[Scribus] Questions

Lars Nygaard lars.nygaard
Wed Jul 30 15:40:42 CEST 2003

>Do you the programmers/users of scribus think it is usable to lay out a
>40 to 48 page A3 sized newspaper?

I think it is. However, I would choose Scribus only if your layout is 
fairly standard from issue to issue - i.e. not "magazine style".

I've done a lot of newspaper lay-out with QuarkXpress, and have recently 
begun to look at Scribus.

Good things about Scribus (for newspaper production, compared to QuarkXpress):
- The Python scripting plugin can take care of a lot of boring, repetative 
- PDF export
- customize keyboard shortcuts.
- XML-based file format if safer (some Quark files will sometimes lock up 
- Good, free support from mailing list.

Bad things (at least I haven't found a way to do this):
- poor handling of columns: this should (at least optionally) be a property 
of a single text box.
- lacks some typhographic controls, like kerning and line spacing
- lacks "canvas dragging" (eg. like in Quark, where pressing the Alt key 
allows you to move the canvas
- Python plugin lacks text links

Note, however, that Scribus is developing at a rather astonishing rate, and 
hopefully these things will be taken care of quickly.

In addition I have had some problems with stability and font rendering 
(this can probably be solved, however, with a careful installation. I just 
compiled on a Redhat 7.3, and have not tried fixing things.)

>I find it hard to use, and cant find a comprehensive guide in the
>documentation. Where can I find out how to use it?

DTP is not just about learning a program, it's also about learning DTP. So 
even if it is difficult to learn how to lay out a newspaper page in 
Scribus, it would probably be just as difficult with Quark og Indesign.

>If we are going to use it we'll translate it to Afrikaans my mother
>tongue and also need to add Afrikaans hyphenations (we have an
>algorithm[we'll actually we have a neural net]). Is this adding
>translations/features and hyphenations hard? We want to hire a
>programmer to help with the features, how long will it take him to start
>programming (start being productive)?

I don't know about that, but here is a piece of advice: Get a programmer 
that knows Python, and put him/her to work on scripts for converting text 
in some semantic format (like docbook xml or Quark-style tags) to various 
pages. This will save you a lot of work in laying out your newspaper. I'd 
be happy to help you out with this; I'm an extremely incompetent Python 
coder, but I have some experience with text formats and making page templates.

Lars Nygaard

lars.nygaard at ilf.uio.no       22 85 82 18 (jobb)
http://folk.uio.no/larsnyg   90 63 23 19 (mobil)

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