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Penguin-powered UML modeling

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With speculation building that Microsoft will bring Windows 7 forward by a year, ostensibly to staunch the loss of the Vista weary and Vistaphobes to alternative operating systems, now is a good time to look at the state of development tools for Linux.

Software developers have got it surprisingly good - unlike, say, creative types who pretty much shy away from Linux on the desktop because of the unavailability (for the foreseeable future) of popular applications such as Adobe Creative Suite in a native version.

Given the increasing cross-platform availability of integrated development environments (IDEs), though, it seems feasible the entire development cycle could now take place under Linux. And that includes modeling. The range of UML editors under Linux is now every bit as broad and bewildering as under Windows. No more creating ASCII art use case bubbles in Emacs.

These tools have divided broadly into two categories: the cheap 'n'cheerful diagrammers useful for quickly creating a one-off diagram, and the enterprise leviathans that all appear to have pretty much the same feature-set: full UML 2.1 support, round-trip engineering, export/import XMI, generate reports, and integration with Eclipse plus at least one other IDE.

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