[Scribus] Why do?

Allen techwriter
Mon Jul 24 07:51:12 CEST 2006

BandiPat wrote:


>> You might expect to use a hammer without reading the instruction
>> manual, but I think that you might want to read the instructions
>> for a nail gun before you start firing.

Funny Michael should mention a nail gun. First time I used one there was 
*no* instruction book at all. No safety sheet, no nada, but use it I 
did. The first one was a "pound on the pin" type. Used .22 rounds, and 
cost $28 if I remember correctly. The next one was a .38 and was more 
like a gun. Again, no instructions, no safety sheet, and the kid at the 
rental house had never used one so he was no help. But I needed 
something more powerful than my .22. Took it apart and played with it 
until I understood how it worked and how the safety worked. It would not 
allow you to pull the trigger unless the gun was press fairly hard 
against the target. It would have been nice to have some docs. But that 
was 25 years or more ago.

> I normally do read the instructions before using a power tool, but not
> so much to figure out how to use them, that's pretty simple.  I would
> read them to learn of safety things and how to keep from hurting
> myself.  Plus, if you purchased a power tool lately, you know the manual
> is usually only a few pages long and designed more for safety issues
> than training you how to use the thing.  I don't think I've seen a
> hammer instruction manual by the way.  Just kidding.  :-)

Given how I've seen how some people swing them, perhaps they need 
training wheels. ;->

>> Word processors offer ease of use:  you can create a simple page with
>> text and print it, but you have limited control over the details of
>> how the document looks.  Desk Top Publishing programs offer flexibility
>> and extensive control:  you can create a layout for a newsletter or
>> book and control many aspects of how the publication looks.

Hate to say this in a way, but DTP is just a typewriter that's swallowed 
some computer code and taken a few steroids, then been told a few tricks 
of the trade, like what a point is. Remember the Varityper, of the 
Selectic Composer? (Of course they mangle that as there are more than 72 
traditional points to a traditional inch. And let's not forget the 
French and the didot.)

Things like shoulders, battering, and hangers (where the bottom of a 
descender is below the edge of the type and rests on the leading or the 
next line of type) have all but gone. Kerning is now very common, before 
you did it with a file. Tracking? Ha! but some of the best books I've 
ever seen, such as Arion Press, were done that way. Mostly 
phototypography is not as good, and DTP is not yet up to the level of 
good phototypography. Given time it will get there, people just have to 
learn to develop and use their design sense.

>> Using a DTP program like Scribus, PageMaker or the others requires
>> planning and experience.  I use them when I need fine control of the
>> document layout and have multiple page formats.  Word processing
>> programs like Open Office or MS Word are easy to use.  I use them
>> when I don't need the fine layout control and have simple page layout.

Actually you can do far more than you realize with OO. Not quite up to 
GreenStreet, but almost, and in some areas better.

>> Word processors evolved from text editors. 

Well, in reality typewriters that were run by software.

>> Pat -- your expectations seem misplaced.  While you may be familiar
>> with word processors, there's no reason to believe that this same
>> interface or approach should work on a DTP program.
> -------------
> I disagree with you Mike.  There is every reason to expect a DTP program
> to be as simple an interface as a word processor.  

I have to agree with Pat. For example, spreadsheets. Do you have to 
understand the math concepts to do a simple table? Not on your tintype, 
Lizzie! No, in about ten minutes you can set someone in front of one and 
they can do simple things. This is what DTP should be. Sure there are 8 
gazillion more thing you can do with it than a simple bank 
reconciliation just as there are with a DTP, but there is something you 
can do if you know how to turn on a computer and start the program.


> Right now, the novice users are scared away and many experienced users
> grow frustrated and just write it off as not ready for prime time.  Ya
> gotta make these things easy to use!  The same thing will have to happen
> to Linux for it to enter the main stream and be competition on the
> desktop or both the OS & programs will exist as no more than just a
> hobby with only hackers like us wanting to use them!  There's just no
> way around that fact!

You got that right! That's why Microsucks makes so much money. You and I 
know it is badly done and could be much better, but the average user is 
pleased when they can just do something that makes their burden lighter, 
which it does, or at least it is perceived as such. If it was well 
conceived it would be really much, much better, but then there would be 
no need for really, truly great programs from the open source community.



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