In a way it's unfair for me to compare AW and F&RR - I've been using AW for years, whereas I tried F&RR for the first time today! However, that's generally how we judge new software. A quick 10-minute try-out, and we like it or we don't. It's a brutal world out there...
I won't repeat what others have said about the different approaches. I like the AW system of using user-defined shortcuts for each activeword. You quickly develop a system for setting these. I have dozens of them and use many regularly - not just for launching programs, but for text replacement, launching specific websites...it's a serious boost to productivity if you use it to its potential. (For example, now that Donation Coder is a site I regularly visit, it has an activeword - I just type "DCD<spacebar>", from any program, and I'm taken to the Donation Coder web site in my default browser.
The momentum behind the program means there are many specialist "Wordbases" (collections of activewords) designed for carrying out tasks in specific programs, provided by the ActiveWords team and by other users. And finally, there's the ActiveWords scripting language (http://www.activewor...riptinglanguage.html
) for those who really like to dig deep. I never thought I'd use the scripting feature (I'm too lazy, generally), but I have - it does expand the possibilities.
F&RR is a different approach - more focussed, less wide-ranging. And although I'm generally a big fan of the "small is beautiful" approach to software design, I think in this case ActiveWords depth and complexity is its strength.