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Exploring mind-mapping tools

July 07, 2023 — BarryK

"Mind mapping", brainstorming, planning, whatever you want to call them, these tools are useful to present ideas and plans visually.

Many years ago, the Vym mind-mapping tool was builtin, I think that it was for Quirky Linux, can't recall exactly. It is a Qt-based app, and now that EasyOS has the Qt5 libraries, at least some of them, builtin, decided to have another look at Vym, consider whether to have it builtin, or at least offered in the package repository.

I compiled it in a running Easy 5.4.6. It just needed the addition of the 'qtscript' package, then compiled:

# mkdir build
# cd build
# make

...that "OE_QMAKE_PATH_EXTERNAL_HOST_BINS" variable is required to be set. It is set when compiling inside OE, and requires to be also set when compiling in the target system, when using cmake. I don't know how to set it globally; exporting it as an environment variable doesn't work.

Anyway, Vym compiled, and runs OK. But, first impression: un-intuitive.

I compiled Heimer, also Qt5-based. Heimer is very easy to use and very basic. Very basic.

I considered compiling Minder, another Qt5-based mind-mapper tool, but then remembered already have it in Flapi, the Flatpak Installer. Installed and ran it -- first start, seemed OK, but something very wrong, not properly functional. Exited and restarted, very badly broken. So, have removed Minder from Flapi.

Then I thought about Dia diagramming tool. Dia has been around for a very long time, gtk2-based, very powerful and intuitive. Has a huge range of diagram symbols and can export to many formats. Dia would make an excellent mind-mapper tool.


Dia is in the package repository, installable with PKGget. It used to be builtin to Easy, up until several months ago. I took it out when going through an exercise to reduce the size of the build. But, Dia is not big, the package is only about 3MB, so I'm going to bring it back.

This looks like the Dia homepage:


Project site:

...the project is still active. Easy has Dia version 0.97.3. Looking back:

...Dia started life in 2003. Many of these old-school projects are so good.    

Tags: easy