Dia: An Open Source alternative to Visio

One of my favorite tasks as an IT professional was to layout our network infrastructure using Microsoft Visio. It was that I performed however only two times a year. In addition, every three years I had the task of planning an entirely new network infrastructure. Now it was not an incredible expense for me since it was only a single copy of Visio that I needed to purchase and I did not always need the latest and greatest version either. In these tight financial times though every penny counts and that usually means either doing without or finding an alternative. I came across a very nice alternative to Visio an open source project called Dia . In fact, their webpage says that Dia is roughly inspired by Visio, although it is a good alternative to other charting and diagram software packages as well. Dia is not only an open source but also cross-platform (kind of) it works on Linux and UNIX (not on Mac). I was surprised by the amount of features that Dia had, in many ways it was as if I was working on Visio still. They even had the full range of Cisco symbols for creating network diagrams. I was surprised by the amount of features that Dia had, in many ways it was as if I was working on Visio still. They even had the full range of Cisco symbols for creating network diagrams. The one noticeable difference was the rather rough look to the stock symbols that are included. However when I created some flowcharts and printed them they looked fine. One feature I thought was really cool was the ability to add to the already extensive library of shapes by writing XML files using an SVG subset to draw the shapes making Dia extensible and customizable. If you need to create charts and diagrams but cannot purchase Visio or some other commercial package. Or if you are just against supporting the evil corporate movements that make these monolithic giants even richer each day. Then try Dia it will not disappoint you.

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