I write a lot of software and I often have the need to visualise my thoughts. Both for whoever maintains the project in the future and for myself.

I have been using dia for quite some time for several reasons:

  • It is cross-platform (works on any platform)
  • It has a simple file structure
  • It is open-source, which means that it's unlikely to go away.
  • I can easily add the files to source control knowing that whoever comes across the file will be able to open it without buying a specialised tool.


The UI is really antiquated and it feels really cumbersome to use.

I tried draw.io last week and the results look nice and it is also quite easy to use. But I feel worried because it is web-based, and that it could go away at any point in time.

I could save the graphs as images so they will always at least be viewable. But having the source files of the graphs will make it easier to modify them later on.

So I am currently looking for alternatives to dia where two criteria are the most important:

  • It should be free so that if someone clones the repo he can open the resource without any issue.
  • It should work on both Windows & Linux

If no better alternative exists, I'm okay with continuing with dia.



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