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Scribus 1.1.6 Reviewed 201

Posted by timothy
from the finicky-but-great dept.
TrialOfFire points out MadPenguin's review (with helpful screenshots) of Scribus 1.1.6, which attempts to answer "what is Scribus really like? Can anyone just pick it up and use it? Is it really as powerful as they say it is? And does it live up to the hype surrounding it?"
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Scribus 1.1.6 Reviewed

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  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Monday April 26, 2004 @06:07AM (#8970826)
    who recently proclaimed Scribus to be one of "Free Software's Killer Applications"

    Oh yes yes sure... but when will they learn? the *only* free software killer application is here [gnu.org]. And I should know, it very nearly killed me.

    Oh and by the way, I'm sure it can do desktop publishing too some way or another...
  • Ah but: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MrZaius (321037) on Monday April 26, 2004 @06:07AM (#8970829) Homepage
    Does it answer this one?
    What the hell is it?

    Might have been nice to mention that in the /. post, too.
    • Re:Ah but: (Score:5, Informative)

      by Simon (S2) (600188) on Monday April 26, 2004 @06:12AM (#8970853) Homepage
      What the hell is it?
      from the Scibus site:

      1.1 What is Scribus?

      Scribus is a desktop page layout program in the tradition of Corel Ventura®, Quark Xpress®, PageMaker® and InDesign®

      Since its launch in the spring of 2001, Scribus 1.+ offers Linux and Unix users a versatile and user friendly page layout application. Scribus 1.0 and its recent development versions are being used in a number of ways; from brochure design to newsletters and posters to technical documentation. Scribus has the type of the features one would expect in a sophisticated page layout application. You can do all the typical tasks like precision placing and rotating of text and/or images on a page, specify manual kerning of type and much more. With the release of Scribus 1.0, Linux and Unix users now have one more high quality application for the desktop, making it the premier choice for DTP on Linux or BSD with other platforms to come.

      Underneath the modern and user friendly interface, Scribus supports professional publishing features, such as CMYK color and a simple color management system to soft proof images destined for high quality color printing, Other features include flexible PDF creation options, PDF Import, Encapsulated Postscript import/export and creation of 4 color separations. Scribus also supports via freetype Unicode text including right to left scripts such as Arabic and Hebrew.

      Graphic formats which can be placed in Scribus include Encapsulated Post Script (eps), TIFF(Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG), Portable Network Graphics (png) and XPixMap(xpm) Scribus now also handles any bit map file type supported by QT3.

      Printing, PDF and SVG creation are via custom driver libraries and plug-ins, giving Scribus inventive features: the abilities to include presentation effects with PDF output, fully scriptable interactive PDF forms, SVG vector file output. The internal printer drivers fully support Level 2 and Level 3/PDF 1.4 postscript features including transparency and font embedding. The PDF driver from Scribus can embed fonts for postscript printing and you can use and output high resolution EPS files.

      Other useful features include manual kerning of type, rotating object frames, bezier curves polygons, precision placement of objects, layering with RGB and CMYK custom colors. The Scribus document file format is XML, an open source standard file format, a super set of SGML. Unlike proprietary binary file formats, even damaged documents, can be recovered with a simple text editor - sometimes a challenging problem with other page layout programs.

      When run from KDE , Drag and Drop is enabled. Thus, for example you can drag and drop from the desktop to the canvas easily. There is easy to use drag and drop scrapbook, which can contain frequently used items including text blocks, pictures and custom shaped frames. Scribus will also run most any window manager including Gnome and Blackbox without difficulties.
      • In other words, it's the missing piece in the Linux puzzle for my school. Now, if we can just find a Windows version to ease the migration...
    • Re:Ah but: (Score:4, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2004 @06:17AM (#8970869)
      It's a new tradition.

      Foo 1.0 has been released. It's been proclaimed the new killer app. killer Funion states that stability has increased exponentially and that it passes the grandma test. Ken at Bargain Hardware states that it installed very easily, and it was a perfect replace for his old program, "bar". He can now accomplish twice the production and efficiency has increased 200%. Mamba Joe, the developer of Foo, expects 2.0 to be released tomorrow. Here's to Mountain Dew!
    • Is it any relation to Jeebus?
  • New Record (Score:1, Redundant)

    by mustangsal66 (580843)
    Article's 4 minutes old and madpenguin has already seen the slashdot effect.
  • A better question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by woodhouse (625329) on Monday April 26, 2004 @06:08AM (#8970837) Homepage
    "what is Scribus really like?"

    What about the more common question: "what is Scribus"? The uninformative summary doesn't help; neither does the slashdotted site.
    • Re:A better question (Score:4, Informative)

      by tijnbraun (226978) on Monday April 26, 2004 @06:11AM (#8970844)
      "what is Scribus really like?"
      Here a link to their homepage [altmuehlnet.de]
    • That ought to make it pretty easy to live up to the hype...
    • Re:A better question (Score:4, Informative)

      by wookyhoo (700289) on Monday April 26, 2004 @06:14AM (#8970858) Homepage
      Here's some "useful" info: Scribus - Layout program similar to Adobe PageMaker [icewalkers.com]

      Basically:

      "Scribus is a Layout program for GNU/Linux®, similar to Adobe® PageMaker(TM), QuarkXPress(TM) or Adobe® InDesign(TM), except that it is published under the GNU GPL. Currently, it is still in its early stages of development, but rapidly maturing and very useable. Already, it has the ability to layout newsletters, create corporate stationery, small posters and other documents which need flexible layout and/or the ability to output to professional quality imagesetting equipment. You can do all the typical tasks like placing and rotating text and/or images on a page, specify manual kerning of type and much more. While the goals of the program are for ease of use and simple easy to understand tools, Scribus offers support for professional publishing features, such as CMYK color, easy PDF creation, Encapsulated Postscript import/export and creation of color separations. Graphic formats which can be placed include Ecapsulated Post Script (eps), Joint Photographic Experts Group (jpeg), Portable Network Graphics (png) and XPixMap(xpm)."
      • Re:A better question (Score:3, Informative)

        by Doctor O (549663)
        OK, I can't read the review as it is slashdotted, but actually I have no idea what a professional DTP application needs JPEG or PNG support for as you need CMYK output if you want to use this professionally. (Please spare me the "but Photoshop saves CMYK JPEGs". Thank you.)

        Also, just "having" PostScript output doesn't mean it's useful. XPress has EPS export for ages, yet we are still waiting for USABLE PostScript files written by XPress, leave alone *syntactically correct* PostScript. XPress can't even pro
        • ... I have no idea what a professional DTP application needs JPEG or PNG support for as you need CMYK output if you want to use this professionally. (Please spare me the "but Photoshop saves CMYK JPEGs". Thank you.)

          So it has few features that may make it more usable for non-professionals too? Oh the horror, the horror.
          • I don't mind non-professionals building layouts, actually I encourage the people I know. The problem is not with the non-professionals. It's with the professionals and it's with extending the functionality of software beyond what I would call a "natural scope".

            When Quark advertised the "web functionality" of XPress 5, the PHB was all excited about all those graphics designers being able to build websites directly from the XPress layouts. They did never understand why I dismissed without seeing it - because
    • Re:A better question (Score:3, Informative)

      by vossman77 (300689)
      What about the more common question: "what is Scribus"? The uninformative summary doesn't help; neither does the slashdotted site.

      From the website:

      Scribus is a Page Layout program for GNU/Linux®, similar to Adobe® PageMaker, QuarkXPress or Adobe® InDesign, except that it is published under the GNU GPL.

      With the release of Scribus 1.1.6, Linux and Unix desktop users have a user friendly, but powerful Desktop Publishing application capable of a broad set of DTP needs. Started with humble beg

    • Re:A better question (Score:3, Informative)

      by Thwomp (773873)
      Google Cache [216.239.59.104]
    • Try freshmeat. "Scribus is a DTP program for Linux. Its goal is to provide an easy-to-use tool for simple Desktop Publishing. It tries be as professional as possible."
    • Re:A better question (Score:5, Informative)

      by zhiwenchong (155773) on Monday April 26, 2004 @07:02AM (#8970984)
      More screenshots here [comcast.net].
  • another short review (Score:5, Informative)

    by spangineer (764167) on Monday April 26, 2004 @06:09AM (#8970838) Homepage
    Here's a quick review [freshmeat.net] talking about the enhancements since the last version.
  • Slashdotted? (Score:5, Informative)

    by osewa77 (603622) <naijasmsNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday April 26, 2004 @06:13AM (#8970856) Homepage
    Even the google cache [64.233.161.104] copy seems inaccessible.. Here is the Freshmeat Project Page [freshmeat.net] for Scribus 1.1.6, and I also have a link to the home page [icewalkers.com]
    ____________________
    Seun Osewa's Afriguru.com [afriguru.com] grows daily.
  • JPEG (Score:5, Funny)

    by jabbadabbadoo (599681) on Monday April 26, 2004 @06:18AM (#8970876)
    They added JPEG support in this version. Time to close down the project.
  • Requires GCC 3.2 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2004 @06:26AM (#8970894)
    Will not compile on GCC 2.95.. That really limits its use a lot doesnt it?
    • Re:Requires GCC 3.2 (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2004 @06:55AM (#8970966)
      All distros with any sense use 3.0+. 2.9x is too old and too buggy to bother with. With 3.0 we get a better compiler producing a faster executable, and is able to handle C++ templates much better. We made the decision a few 4+ minor versions ago, way back in October 03.
    • > Will not compile on GCC 2.95.. That really limits its use a lot doesnt it?

      Limiting oneself to gcc 2.95.x is very painful. It's C++ support is lacking in several areas - namespace support is lacking, exception support is lacking, template support is missing some features, and the C++ standard library is totally standards non-compliant. Anyone doing any serious C++ development that can move to g++ >= 3.2 should do so. (There are lots of situations where this isn't an option, of course.)
    • Ian Murdock, is that you?
  • Scribus is great ! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zork the Almighty (599344) on Monday April 26, 2004 @06:27AM (#8970895) Journal
    I used Scribus about a year ago to produce a professional looking poster for a conference. At the time, it was a very powerful program with a few small quirks. I would recommend it to anybody somewhat familiar with DTP.
    • I have never used a DTP in my life but I was abe to put together a christmas song list with it too. It wasn't professional looking though. But functional. My point is the program was pretty is to pick up.
  • Scribus appears to be a decent desktop publishing tool. I've installed it but personally I prefer to use the OOo drawing tool for mockups, and our graphist uses QuarkXpress for the final designs.

    The point is that printshops accept files only with specific formats, namely with CMYK color separation, the appropriate resolution, and in "well-known" file formats: Quark, Illustrator, et al.

    A Linux desktop publishing program that can product color-separated files in the correct format can be a dog to learn and use, that'd be fine! As long as it can produce print-ready files, a painful learning curve is not an issue.

    The UI is not the key. Business usefulness is the key.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2004 @06:40AM (#8970932)
      Scribus is regularly (almost daily) tested with high end printers RIPS and printing hardware. We have DTP professionals using and testing for us in the US, Canada, France and Germany.

      EPS and PDFs from Scribus are usable in any DTP program (including Adobe apps such as Illustrator) can load and use such files. Scribus can also directly print to the hardware.

      Reviewer says little cms is for producing PDFs. No, its for colour management! Scribus has its own PDF exporter.
    • Having used Scribus for the fairly basic dp use I have had, I can assure you that the PDF export in Scribus works well and is rather sufficient for making print-ready files for printshops.
    • PDF? (Score:3, Informative)

      by hughk (248126)
      You only need a format like Quark Express or Adobe Illustrator iff the document needs much postprocessing. In fact Quark Express is a pretty hopeless format as things like fonts can't be embedded. Instead of a single file, you end up giving many, the quark file, the CMYK separated picture files and the fonts. A handful to manage.

      Any good printshop can take and print a PDF. They can even tweak the colours if it is needed.

      • Actually any good printshop/printer/ prepress house wants a PDF X/1a . Essentially a PDF with all of the link and web nonsense removed.
  • What is Scribus? (Score:3, Informative)

    by JHVB (613081) on Monday April 26, 2004 @06:54AM (#8970962)
    From their website:

    "Scribus is a Page Layout program for GNU/Linux®, similar to Adobe® PageMaker, QuarkXPress or Adobe® InDesign, except that it is published under the GNU GPL.

    With the release of Scribus 1.1.6, Linux and Unix desktop users have a user friendly, but powerful Desktop Publishing application capable of a broad set of DTP needs. Started with humble beginnings as a Python program to make menus, Scribus has been transformed into a young but rapidly maturing DTP application with numerous professional features, as well as some unique capabilities. Already, in use from everything to club newsletters to small newspaper production to animated interactive PDF presentations a la Power point. or Open Office Impress. Other uses are creating corporate stationery and brochures, small posters and other documents which need flexible layout and/or the ability to output to professional quality image-setting equipment."

  • Scribus is good... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by WWWWolf (2428) <wwwwolf@iki.fi> on Monday April 26, 2004 @06:59AM (#8970980) Homepage

    (Note: I'm not complaining, just hoping aloud =)

    Scribus is an excellent application. I could easily put it in the same category as Mozilla Firefox, XEmacs, GIMP, Blender, Audacity and Eclipse as an example of well-engineered open source application that is good enough to get any real work done.

    Scribus is, however, a little bit of a quirk-express. The user interface is not yet completely free of small things that tend to be annoying. For one thing, it's slow (though nowhere near as slow as some pre-1.0 versions - and Freetype integration has greatly helped with this too, with faster and better-looking font rendering) and some details lag behind (the property dialog could use some really heavy improvements).

    I think the UI situation is just similar to GIMP 1.0 - it took until 1.2 until the UI was really good and until 2.0 until it was superb. Yet, like GIMP 1.0, it's completely usable for what it's designed for!

    So, in conclusion, I'll be hoping that we'll get into the "GIMP 1.2" level soon what comes to the UI. It is really good as it is right now, though.

  • by Cloud K (125581) on Monday April 26, 2004 @07:29AM (#8971045)
    How appropriate! Seeing the website is broken via slasdotting - a post nuke website, so to speak.
  • Templates (Score:5, Insightful)

    by adrianbaugh (696007) on Monday April 26, 2004 @07:33AM (#8971061) Homepage Journal
    Scribus looks like an okay program, and I'm sure that for printing office types who have the time to learn to use it properly it does a fine job. However there's an opportunity to make it a real "killer app" for far more people. Consider Microsoft Publisher. It's an okay sort of program - what makes it very useful for a lot of people is the vast template library which makes it very easy to get 90% of the way towards (say) a double-sided 3-panel sales brochure in about 5 minutes, requiring only that the default background is changed and perhaps some minor details altered. The templates are even themeable.

    There seems to be nothing like this at all for scribus (in fact, by and large the range of templates available for OS office applications is pretty woeful). We really ought to get on top of this as a priority; otherwise MS Office will still have a massive lead in terms of useability to Joe Officeworker.
    • Re:Templates (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      We would be more than happy to have some people creating sample docs like this for Scribus..

      IRC: #scribus on irc.freenode.net...
      OR
      Mailing List [altmuehlnet.de]
    • Re:Templates (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jejones (115979)
      There seems to be nothing like this [collection of templates] at all for scribus (in fact, by and large the range of templates available for OS office applications is pretty woeful).

      I can't speak for Scribus, but when I grab a form from Office {Max, Depot}, I look for where it says "equivalent of Avery XXXX," head over to the Avery web site, click on the template for XXXX, and OO opens it quite nicely. (Of course, a version change in MS Word with associated format change for templates can trivially break
  • Sodipodi (Score:2, Interesting)

    by suso (153703)
    What's interesting is that Sodipodi (that other vector drawing program) means "to scribble" in Estonian.
    • (1) Sodipodi is made by an Estonian IIUC.
      (2) Sodipodi is a vector drawing program, Scribus is a DTP program. Not in the same field.
      • Re:Sodipodi (Score:2, Informative)

        by greenguy (162630)
        (2) Sodipodi is a vector drawing program, Scribus is a DTP program. Not in the same field.

        Partly true, partly not. Vector drawing is not the same as DTP, but there are connections between them. The Scribus team and the Inkscape team, for example, are working actively to coordinate their backends and make it easy for users to use the two apps together. You can get an idea of the short-term implications of this here [salford.ac.uk], and the long-term implications here [inkscape.org].
      • Re:Sodipodi (Score:3, Informative)

        by KagatoLNX (141673)
        FWIW, Scribus can import SVG--which Sodipodi produces fairly well. As a pair, they're pretty useful.
  • Who uses Quark? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ducklord (770855) on Monday April 26, 2004 @08:02AM (#8971150)
    The main power of Quark Express is in its shortcuts. Experienced DTP users can set up a page blazingly fast, and in less than 5mins the have a full doc setup through mostly keystrokes. That`s the main reason why a lot of them whine when the shortcuts change between versions, and that`s why more than a lot stick with older versions of a program if the newer ones have "changed stuff" (Quark5 being a prime example, as far as they tell me). For a different program to have success in this field, there mustn`t exist only a nice interface but a similarity with the most well known "players". How different is it from Quark and Pagemaker? Can it be configured to work in a similar way? Its widgets are not its main power, proper seperations, SMYC and RGB support, similarity to other apps are what can make it succesfull.
    • Yes, but I have helped several grade/high schools moved down the path of scribus. Maybe not today, but in about 5 years, there will be a generation of colliagates with Scribus experience.

      The sad thing is that I like to see companies like Adobe and quark succeed, but they seem to be tied up with MS's politics rather than the needs of customers.
  • by scribusdocs (689789) on Monday April 26, 2004 @08:04AM (#8971163) Homepage

    Link: Scribus Screen Shot Gallery [salford.ac.uk]


  • Gnome: Passepartout (Score:3, Informative)

    by leandrod (17766) <l@@@dutras...org> on Monday April 26, 2004 @08:36AM (#8971316) Homepage Journal
    For those of us Gnome diehards, there's Passepartout. Since I've no use for DTP, I've no idea if it is, or has the potential to be, anywhere as good as Scribus.

    Also, bad thing the Gnome LyX frontend stalled...
  • by Wolfier (94144)
    Someone has to ask this question.

    Does it export layouts to TeX code?
  • Very good app (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Britz (170620)
    I just want to use this forum to thank the developers of scribus for this fine app.

    I did some desktop publishing back in school with Adobe Pagemaker, but I don't have a usable Windoze box around anymore. So last fall I checked if there were any desktop publishing tools for Linux available when I wanted to create a "birthday paper" for my dad's 60's birthday.

    apt-get install scribus

    And the program had everything I needed and not a single thing too much. It was usable without much learning and I was able to
  • Would it be a good tool for pub;lishing a 75 page book with some photos in the middle?
  • How about the ability to import/export files with FrameMaker's Maker Interchange Format (MIF) format? Lots of Linux documentation is written with DocBook which can be rendered to MIF using OpenJade.

    IMHO, the ability to import MIF files and tidy up their page layouts before the final render/print would make this a killer app. Other page layout programs may able to import MIF files so exporting this format would be helpful.

    Also, how about an English language manual?

  • Got it installed... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by octogen (540500)
    Now I finally got 1.1.6 installed on my Solaris box.

    For all Solaris users:

    Regarding the error on line 139 in scribus/seiten.h:
    (parse error before numeric constant)
    The code on line 139 is:
    QCheckBox* DS;

    On Solaris, and possibly on many other Unix System V Implementations, DS is already defined if something includes signal.h; to fix this error, place the following line into seiten.h (right after the #include statements):
    #undef DS

    I compiled Scribus on an Intel Platform Edition machine, which is a little-end

: is not an identifier

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