Which non-CNC-specific opensource apps do folks use?

Obviously, for example, we all use Inkscape for 2D, or Blender for 3D — but what others do folks use (or try to use)?

Two which I wish I could use more often are:

  • LyX — https://www.lyx.org/ — billed as a “What You See Is What You Mean” document processor, it nicely sidesteps the issues of WYSIWYG
  • pyspread — https://pyspread.gitlab.io/ — “the most Pythonic spreadsheet”, every cell can be a variable, a bit of Python code, or a rendered SVG (which can be created programmatically) — probably this could do a lot for CNC — I’ve been meaning to re-create: https://tug.org/TUGboat/tb40-2/tb125adams-3d.pdf using this

Trying to find a really good free-form note-taking app, and I’ve never found an opensource database front-end which really clicked…

I use FreeMind but it’s not been updated in years(still works though). But a currently developed alternative might be Freeplane: Freeplane - Browse Files at SourceForge.net

Also use OpenSCAD and FreeCAD along with Gimp and of course Inkscape.

It’s been a while since I did a database frontend but when I did I used Star Office. It had a database which was based off of Sybase(?) and with a tweak under the hood it had full capabilities. Today I would take a look at what LibreOffice has to offer since its heritage goes back to StarOffice.


Lightburn for standard vectors, trace etc. Anything more complex I use Illustrator, Fusion, Shapr3d, Blender, Meshmixer and Sculptris , all have there ups and downs and no one is a favorite to be honest, they all lack something.


Regarding LyX, my problem was that I became fluent in LaTeX before LyX was released, and every time I went to use it, I found that it was faster and easier for me to just work in LaTeX (or, when Erik Troan and I wrote a book together, plain TeX!)

When I’m doing anything with embedded, I think that platformio is amazing. Especially having the option to let me just install the command line; most of what I need is edit files in vi and then run a compiler, and platformio works great across so many targets. :heart:

I use the unix toolkit generally, but for a few that aren’t always well known: I use bc and units all the time. I’ve been happier since I learned about BC_ENV_ARGS — my .bashrc has export BC_ENV_ARGS="-l ${HOME}/.bcrc" and my .bcrc contains just scale=4. And I use a lot of the rest of the toolkit all the time. grep is my friend!

I still read my email with Mutt. :grin:

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Will definitely have to look into Freeplane and the database portion of Libreoffice.