I took a look at the FreeMind and it seems to be a viable alternative to the MindManager for my purposes. Lack of undo hurts, but I think I can live with it.
However, there is one thing that basically kills the whole idea, as it seems to defeat the entire purpose of the tool -- when I create mind maps main branches are placed close together with absolutely no extra spacing in between.
An illustration: http://mystery.nox.lv/freemind.png
Visually it's not readily apparent that "subbr13" belongs to a different tree that "subbr31".
Is there a way to add extra spacing between items in different main branches?
I use white text nodes with white edges.
It is a clumsy solution, but it does work.
A white "branch" situated between the braches "1" and "3" in your example would have the desired effect.
I also create nodes with "___________" in white, placed between nodes for maps that I export to HTML as this creates a simple and effective horizontal line to seperate sections of the map when viewed in a browser.
I too use the white edged node approach. Another option is to insert a carriage return or two before the node text in the "edit a long node" mode.
Sometimes it would be good to manually position nodes (perhaps similar functionality to VYM http://www.insilmaril.de/vym/\). But I think Freemind does a pretty good job of placing nodes and the ability to easily move nodes around combined with the spacing options mentioned above get the job done.