As work I make fairly extensive use of the excellent Microsoft Visio to create database ER diagrams and network topology markups, however a need came up recently where I had to provide someone who did not have Visio an editable copy of a file. Of course, the simple solution is to just go get a copy of Visio, but for those of you looking for a more ‘economical’ solution, check out Dia.

Dia does not advertise itself to be a replacement for Visio, rather a more ‘home user’ friendly variant:

Dia is roughly inspired by the commercial Windows program ‘Visio’, though more geared towards informal diagrams for casual use. It can be used to draw many different kinds of diagrams. It currently has special objects to help draw entity relationship diagrams, UML diagrams, flowcharts, network diagrams, and many other diagrams.

Even better, Dia can open files exported from Visio.

Again, I would not say Dia is a replacement for Visio, however if you just need to create some simple diagrams Dia is a great option to consider as it is definitely going to be easier to work with than a standard graphics editor.