Month: November 2014

Diagram, flowchart, and graph

Flowchart is most frequently used as I am a programmer (though not as my career). If using Microsoft Office, it provides drawing tool for preparing flowchart. It is easily to be used. Since my primary office suite is LibreOffice, I frankly admit that drawing tool in LibreOffice is not satisfying to complete my work. This is because, preparing the graph or diagram, using a paper layout is not convenient, because I have to make sure that my flowchart is within the paper.

The next thing is the keyboard/mouse control differences. I get used to the way of controlling the image editor such as GIMP and Inkscape, that is, dragging the view with the middle mouse button, zooming by scrolling the scroll wheel together with Ctrl key, and right-click for the context menu. However, in LibreOffice, zooming can work with the Ctrl+Scroll wheel, but not dragging the view. This causes the trouble. Therefore, I have looked for the alternative solutions.


Dia is my primary flowchart editor. It can be used to draw the maps, CISCO network, UML, etc. However, the problem is the integration with the LibreOffice. The best solution is to export the diagram to the raster image (such as PNG), then insert the image in LibreOffice. It is preferable to export as vector image such as SVG. However, I previously experienced the problem of rendering SVG in LibreOffice, thus I seldom export as the SVG format.

Some of the drawback in Dia is text editing. When editing text item, the text cannot be highlighted or copied. It causes the difficulty to edit the text.

Calligra Flow

Calligra Flow can save the file as ODG format, which is also the same format as LibreOffice Draw. However, they are not perfectly compatible. The advantages of Calligra Flow comparing to LibreOffice Draw, Calligra Flow provides the flowchart elements, UML elements, and other elements just like Dia. Yet, input control for Calligra Flow is also different from GIMP or Inkscape. Thus, I still prefer Dia rather than Calligra Flow.


Recently I have to prepare the (mathematical) graph. Dia has difficulty for me to prepare the graph. There is a solution by using the Graphviz. Yet Graphviz does not allow me to adjust the graph easily. Finally, I discovered yEd. Using yEd to preparing graph is very easy and intuitive. Though, dragging the view is using right-click instead of middle-click.

Other that preparing the graph, yEd also allows to prepare the flowchart. The graph can also be exported as SVG format.

Though it does not provide various diagram elements like Calligra Flow or Dia, it allows to draw the mathematical graph and it has the feature to snap and arrange the diagram elements in very neat order.


As a conclusion, these are 3 diagram drawing tools other than LibreOffice Draw. When we are going to prepare the mathematical graph, yEd is recommended.

Rime IME

Recently, I subscribed the news feed of ArchWiki (Arch Linux Wiki) New Pages with Feedly. This allows me to know what is new about Arch Linux in some sense. Then, I found this, Rime IME. In Windows, I used Sogou Pinyin Input which is very nice, because it intelligently solve the sentence problem.

In Linux, previously I used IBus input. Due to the buggy upgrade of IBus in Arch Linux previously, then I switched to Fcitx. Fcitx has cleaner interface and configuration. The default Pinyin input method works well. However, the Pinyin using Fcitx or IBus does not work intelligently like Sogou Pinyin. Other than default Pinyin module, I have tried Google Pinyin, Sun Pinyin, libpinyin, and even Sogou Pinyin modules of Fcitx. I can’t really differentiate the advantages or disadvantages between these Pinyin input method, except the configuration interface. Yet, Sogou Pinyin does not work well in my computer.

Then, due to the character found in Taixuanjing (太玄经) 𤕠 (if you can read, then your computer support this font), I found that Pinyin cannot produce this character. Some of the Chinese characters are too weird and I don’t know how to pronounce. Thus, Wubi input method is more feasible. That is to input the Chinese character based on the look instead of the pronunciation. That is why I learn Wubi86 input method. There is another version, Wubi98. However, Wubi86 is more common.

The character such as 𤕠 in Taixuanjing is considered very weird that normal Wubi86 cannot input. Thus, to input this kind of characters, in Fcitx I have to use wubi-large module.

Rime IME is a little weird. It is installed as a module of Fcitx or Ibus. And it is an IME that can use multiple types of input methods (not simultaneously). It has Wubi86, Luna Pinyin, Terra Pinyin, Combo Pinyin, etc. The configuration is simple but without any GUI. We have to edit the configuration files manually, where configuration files are text file. It allows to input the characters like using wubi-large module, yet extra configuration required. For instance, create “wubi86.custom.yaml” in the user directory (refers to this page), then add in

  translator/enable_charset_filter: false

Interestingly, most of the input methods are China locale, yet Rime IME is Taiwan locale. However, Rime IME Luna Pinyin allows to produce Simplified Chinese characters.

Furthermore, comparing Rime IME Wubi86 and Fcitx Wubi86 module, Fcitx Wubi86 module uses OpenCC (Open Chinese Converter) to convert the characters between Simplified Chinese or Traditional Chinese. However, Rime IME does not use OpenCC. Thus, Rime IME Wubi86 does not allow to input Traditional Chinese by using Simplified Chinese key strokes. Other than that, Rime IME Wubi86 will adjust the candidate characters intelligently.

Quite a promising solution. Like!

(PS: And I personally feel that the author is a very interesting guy.)