[Scribus] Scribus in the Art Lab

Louis Desjardins louis_desjardins
Mon Apr 3 23:51:52 CEST 2006

pixelnate a ?crit :

> Craig Bradney wrote:
>>100% agree. Uni should be teaching you how to think not what to think... or in 
>>this case.. what design is about, not what a program to *help* you design 
>>(it, not design for you) is about.
> They should be teaching you what you _need_ to know not what they would 
> _like_ you to know. He forced his agenda upon them, even though the 
> commercial apps, while more expensive, are currently the better more 
> fully featured tools.

I disagree. If I would teach DTP, I would use Scribus in the classroom. 
And first of all, I would turn off the computers and ask the students 
take a pencil and a sheet of paper (recycled paper ? hey, let's save 
those ancient forests) to make sure they can first "download" their idea 
of what the page would be in their view before ever trying to realize it 
using any tool.

I would also make sure they get all relevant information of what is 
graphic design, what are the components, the basic parts, and the 
fioritures. You do not need a computer to explain what margins are, what 
bleed is and what kerning is all about. Once they know, I would turn on 
the computer.

I have seen so many young people asking for a job and telling me they 
were actually "experts" on such and such software... When it came to 
actually do the job, they sure did know what were the hot keys to get 
the dialogs on board... But most of them, right out of school, didn't 
have a clue on what to do first, and why, and what they were going to do 
to meet that deadline anyway. But they were fast and quick at trying 
different things. All of them needed a real life ride of a few months 
(for the more talented), and some simply couldn't cope with the graphic 
art industry's demanding life. Details. Details. Details. And strategy.

Now when it comes to the software, well, maybe you will find it will 
sound surprising but it actually doesn't matter that much... If you know 
what you want to achieve, you'll get the job done. Now, some tools might 
be better than others to achieve a specific thing. But really, there is 
nothing like a knowledgeable human being...

The way you look at it is more like saying: "We're sorry, our great chef 
will not be able to achieve his famous coq-au-vin providing he cannot 
cook on an electrical outlet and that's all there is in the house". Is 
it the chef or the oven? Skills, someone? Ingredients? Capacity of 

It might be interesting to mention that Adobe people have thouroughly 
made the demonstration that it is easy (very easy) for a professionnal 
to switch from Quark to InDesign. This tells it all doesn't it? It took 
me a week-end to be fully productive (and much faster) when I let go my 
old parallel ruler and drawing table for Quark nearly 20 years ago. 
(Quark at the time didn't have a "lock to baseline grid" feature nor 
multicolumn text frames. Did it prevent me to achieve any of my 
professionnal work back then? No.) It took me only a few hours to get my 
hands on Scribus, 2 years ago.

I don't know if I am convincing enough to make you think that this 
teacher is actually not fooling any of his students nor is he taking 
risks with their future and to the opposite is in fact helping them 
build self confidence in their own skills and knowledge instead of 
telling them that since they "learned" Quark (or InDesign) they have 
only access to jobs that will ask for this particular software?! I do 
believe that Scribus, even though we all know is far from perfect,  has 
its place in a DTP classroom, and at any level.

Considering the fact that many professionnals using computers nowadays 
don't have a clue of just how the simple Search & Replace function can 
really help... Or how lots of pros don't use so many great features that 
are already in the programs, such as Stylesheets, for instance. And how 
many people know just what the H&J dialog is about in Quark? And what's 
the big fuss about all those versions subsequent to 3.32... all the way 
to 6.5 ... (oh! and what about version 5 ?!?!?) and all the quirks we'd 
discover in the super developping series Quark 4 had to offer... 
Robust?! C'mon! You must be joking! :-)

I disagree also with the poster you mentionned at

I cannot talk for the teacher but on my part, I think it is too much a 
shortcut to bring down the whole issue to money. Of course, the licences 
have a cost. And of course, if a college or a university can cut into 
those expenses it is a good thing. But one must consider that when a 
school is using open source software it also means that that school can 
participate to the project and can help the project go further. It is 
not even a matter of "taking control" of the teaching tools... it is a 
matter of "taking care" of them. And in turn, this class and lots of 
others can help develop a piece of software that is better suited for 
people's needs. This is "sharing" and this is what education is all about.

I am taking the time to answer you because I think lots of people when 
they look at software just fall into that marketing trap, fully 
concentrating their attention on the tool itself and just forgetting to 
think about what they are using it for, what they want to achieve in the 
end. The "full-feature" thing is much about speaking so loud nobody 
remembers exactly what he/she came for. And I think this is worth 
answering so we can get people to understand that there are other ways 
to look at software.

Scribus, by the way, is improving everyday. A few people make sure of 
that, everyday. And you know, DTP knowledge among Scribus users is 
improving also everyday because we care... and we share. Docs, tutorial, 
wiki and this list tells a lot about it. And it is for all to read as 
well, no matter wether they use other programs or not. It's free. As in 



> ~Nate
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Louis Desjardins
Mardigrafe inc.
T 514 934 1353
F 514 934 3698

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