On a recent pitch, I was asked what value-add GhostFill offered over open-source Linux based document assembly tools. The answer was, “What tools?” There are no open-source document assembly development projects. Complex rule-driven text manipulation is a mix of “content-management” and “programming”. Content management deals with Word, RTF, Text, HTML, and PDF formats, traditionally handled on a Windows platform with Windows tools/
There is no inherent monopoly of Windows for document assembly. However, recognizing the small size of the market, there has been no ground swell of open source developers. The power of document automation tools is not in “mass printing”, but rather in delivering a fully customized experience to the user inputs. A system should evolve over time. The programming tool needs to be simple enough for content managers to understand, yet powerful enough to produce documents that are “ready to print” or “ready to file”. It is this grey area between “mass production” and “custom production” where the document assembly engines excel. However, because the “market” as opposed to the potential is so small, only those vendors with “other reasons” for entering this space have jumped in.