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Re: [OCLUG-Tech] Scribus

On 12/29/12 4:15 PM, Rob Echlin wrote:

Does anyone here use Scribus?
- It's GPL-licensed Page Layout software.

Hi Rob. A few years ago, one of the coordinators of linux.com.au was a guest speaker at one of OCLUG's meetings, and he had done the conference literature in Scribus - a full-colour calendar/program, and as I recall, possibly some pamphlets as well. It all looked very well done.

I've used Scribus myself to layout 2- to 6-letter handouts in a newsletter format (multiple columns, a few graphics) for Sunday-school classes at church, as well as to design my own daybook-style calendar (a work still in progress).

My feeling is that Scribus is well suited for shorter, layout-intensive documents such as newsletters, brochures, calendars, magazine articles, and the like. However, it lacks essential features such as the ability to generate tables of contents or indexes, so it is likely not suitable for long documents, such as multi-chapter technical manuals. In other words, it's more like PageMaker or InDesign than FrameMaker. (In fact, I also use InDesign at work, and it's relatively easy to switch between it and Scribus without much grief.)

While it's been around for a pretty long time as large open-source projects go, only a few years ago it still seemed a work in progress, lacking features that I would have thought pretty fundamental, such as the ability to set a right indent without a workaround. I think it's matured quite well recently. Amongst the annoyances still around: it treats every typeface as an individual entity rather than one face in a larger font family (bold, italic, etc.), which means there's no B or I button to quickly make boldface or italic type. Also, the developers made the deliberate choice to have the PostScript output explicitly locate each glyph individually on the page (instead of, by contrast, line by line), so the PS or PDF output of even a short document can be pretty large - several megabytes, as opposed to the 100-200 kilobytes that you'd get out of a typical word processor.

I am trying it out and using it for the

This is all we got. Using it for the . . . first time? For the annual family newsletter? :) I'd be interested to know what you're planning to do. I found Scribus' learning curve pretty steep, and if I didn't have a project in mind that needed its particular abilities, it's likely I never would have learned it at all.

Take care,



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