So I walked into CompUSA the other day thinking that I was going to purchase Microsoft Visio. How wrong I was. The problem wasn’t that they didn’t have a copy of the software, rather, it was with how much it cost. Because it is Micro$oft I figured that I would have to dig deep into my pockets, and indeed the standard version of M$ Visio sets you back $200. Okay, $200 isn’t too bad but then I started looking at the back of the box. It listed the network stencils under the Professional edition. Nothing on the back of the box stated that the standard edition had anything to do with networking at all (I found out later that standard does have some network stencils). I thought to myself, “that’s odd!” But after all, it is Microsoft so I started looking for the price of the Professional edition. $500!!!! Let’s just say that I quickly wandered over to the wireless department to contemplate a USB wireless device (none yet but soon hopefully).
I figured that this was the point I would have to resign myself to Dia or Kivio. Having used both I was leaning towards Dia but let’s face it, of all the Microsoft products Visio is one of the best (following closely by Streets and Trips). In my opinion, Dia and Kivio are rudamentary in comparison. So, I updated my version of both to see if there were any improvements when OpenOffice popped into my head. Do they have an equivalent product?
After a little checking it seems that their Draw program is what most people are using to replace it. Unfortunately, there are very few stencils and none (apparently) built into the product. Of course, being an open source project, I am sure that calls for developing them would be met with the quick retort, “Go ahead.” Unfortunately, I am not graphically inclined and would probably just make a mess even if it would be a digital one. So with a little Googling I came across a post that pointed me to a Cisco site with the recommendation to use the Power Point version of the icons supplied there. Although I have not done a complete network diagram it seems to work well. I quickly dragged two icons from the Power Point and added a connector between them. Very nice. Everything worked smoothly and I am actually looking forward to giving the program the once over. If you know of any good stencils for Open Office Draw please post it in a comment.
As a side note: I ran across a good tutorial on how to use Dia.
Help support my training and travel to security conferences. Get your SANS Training and GIAC Certifications through the Security Ripcord.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.