the last seven years on MAPublisher, improving our own internal API. I'm the guy who generally talks to the underlying AI SDK and then I do my best to hide it from the other developers. Part of the reason we do this is called 'abstraction' and the idea is to try to write plugins in a such a way that they could theoretically run on platforms other than Illustrator. In fact, a lot of my early efforts were with that in mind -- since it was part of the plan to go back and do a FH MAPublisher 6. Unfortunately for the FH users, it became pretty clear that FH was doomed before we even released MP6, so that never happened. But I have to say, it was a huge relief; I was having major nightmares about how I was going to manage to do all the stuff I'd pulled off in AI in FH -- FH simply wasn't capable of it (API-wise I mean). The Macromedia guys were pretty nice and offered me a lot of help when I needed it on MP5 but lord, I was going to burn them out if I had to get MP6 up & running in FH.
All in all though, if you can still use FH, more power to you. I'd be shocked if FH ever returned as an ongoing, developed product though. Which I guess I'm glad about (sorry) -- its really, really hard to express just how painful developing for FH was. Suffice it to say that COM is evil.