[Scribus] Question about output formats

Gregory Pittman gpittman
Sat Aug 5 17:18:34 CEST 2006

Plinnell wrote:
> 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 : 
> http://atlantictechsolutions.com/pmfaq1.html
> 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.
Judging from what we have heard from others' experiences, you probably 
need to go into this realizing that this is not a matter of being able 
to say or do a particular thing that will make Scribus an obvious 
choice. You will likely need, on your own or with an "accomplice", 
familiarize yourself with Scribus by making a sample project to its 
completion to a press-ready PDF to see whether you can produce output 
acceptable to your printer. If you have or develop a relationship with 
someone at the printing business they can be of help.

Once you have this ironed out, then go back to the nonprofit to make 
your case. As Peter says, it's fortunate that now there is a native 
Windows port so you don't have to fight that kind of resistance as well, 
but realistically Scribus is comfortable on Linux, Windows, and Macs -- 
if there is a stumbling block for cross-platform sharing (of Scribus 
files) it is likely to be fonts. Once fonts are embedded in the PDF, a 
PDF is a PDF.

Successful or not, we are interested in your experiences, or even why 
you decided not to pursue this. This applies not only to the above 
discussed issues, but also features and bugs issues, and importantly, we 
are trying to develop the online help available for newbies in the 
Scribus Manual, Scribus site, Scribus Wiki, and the mailing list.



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