UPDATE: PENCIL is an opensource software which is a pretty good alternative as well with a smaller learning curve and is Opensource.
I was recently looking for Visio alternatives on Linux and while Dia is good it lacks the oomph of Visio and hence not an easy sell for new and potential Linux converts.
Now good news for those open to enter the wonderful world of Linux is that any OS need not have an alternative for it to be usable to you, all it needs is the ability to let you run the software you find useful.
So this post isn't about why Linux is better. It is about knowing that there is something better than the software you have got accustomed to. If someone is adamant on continuing with the software they have fallen in love with, there is always WINE / Virtualbox but if you have opened to the idea of new OS but you are taking baby steps software like yEd can help you take a giant leap. yEd is written in Java and can run on Windows, Mac and of-course Linux.
Before we move into the steps of how to get it and use it let me bore you little with what are the other alternatives I explored.
During my quest I came across two other useful candidates Activiti 5.6, ARIS Express 2.3. What went against these and in favour of yEd? Read on:
Ease of installation
For easiest installation, Activiti 5.6 can be added into Eclipse but that results in a bit complicated and not so user friendly user-experience. You will at-least need to have one Activiti project created in eclipse before you can draw using Activiti Diagram. (Check Screenshot)
OK, now that I have covered comparison, let's get down to how we install it on our beloved Linux Mint. It's really very simple.
Step 1: Go to this website - http://www.yworks.com/en/productsyeddownload.html
Step 2: Download yEd for your platform. In our case for Linux Mint the 43 MB sh file in front of Linux.
All Done !!!
A quick tutorial from yWorks:
Find more on http://www.yworks.com/en/productsyedvideos.html
Having seen, how nice and easy it is to create the flowchart, let's also see the best feature of the product that is one click alignment.