[Scribus] Quark user's questions

Craig Ringer craig
Thu Jan 27 05:24:29 CET 2005

On Wed, 2005-01-26 at 22:43 +0000, John Kershaw wrote:
> At 12:24 pm -1000 26/1/05, wayne wrote:
> >Go to the Properties >Image window and click in either the X or Y Position
> >boxes. You can use the scroll arrows, mouse scroll wheel or the keyboard
> >arrow keys to nudge the image within the frame (after double clicking on the
> >image). Holding down the Shift key will allow finer adjustments.
> Oh my. Oh my. What comes after lol & rotfl? I have eyes like saucers 
> (where's a webcam when you need one?)

> I was clicking the *image* and trying to use the cursor keys to move it.

Which would ideally also work, but isn't implemented yet. Volunteers?

More seriously, that's exactly what Franz, Craig Bradney, Paul, Peter,
Riku and Petr are. Volunteers doing this for their own reasons. With
finite time and a lot of things they want to do (not all of which
involve working through the night hacking code). It'd be cool to be able
to just implement everything at once, but unfortunately computer
programming isn't that easy.

> Is this, like, a normal Unix thing?

UNIX, Windows, and Mac - they're called "spin boxes". I first
encountered one on my Mac LC-III. The ones in Scribus are just a little
smarter and allow you to avoid clicking on tiny arrows (IIRC some of the
win32 apps I've used have done this).

Personally, what impresses me is the ability to make simple calculations
in the spin boxes. This has been *fantastic* many times, especially with

> I've never seen anything like this on Mac or Windows. I could
> understand clicking the little arrow widgets (though I'd have to look
> hard or be told to do it) but pressing up/down in a text field to
> adjust the value? Bi-zarre!

Somewhat strange, sure, but (a) doesn't affect users who don't
know/care, and (b) extremely useful for those who *do*. Especially the
mouse wheel and modifier keys - that gives you nudge-like functionality
for things like rotation, *without* having to know millions of obscure

> If you wanna snaffle any Quark/InDesign converts, you need to change 
> that behaviour.

There seems to be a perception that Scribus is a Quark / InDesign
"replacement" or somehow designed to "convert" users. It bothers me. My
personal perception as a user and occasional contributor has been that
Scribus is a DTP app. Not a "Quark replacement" or "InDesign
replacement". Hopefully in time a well rounded, *user* *friendly*,
feature complete, stable DTP app that retains its strong values for
correctness in output and design.

I think it's just doing everybody a disservice to claim it's somehow a
Quark equivalent, Quark replacement, or the same for InDesign,
PageMaker, FrameMaker, even (ugh) Publisher. For one thing, in some
areas it falls severely short, and in others it kicks the ass off some
or all in that list. This will almost certainly always be the case,
though hopefully the ratio will move in Scribus' favour as it develops
and matures (or, as its developers continue to improve it, really. This
stuff doesn't happen by its self.). Anybody trying Scribus expecting
almost-Quark or almost-Indesign will be disappointed, and probably
always will be. I think that's a good thing, and view OO.o as an example
of the dangers of the be-everything-for-everybody approach.

Perhaps more importantly, even if the dev team did want to make it a
Quark/ID "equivalent" (which I for one hope they *don't*)... how the
heck is one supposed to do that? You'd have a schizophrenic app on your
hands. The two apps follow quite different principles in UI and general
operation, and given the seemingly religious wars between users of the
two I can't possibly imagine how one could make them all happy. You'd
need something like UI modes. Ick. It'd also be a constant and IMO
rather pointless game of catch up (well, to ID - Quark doesn't need much
catching up to, release to release). Then if we counted in something
like FrameMaker, which still has no good equivalent out there at all...

It's much better, in my view, to set out to just *build* *a* *good*
*dtp* *app*. Adobe did just that with InDesign, throwing away an
existing and well known product to do so. They appear to have done a
fantastic job. As someone here noted recently, the Scribus folks "aren't
Adobe" (note: that'd mean getting paid), but I think most people can
spot a good idea when they see one.

The Scribus team also has rather more than the odd good idea themselves.
Some of them I personally think are extremely promising, new, and
interesting - and can't wait to see come to fruition. As the app
matures, hopefully more of those ideas will make it in (some already
have), along with a more well-rounded and polished feature set and UI,
to make Scribus a fantastic DTP app. Such things don't appear out of
thin air - they take a *lot* of work - and Scribus isn't exactly an old
player in the field.

If you have an interest in the app, even if you don't use it day to day
but think you could/might once some things are added/improved, consider
testing it out, reporting bugs, helping with documentation and
translation (you guys *rock*), etc. Personally, I found I was motivated
to eventually learn C++ (that's right, not knowing how to code isn't a
perpetual state of being) and start working on some of the things that
bothered me. Note that showing that you're willing to do more than
complain about things generally makes people more willing to listen to
your concerns, too. Something to bear thinking about.

Just a few thoughts from a user...

Craig Ringer

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