I’ve been dabbling in mind mapping programs again.  In the past year several new mind mapping tools have appeared.  XMind recently caught my fancy.  XMind is eclipse based and is more polished and professional looking compared to Freemind.  I’ve been using it for a few projects to see how well I like it.

Overall I’m really happy with it.  It allows embedding pictures and comes with lots of different shapes, colors, connectors, and markers.

I have not purchased the pro version and there is very little chance that I will.  At $49 a year it is not very much, yet something bothers me about having to make an annual payment for the software I’m using.  I would rather pay one price that grants an indefinite license or pay for updates, but not the core program. I respect XMind’s attempt at a software subscription model to monetize their product, but it isn’t for me. XMind does make it clear that if you do subscribe to the pro version you must manually re-purchase it each year.  In other words, they will not auto-renew (automatically charge your credit card) for the next year the way some software vendors do.

In Fedora, an easy way around the “export to PDF” limitation of the regular (free) version is to select “print to file” and select  PDF as the output format.

XMind is not currently packaged for Fedora, but it is easy to install and run:

1) Download the “Portable – ZIP * (Windows + Mac + Linux)” version.

2) Open a terminal window and cd to the directory you saved the file to.

3) Unzip the file to a directory.

$ unzip -d ~/xmind xmind-portable-


4) I like to create a symlink in /usr/local/bin/xmind so it is easy to run using ALT + F2.  As root:

# ln -s ~/xmind/XMind_Linux/xmind /usr/local/bin/xmind


If there a  better, safer, more preferred way to do step #4, someone let me know.  I suppose you could also modify the PATH variable.

Updated November 19, 2010: I just installed Xmind on a new machine and had problems getting it to run.  I may have done this before, but I can’t remember.

I got this cryptic error message:

An error has occurred. See the log file /home/jp/.eclipse/org.xmind.cathy.product_3.1.1_2107080149/

I have no idea who Cathy is, but on a whim I installed Eclipse and that solved the problem.  Also make sure you have the latest version of Xmind. On another machine the log appeared to show that it was a permissions problem.

$ su -c "yum groupinstall Fedora\ Eclipse"