RE: recommending open-source sw and WAS (no subject)

Subject: RE: recommending open-source sw and WAS (no subject)
From: "James Jones" <doc-x -at- earthlink -dot- net>
To: "'Claire Pateman'" <clairepateman -at- hotmail -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 9 Jun 2006 17:05:03 -0500

There is an open-source application that bills itself as being similar to
Visio. It's called Dia (which stands for 'diagram' I suppose). Here is some
description of the sw from its manual:

Dia is an application for creating technical diagrams. Its interface and
features are loosely patterned after the Windows program Visio. Features of
Dia include multiple-page printing, export to many formats (EPS, SVG, CGM
and PNG), and the ability to use custom shapes created by the user as simple
XML descriptions. Dia is useful for drawing UML diagrams, network maps, and
This document describes version 0.94 of Dia.

Cannot say anything about it experience-wise.

Jim Jones

-----Original Message-----
Barry Campbell:

Gratuitous self-link:

The Knowledge Worker Free/Open Source Toolbox lists lots of freeware and/or
open-source tools that would be of use to technical writers. It can be found

As noted, OpenOffice 2.02 is a very powerful and useful program; the Toolbox
lists many alternatives to the more familiar commercial software that tech
writers use every day.

Bill Swallow:

> Almost all HATs have trial versions of some kind, although they're all
> crippled in some way or other (typically by time allowed to use the
> trial, like 30 days, or by futzing the output, like replacing phrases
> with "[HAT trial version]").
> However, the trial versions are only available from the vendor sites.
> Char James-Tanny ~ JTF Associates, Inc. ~

And of course Char's site (above) contains a matrix of most of the more
popular/common Help tools that compares functionality and so forth. :-)

Jim Jones:

Cannot say much about the part of your question about hats and diagram
drawing tools because I don't know. However, I just started learning the
OpenOffice suite and it is quite impressive. Its interfaces are not entirely
unlike those of the MS Office suite.
Another thing is that OOo lets you 'save as pdf'.

Someone else:

A huge amount of high quality free software is available, and some of it is
superior to similar commercial software. Open Office is a complete office
suite that can save in Microsoft formats. .
SourceForge is a central repository for opensource software of many kinds.
There are many thousands of programs available there. . Those are good places to start, but there are

Original poster:

...As a tech writer I find that there are more and more software programs
that clients/employers require. I am wondering if anyone knows of
freeware/cheap shareware progs that I can use to familiarise up-and-coming
tech writers with before they commit to buy the big boys. The three areas
that I am looking at are: DTP (eg. Quark), Help(eg. Robohelp or Flare),
Diagrams (eg. Visio). I have found a few on Tucows and, but any
that other that fellow tech writers would say were worth a look then please
let me know. I want my students to be able to evaluate software that gives
them a good idea of what the more costly programs will involve so that they
can assess where they want to specialize before forking out lots of cash...


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RE: recommending open-source sw and WAS (no subject): From: James Jones

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