I've been using DIA for a long time for casual and professional drawings however it has been discontinued for a long time now.

The program should:

  • Allow to draw simple flowcharts, UML and other diagrams
  • Be available on GNU/Linux
  • Have a FLOSS license

The only libre alternative I could find was libre office draw which is not to my liking.
Are there any libre, light diagram drawing software on linux?

Prime use-case to illustrate program flow.

  • 2
    Welcome to Software Recommendations! We will need much more information to give good recommendations here – asking for "a tool like X" is never giving enough details, even if linked. You should always list your requirements explicitly. Please see How to ask for an alternative to some software and the questions linked to it for details.
    – Izzy
    Commented Oct 15, 2018 at 6:48
  • Must it absolutely be FLOSS, or would gratis be enough? I have the perfect tool fro you. It's Java, but I am not sure if you may edit the source. It doesn't cost, though
    – Mawg
    Commented Oct 15, 2018 at 8:37
  • "program flow" as in flowchart, or as in Message Sequence Chart?
    – Mawg
    Commented Oct 15, 2018 at 8:45
  • @Mawg as in flow chart and yes I'm only interested in floss alternatives. There really isn't much to add to the question: flowchart drawing program that is FLOSS on linux. So far I've only found Dia which has been amazing and works but discontinued for almost a decade now or libreoffice draw which is very much inferior to even discontinued Dia in my opinion. Commented Oct 15, 2018 at 10:33
  • 1
    Did you have a look at plantuml or graphviz dot ?
    – albert
    Commented Oct 15, 2018 at 10:50

3 Answers 3


How about online solution that works from browser? I use this: https://www.draw.io/. Try it, maybe fits your needs

  • 2
    There are a bunch of these, but the OP seems fixed on FLOSS
    – Mawg
    Commented Oct 15, 2018 at 12:26
  • I've used draw.io before and while I like it, my initial question is for linux-native and floss software. Commented Oct 15, 2018 at 14:49

Use GraphViz!

The best solution I know and often use are the programs in the GraphViz collection. GraphViz

  • Can draw any graphs (includes flowcharts, UML and other diagrams)
  • Is available under GNU/Linux (package name: graphviz)
  • Has a FLOSS licence (Common public licence 1.0)

Similar to LaTeX, instead of drawing by hand you type what you need. The program compiles your file and distributes the nodes automatically. There are even more programs for different arrangements!

If you want to edit the structure later: Export it as an svg and edit the nodes with a vector graphics program like Inkscape.

Don't worry about the learning curve! The language/format is really very simple. It takes as with any other new program about one hour to learn. Here is a short example:

Animal [
    label = "{Animal|+ name : string\l+ age : int\l|+ die() : void\l}"

compiles to

uml class

Here is a simple tutorial on creating UML diagrams and since GraphViz is a general graph layout generating software have a look at this introduction which gives an even more detailed explanation.

I hope this helps you :)

  • Very cool but dot notation seems to have quite a learning curve and not as flexible as DIA, at least when being created without automation. Though it seems like it's worth investing some time learning the ropes. Commented Oct 17, 2018 at 11:05

Although it does not look like that the DIA is abandoned at the time of writing this post (last commit was just 3 weeks ago), here are my suggestions for DIA alternative that are fully FLOSS (Free and Libre OpenSource Software):

  1. Umbrello (by KDE) [git repo] [flatpak]
  2. Gaphor [git repo] [flatpak] [website]
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