[Scribus] Question about output formats

Plinnell mrdocs
Sat Aug 5 12:29:09 CEST 2006

On Saturday 05 August 2006 08:45, Bruce Kingsland wrote:
> I'm really new at even being a newbie (as far as DTP goes, that
> is). I've been lurking on the list for awhile, mostly gathering
> data for answering questions prior to asking them. But I couldn't
> find the answer to this one; and that is because I didn't/don't
> know what to search on:
> I belong to a nonprofit that produces a 40 page newsletter each
> month. Sometimes the number of pages varies, but they vary in steps
> of 8 because the publisher uses newsprint on a large web printer.
> The organization is confused about FOSS, and considers it to be
> inferior shareware; so they have invested large amounts of $$ in
> hardware to make XP and Pagemaker work reasonably well for this
> continuous volunteer task. I'd like to change that by using Scribus
> for the task, and showing them that they can save $$ and get a
> superior product.

Choosing Pagemaker and XP was  not optimal IMO and I know Pagemaker 
very well - I've supported it commercially for clients .  I wrote a 
long FAQ a while ago to make Pagemaker 6.5+ run on Windows 2000/XP : 

At least they did not choose Publisher :)

The issues as they concern you:

Pagemaker is no longer in development. There will be no new versions 
and only patches where bugs are found. It is a very old program and 
it has its quirks. 

Pagemaker has an export to PDF module which is not reliable for press 
ready print. The recommended method is to export Postscript from 
Pagemaker and then separately distilling into PDF. This latter method 
takes some time to master and requires some knowledge of setting 
Acrobat Distiller options (there are ~ 100 of them) You might get 
lucky and have a printer send you a .joboptions file which contains 
these settings but do not count on it.

Pagemaker's biggest weakness' are the lack of Undo and a file format 
which is particularly vulnerable to corruption. These issues are well 
documented on http://adobeforums.com in the Pagemaker section.

While I would not say Scribus is superior in every area, its design 
has incorporated features to avoid some of the issues which caused 
real end user pain in legacy page layout apps. The file format of 
Scribus is well documented XML like and very robust. We chose 
specifically not to allow images to be embedded into Scribus docs 
based on our experience with other layout apps.

Certainly, exporting correct commercial print ready PDF is vastly 
easier in Scribus and does not require learning arcane Acrobat 
distiller options. 

We rarely get reports of print failures from Scribus created PDF. 
Where we do they are high priority items and in many cases we have 
found broken fonts, images and in a few cases printers unwisely 
trying to import Scribus' PDF in Quark. The Quark PDF importer just 
cannot handle some of the PDF features Scribus supports.

> However, I don't know enough about DTP to know what the output
> format of Pagemaker is, or whether Scribus can provide a similar
> result. I believe it can, but I'm concerned that were I call the
> publisher to ask what format they want to recieve the source file
> in - they will tell me "use pagemaker (or the equivalent mac
> product)", which won't get me the answer I need. I know that the
> orgainization will simply tell me that only pagemaker will work,
> but I know better than that.

Today PDF is *the* format for sending files to commercial printers. In 
fact some printers will only accept PDF. Any printer that tells you 
to use a specific layout application is to be avoided. Modern PDF 
print workflows do not care what the creating application is - just 
that it conforms to the specs. Scribus PDF's are *very* conformant as 
we adhere to the published specs only. We use multiple specialist PDF 
testing tools to verify this.

> I saw this page:
> http://wiki.scribus.net/index.php/For_whom_is_PDF/X-3_really_desire
>d%3F and thot that this is probably what the publisher is really
> wanting, but prior to seeing this I had no inkling that a publisher
> would want a PDF file; for some reason I thought that they would
> want some complicated tiff format, or something else common in the
> DTP industry but not commonly used in daily WP printing activities.


This whole section is about preparing and exporting PDF for reliable 
commercial printing. Until you have some knowhow of color management 
and a printer that specifically says it can handle PDF/X-3, use 
normal PDF 1.3/1.4.

> So, perhaps I've found the answer, but I'm not sure; which is why
> I'm posting to this list. Sorry for the longwinded question, but I
> felt it was somewhat necessary to provide a little background. Once
> I'm comfortable that I can produce the necessary output format, I
> expect the rest of the project will go relatively smoothly (albeit
> a steep learning curve awaits me!). :)
> Thanx!
> -bk

Lastly, the choice to use Scribus on Windows is yours. While 1.3.3.x 
is pretty stable - it is a development version. So, it does have some 
missing/incomplete features. There are people using Scribus in the 
same situation as you reliably and comfortably.


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