I was impressed at installing the free vector drawing program "Via" by
the Open org people, written under GNU. It was not as good as
Microsoft Visio in features, but it was surprisingly close--I would
say 85% as good--and for me that's "good enough". You can export to
the "open" format of SVG (scalable vector graphics) that Visio will
then import with no problem. There are a couple of other formats that
Via will export to, but Microsoft Office Visio 2003 had problems with
importing them correctly.
All in all, I'm impressed with Via as a substitute for Visio, and will
use it on my new laptop since I don't want to pay MSFT another $100
for Visio, nor do I 100% trust a pirate ? copy of Visio I bought in
Russia recently for $5. So for now I'll stick to Via and export to
SVG when I need to run the same drawing in Visio on my other machines.
So it raises the question: is Microsoft doomed? Will Office Word and
Outlook and Excel also go the way of Visio? Nah, I doubt it. First,
85% or 99% is not 100% as we have discussed. The fact that a program
is "almost" as good as another is not the same as being exactly the
same. Further, most corporate people get steep discounts for
Microsoft products, so they are not paying out of their own pockets
and their employers are only paying probably $50 a seat--not a big
expense for 100% compatibility.
The bigger threat to MSFT is what I'm doing now--cloud computing
(programming that is). But even here, note my programming is being
done on Azure--a Microsoft product.