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Software GNU is Not Unix Graphics

Scribus 1.1.6 Reviewed 201

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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  • 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.
  • 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]
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 vossman77 (300689) on Monday April 26, 2004 @06:15AM (#8970862) Homepage
    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 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.

    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, sophisticated "press-ready" PDF creation, EPS and PDF import/export and creation of color separations and optionally very complete ICC color management - thanks to littlecms, the first for an open source application.

    Scribus supports many major graphic formats including most all of the standard ones used in DTP in addition to SVG import and export.

    Printing is done via its own internal level 3 PS driver, including support for font embedding and sub-setting with True Type, Type 1 and Open Type fonts. The internal driver fully supports Level 2 Postscript constructs and very large set of Level 3.

    PDF support includes transparency, encryption and a large set of the PDF 1.4 spec including interactive PDF's form fields, annotations and bookmarks. No other application is capable of producing such a wide range of PDF features on Linux, Unix like operating systems.

    The file format is based on XML and fully documented. Unlike proprietary binary file formats, even damaged documents, may be partially recovered with a simple text editor - sometimes a challenging problem with other page layout programs.

    When run with KDE 3.x, Drag and Drop is enabled, as well as inheriting KDE style plug-ins. Thus, for example you can drag and drop from the desktop to the pasteboard easily. There is a drag and drop scrapbook, which can contain frequently used items including text blocks, pictures and custom shapes.

    Currently, the most recent version 1.1.6 of Scribus supports Open Type, True Type and Type1 Postscript fonts.
  • Re:A better question (Score:3, Informative)

    by Thwomp (773873) on Monday April 26, 2004 @06:16AM (#8970868) Journal
    Google Cache [216.239.59.104]
  • Re:usability (Score:5, Informative)

    by baryon351 (626717) on Monday April 26, 2004 @06:19AM (#8970878)
    According to this review the usability of this product is only 2 stars out of 5. Seems like poor usability and linux-based products will go hand in hand for a long time.

    Oh it sounds like it's a perfect drop-in replacement for QuarkXPress :)

    For all its excellence with output (and when I used it, it worked well) Quark is certainly not an example of brilliant, or even good UI design. Takes a lot of time and a lot of knowledge of the little hidden and non-obvious keycommands to use well.
  • by iapetus (24050) on Monday April 26, 2004 @06:28AM (#8970900) Homepage
    DTP
  • Re:JPEG (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2004 @06:33AM (#8970912)
    We added JPEG support to PDF export... a very different thing to JPEG support in general.
  • 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.
  • Re:A better question (Score:3, Informative)

    by Doctor O (549663) on Monday April 26, 2004 @06:51AM (#8970956) Homepage Journal
    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 properly import its own EPS files, 'nuff said.

    I'd really like to see a nice DTP application for Linux, maybe this is it. Mind you, I'm a professional designer, so I've used most tools on the market at one time or another, and I've yet to come across something which is usable for all daily tasks. Every app so far is only good for some cases.
  • 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."

  • 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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2004 @06:55AM (#8970967)
    DeskTop Publishing.
  • Re:A better question (Score:5, Informative)

    by zhiwenchong (155773) on Monday April 26, 2004 @07:02AM (#8970984)
    More screenshots here [comcast.net].
  • by mz2 (770412) on Monday April 26, 2004 @07:25AM (#8971033)
    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.
  • Re:Requires GCC 3.2 (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2004 @07:29AM (#8971046)
    3.2+ please. 3.0 was buggy as hell.
  • Re:Won't compile (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2004 @07:31AM (#8971051)
    Update to CVS. Instructions at www.scribus.net, although this fix was in earlier versions. Some versions of GCC dont seem to be including unistd.h. With a #include in page.cpp you shouldnt get these errors at all, although as I say, its there and has been there for awhile.
  • Re:A better question (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2004 @07:33AM (#8971060)
    or the newer one [scribus.net].
  • by justsomebody (525308) on Monday April 26, 2004 @07:42AM (#8971087) Journal
    Obviously you don't know shit about what you talk about.

    Do you even know what is the real difference between postscript an eps?? In common basics one line and preview (besides the fact that encapsulated eps is limited to one page).

    EPS allows you to have preview which postscript doesn't. That's the most of it.

    Steps to make handmade eps
    1. Print single page in ascii postcript
    2. Open in simple ascii editor
    3. Paste %!PS-Adobe-X.0 EPSF-X.0 as the first line
    4. Save
    5. ???Profit

    Now even if your program doesn't support importing ps (but does eps), you can simply import this new file. Yes, preview will be unavailable in quark and similiar software.
  • Re:Templates (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2004 @07:46AM (#8971102)
    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]
  • PDF? (Score:3, Informative)

    by hughk (248126) on Monday April 26, 2004 @07:47AM (#8971106) Journal
    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.

  • by scribusdocs (689789) on Monday April 26, 2004 @08:04AM (#8971163) Homepage

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


  • Re:A better question (Score:5, Informative)

    by scribusdocs (689789) on Monday April 26, 2004 @08:11AM (#8971189) Homepage

    That is the older one. The new one is Scribus Home Page [scribus.net]

  • Re:Requires GCC 3.2 (Score:2, Informative)

    by ajs318 (655362) <<ku.oc.dohshtrae> <ta> <2pser_ds>> on Monday April 26, 2004 @08:25AM (#8971255)
    WTF are you talking about? Debian includes the most cutting-edge software versions in SID {unstable; named after the boy in "Toy Story" [all Debian releases have codenames taken from this movie; I'm betting when they run out of T.S. characters they'll start on "Finding Nemo"] who breaks toys, and also for "still in development"}. You just need to edit your /etc/apt/sources.list and change every instance of "stable" to "unstable". Then # apt-get update, # /etc/init.d/kdm stop {otherwise you will muck it up} and finally # apt-get upgrade. You might need another untouched machine to run a web browser to run google if you get into trouble, but unstable isn't as unstable as it used to be.

    It does tell you all this on the Debian site if you can be bothered to look for it; but you obviously prefer putting other people down because you mistakenly think it makes you look better {as opposed to making you look like a whining jerk-off, which is what your dad ought to have done and then we'd all be happy}.
  • Gnome: Passepartout (Score:3, Informative)

    by leandrod (17766) <l@dut[ ].org ['ras' in gap]> 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...
  • Re:A better question (Score:2, Informative)

    by Doctor O (549663) on Monday April 26, 2004 @09:34AM (#8971683) Homepage Journal
    Actually it's pretty pointless to reply to someone who misses my point as far as you do, but I'll try to help you see the light. I guess I'm just feeding a troll, so IHBT and HAND.

    The point was that the PostScript generated by XPress is in fact so lousy that it won't read it itself, generating PS error after PS error on every RIP we and our contractors have (Agfa, Linotype, CreoScitex, Canon). I am well aware that EPS and PS are pretty much the same, I have hand-written PostScript ten years ago.
  • Re:Sodipodi (Score:2, Informative)

    by greenguy (162630) <estebandido@NoSpAm.gmail.com> on Monday April 26, 2004 @09:57AM (#8971898) Homepage Journal
    (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) <kagato@@@souja...net> on Monday April 26, 2004 @10:01AM (#8971928) Homepage
    FWIW, Scribus can import SVG--which Sodipodi produces fairly well. As a pair, they're pretty useful.
  • Re:Text of Review (Score:5, Informative)

    by scribusdocs (689789) on Monday April 26, 2004 @10:36AM (#8972297) Homepage

    Replying to myself to correct a few omissions and corrections:

    • Littlecms is required ICC color management. Scribus is the GPL application to have such sophiticated ICC Color Managment
    • The Print Previewer - is in the Extra menu as it is a separate plug-in. There is an optional font-preview which works the same way. This plug also can generate separations previews of each ink plate in CMYK.
    • The documentation link in the original article points at linuxdoc.org. Scribus has extensive documentation, including many sample PDF's on advanced subjects like its pre-press capabilities.The docs also include 70 + links for Linux and DTP.The docs are out of date, but mostly because of the rapid pace of development - a nice problem to have.
    • Missed in the review is the Scribus python plug-in support, which is very powerful. This allows you to create python scripts to automate document production. There are several sample python scripts included in the scribus package.
    • One of the regular users has contributed a number of Avery templates already.See the downloads section of www.scribus.net

    My personal view of the reviews of Scribus:

    Unfortunately, we have yet to see a review of Scribus by someone who has used professional DTP applications. As a IT/DTP consultant, even though I am a member of the team, my testing with professional DTP pre-flight tools has consistently shown Scribus creates PDF and PS output which most certainly equals and sometimes exceeds those of commercial apps.

    Lastly, DTP is itself a complex subject and takes time to master. The "Wizard" approach of other apps really dumbs down the true capabilities of an app like Scribus, just like it would Blender, GIMP or any other similar type of application.

  • Re:No spot colors (Score:2, Informative)

    by scribusdocs (689789) on Monday April 26, 2004 @12:01PM (#8973139) Homepage
    Scribus can import spot colors via EPS, as well as DCS 2.0 files. Support for Pantone requires licensing the Pantone libraries.
  • by TheMadPenguin (662390) on Monday April 26, 2004 @03:52PM (#8975578) Homepage
    We aplogize for this happening. We've been tweaking the server and software every time this happens, but nothing is working so we are going to move away from PostNuke (which is inevitably our Slashdot weakness). Once again, I apologize, it hurts our credibility and I know it, so the next time you see us here... well... you'll actually SEE us here :)

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