When comparing Freemind vs Zim, the Slant community recommends Freemind for most people. In the question“What are the best mind-mapping apps for Linux?” Freemind is ranked 2nd while Zim is ranked 3rd.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Free and open source
Pro Intuitive UI with drag and drop support
For the most part, navigating the editor is pretty intuitive - moving around is done by clicking and dragging the background, clicking on nodes will expand/collapse them, dragging and dropping in files will add them, etc. It also offers shortcuts for power users. For example, ctrl + up/down will rearrange ideas up/down, alt +up/down will zoom in/out, etc.
Pro Lots of export options, including html with folding
Freemind offers many choices when exporting. It allows exporting the project as Java Applet, Flash file, Open Office Writer document, picture (png, jpg), PDF, SVG, multiple variants of (x)html, among other options.
Pro Good documentation
Pro Cross-platform desktop and mobile
Works on Windows, OS X, Linux, iOS and Android.
Pro Fullscreen mode available with a patch
A user-contributed patch is available that adds fullscreen mode to FreeMind.
Pro Can copy entire hierarchy to/from Word with a simple copy/paste action
Freemind allows quickly copying over structure of the mindmap as a bulleted, tab-indented list starting at the node selected. It can also take a bulleted, tab-indented list and create a mindmap from it.
Pro Multi-user support
Pro Supports media files, recognizes URLs and commands
Freemind accepts drag-and-drop for any kind of file, URL or command as part of the mindmap. Files it recognizes, like images, will be displayed. Other files will open in a separate, appropriate application. URLs, links to folders, and executable commands pasted in will be recognized and turned in to clickable links.
Pro Supports node and map encryption
Pro Revision control
Pro Allows for organized, wiki-style navigation
Notes can contain links to other notes, allowing you to reference important information when needed. This way the user can connect and reference many different pages in the app, keeping things clean and structured, unlike Evernote, which makes this a good Evernote alternative.
Pro Plain text data format rather than proprietary
If/when the app is no longer developed (or if the user simply decides to no longer use the application or view/edit it on a non-supported platform), this can still be done with any plain-text editor.
Pro Automatically manages files and folders
Zim will automatically create a folder structure that fits your page hierarchy and adds/removes files such as images to/from appropriate folders.
Pro Good export options
Zim supports HTML, LaTeX, Pandoc Markdown, and RST. This allows ones documents to be easily used in a wide selection of other apps.
Pro Support for multiple platforms
Windows, Linux, and BSD are supported with their own clients. This is nice for those that use multiple operating systems but still want to use the same app on each.
Con Boring visual appearance
Con No native sync support
Zim notes don't automatically synchronize with other devices or offer built-in cloud sync support. Of course the user can add the files to Dropbox, or something similar, to then open them on another device with the app installed. But this is more of a work-around than a built-in solution.
Con No mobile app support
This is a desktop app and there are no mobile versions available. This can make it more difficult to use on-the-go if using cloud storage to store files from the app, as there is no mobile app version to access those files.
Con Looks ancient
Zim has a very plain and outdated interface.