Thursday, August 9, 2012

Dia Epiphany

For years now I've used dia as a diagram-drawing tool, and it's a good example of what open-source software should be: usable and useful. But I've often wished I could add to the set of available objects to use within diagrams. Tonight, rather than just getting the job done, I decided to RTFM. Adding an object is easy.

One of the last gadgets looks vaguely like the moon over a mountain. I never clicked it before, or if I did, I didn't get the point. Besides, who wants to virtually moon mountains? The idea is to click the moon & mountain and place it on the drawing. The result is a red X over the text broken image. Double-click on the  X, and then click on browse. Pick an image. So far I've loaded a couple png images, and it works like a dream--perfect!

I don't remember when I started using dia; perhaps as recently as '06. I used idraw on SunOS systems in the late '80s and early '90s. The alternative was xfig which was overly complicated, and impossible to use without reading a manual (like, e.g., the GIMP). After leaving OSU, through '98, I was often stuck using NT machines (NT 4 was Microsoft's most usable OS, however). I don't remember what I was using--probably I just avoided doing anything that wasn't easy in whatever Microsoft's drawing program was. But around the turn of the century I went full-time Linux on the desktop (had been using it for servers since '95 or so--Slackware, then Red Hat, then Debian) and it was a good move, though I believe I'll soon flush Ubuntu & Mint down the toilet where they belong.

But I digress. Dia: great! Dia: easy to add images! Dia: highly recommended! Dia: apparently available for Windows. Wikipedia has a bare-bones dia overview.

No comments: