Why switch from Figma to Penpot?

I recently discovered Penpot as an open source alternative to Figma, other than it obviously being open source why should I switch to Penpot when I already have a very efficient design tool like figma?

I like the idea of self-hosting tools for the privacy/security aspect of it. Along with that, I generally like the idea of not being locked into a particular tool/vendor if possible, though I don’t think that’s a big issue with Figma.

I also like the idea of open source software in general because it seems like it won’t be discontinued (it just eventually becomes out of date if development stops), and also because there’s no overhead in deciding who is going to get an account and who isn’t (when there is a per-account fee). If I’m going to use a closed-source/commercial tool, then I think there needs to be a constant revisiting of whether that ecosystem will be viable in the near-term, so there’s time to switch to new tools before the old ones are discontinued.

Often times the above factors aren’t enough to get developers to use self-hosted/open source tools, because they’re generally not best-of-breed.

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Well, these are my reasons to use Penpot over Figma whenever possible:

  • Penpot is free, so I don’t have to pay to have teamwork features.
  • Penpot right now does all the basic things Figma can do. So why use Figma for basic UI cases?
  • Penpot allows whiteboarding (if you use the library for that, will be even better), so no need to use Figjam or Miro.
  • Penpot is made to bridge design and development, so devs can just look to the file and see how to do it just fine, no payments or anything like that.
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Initially, I did not support Israel due to personal reasons. As a result, my team and I have been gradually transitioning to Penpot as our preferred platform for now and the foreseeable future. However, this was not our sole motivation. After exploring Penpot further, I feel even more at “home” since I strongly believe in supporting open source projects that empower users.

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By using penpot, you are supporting a free, open source software project, instead of a closed-up pure-for-profit system.

Supporting the former supports a project that has a primary mandate of serving the community, with good service resulting in profitibility for those that provide it.

Supporting the latter supports a project with a primary mandate of extracting as much profit as possible, and it just so happens that the most efficient way to do that includes providing a service.

…but that is not always the case.

The CAD software industry is worth billions, and most of that goes into the pockets of various closed-source software. If that money, instead, went to FOSS projects, the industry as a whole would be much better off: getting significantly better softare for siginificantly less cost.

…at least, that’s my motivation.

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