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Subsurface As Free (and Opensource!) Deco / Dive Planning Software

Discussion in 'Dive Software' started by tmassey, Mar 18, 2016.

  1. tmassey

    tmassey Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Shelby Township, MI USA

    I just switched computers, and as part of this I've been evaluating dive log software. I stumbled on Subsurface. I'm really surprised how little visibility this program has. In fact, I hadn't found it until *after* I had paid for Diving Log 6.0. It's pretty nice for diving logging, but it also includes a full Dive Planning system.

    Up to this point, I've done all deco planning using MV-Plan, the only free planner I had been able to find. Note: I'm not yet Deco trained, so I'm not actually *doing* any planned-deco dives yet! However, Subsurface seems like a really nice and complete dive planning tool, especially when compared to MV-Plan.

    The tool supports both Buhlmann and VPM-B, multiple gasses, Trimix, and plots nice graphs showing deco ceiling, gas consumption/PSI levels, etc. You can also do multi-level dives easily. There's quite a few display features that are easily toggled: tissue levels, PO2 throughout the dive (which I *really* miss on MV-Plan), PHe, PN2, END, TTS, etc. But it's still straightforward to use.

    It might be a nice replacement for MV-Plan, especially for students who haven't yet purchased a dive planner. And it's interesting to be able to compare Buhlmann and VPM plans as well. It has really expanded the things I can compare and evaluate when I'm creating dive plans.. (Can't wait for the Deco class!)

    I'd love to know what features you actually get with the paid-for dive planning tools that aren't in Subsurface. Like I said, I have purchased Diving Log 6.0 which also includes a planning tool (but does *not* support VPM-B). I have not purchased any planning-only tools. Are there features that such tools have that Subsurface is lacking?

    Anyway, I thought I would write a quick post to draw attention to this: maybe it'll make it easier for someone else to find this feature as well. I certainly hadn't ever thought about using a dive *logging* program as a powerful dive *planning* tool. (My old logging software from my old computer maker had *nothing* like this! :) )

    I'd love to hear from those of you with more experience about what features in deco planning tools are most important to you -- and see how Subsurface compares! :)
    2airishuman and undrwater like this.
  2. undrwater

    undrwater Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Cerritos, CA
    The planning feature was in, then out, and now back in again. The Subsurface project changed frameworks, and they had to redo a bunch of the features that were in the old framework. Needless to say, development is active (I lurk in their irc channel), and a new version was released just today it looks like.

    They love feedback, so if you find any bugs or missing features, leave them a message here, or better yet, on their bug tracker.
  3. kelemvor

    kelemvor Big Fleshy Monster ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Largo, FL USA
    I've been using subsurface for a few years now. It's absolutely marvelous. The contributors to the codebase are responsive to bug reports and add support for new computers or features regularly.

    To top it off, Linus Torvalds contributed. If you're a huge geek like me, that's a big "selling" point. Selling in quotes, because it's FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) and there is nothing to buy.

    It also runs well on Windows, Mac OSX and Linux so if you switch platforms you can keep your dive log software that you're familiar with. I think it also has a hook into that divelogs.de site if you're so inclined. I've never messed with it myself.
    undrwater likes this.
  4. tmassey

    tmassey Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Shelby Township, MI USA
    Linus Torvalds *started* it. Which is plain crazy, really. Git I understand, but a dive log? Crazy. (Yeah, Linux fan here, too.) But it being Open means a lot more to me than Linus. I'm tired of being locked in.

    I will say this: in the 2 days I've spent playing with them, the logging features of Diving Log are more powerful. The fact that just about every screen is *completely* configurable has blown my mind. I haven't played with it yet, but the idea of creating custom dive log paper forms/reports is great: I had already done that in Scribus for pages that I filled out manually! And the import and export capabilities seem more capable, too. I think it's easily worth the cost (if you don't value Open). But if I had found Subsurface first, I'm not sure I would have tried anything else, because it is certainly plenty good.

    And not knowing the history of the dive planner in Subsurface (in and out, it seems), but only seeing it as it is now, it was pretty impressive to me. I have not looked at Diving Log's planner nearly as closely yet. One reason why I haven't is because Subsurface supports Buhlmann *and* VPM-B, and I'm currently interested in comparing different algorithms. That's actually what caused me to stumble on the feature in the first place.

    But the main point of my questions in this thread are around the planning capabilities. When it comes to dive planner software, I have very little experience. So I'm wondering if others have an idea of deco / dive planning features that Subsurface is missing that might provide value. From what I can tell, it answers every question I've ever had about a particular dive profile... I just don't necessarily know all of the questions to ask yet! :)
  5. dmaziuk

    dmaziuk Regular of the Pub

    He needed a dive log and if you want it done right, you gotta do it yourself.

    I've used and worked with a lot of software with "Free", "Open" and/or "GNU" in the names and I have to say, "Linus started it" means more to me than any of those things. The clue is strong with that one.
  6. dirkhh

    dirkhh Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Portland, OR, USA
    Yes indeed, Linus started it and I've been maintaining it for a few years now... but Linus still contributes regularly. We have a pretty big and diverse community of developers and tend to be interested in feedback and suggestions - both for the dive logging itself and for the planning module. One issue of course is the trade-off between "how many people want / need this feature" vs. "who has time and interest and the skill to implement it". Commercial dive log software has simply a different model behind it: monetary interest. I spend a lot of money on Subsurface (from silly things like domain names and certificates to the infrastructure including the free cloud storage) but none of us make any money from it.
    But when we get good suggestions how to make things better, we're always interest. Best place to do that is our user forum - while a couple of developers check in here every once in a while, the user forum is the best place to get answers and to provide input. And depending on the topic, you'll get Linus to respond to your questions. Something that won't happen on Linux or git related questions :)
    kelemvor and JohnN like this.
  7. JMBL

    JMBL Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: France
    Must admit I've never really tried the planner in Subsurface. Main reason for that, I'm used to MultiDeco and I must admit I didn't really investigate Subsurface planner much. I tried it quickly and could get coherent results.

    I do not imply the planner is bad, I just mean I feel better with a tool I am familiar with, specially while planning trimix dives.
  8. AndrewBlackburn

    AndrewBlackburn Angel Fish

    Probably an obvious question, but can this software download dive logs directly from a dive computer, such as a Suunto Vyper?

    Also, at the moment I am using Suunto DM3.1, which allows for multiple dive logs, since I, my Wife, and my two children all dive.

    Will SubSurface allow me to download dive logs from all our computers (1 Vyper and 3 Mosquitos) and place the dives into their own logs?
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2016
  9. gfaith

    gfaith Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Desert SE of NM
    The quick answer to your question is yes. You can create different databases for each computer (diver).

    I keep my dive log (.pdf) which I generate @ divelogs.de site in dropbox and can show quite easily if needed.

    It is absolutely great and cross-platform (windoze or Linux).
  10. JMBL

    JMBL Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: France
    <<It is absolutely great and cross-platform (windoze or Linux).>>

    And there's also a Mac flavour for it.

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