[Scribus] Torture Testing Scribus on Windows

email.listen at googlemail.com email.listen
Thu Mar 23 22:26:21 CET 2006

Hello Dale
Am Thu, 23. March 2006 06:02 schrieb DaleCoz at aol.com:
> Hi.  I'm Dale Cozort.  I'm new to this list, and relatively new to actually
> using Scribus, though I have been keeping an eye on the project for over a
> year now.
> I'm a big fan of Open Source, but I'm kind of stuck using Windows, so I was
> very happy to see a Windows version of Scribus 1.3.2.  Since that version
> of Scribus came out, I've given it a workout.  I would like to share some
> of my experiences with your.
> ?   I used Scribus to teach a group of high school students in an advanced
> computer class a three week section on Desktop Publishing.
> ?    As part of that section I wrote about half a dozen instructional
> worksheets on Scribus.  I used Scribus to write and lay out those
> worksheets ?   I did layout for two issues of my PDF alternate history
> newsletter in Scribus.  The first issue was a little under 30 pages long. 
> The second issue was 55 pages long.  I used Scribus to export both of them
> to PDF
> ?   I wrote two smaller newsletters (2 pages each) on computer changes at
> the school where I teach.
> In other words I've really given Scribus a workout in the last few months.
> Here are some impressions:
> First it was probably a good six months too early in the Scribus
> development cycle to be trying to use it the way I tried to use it.  That's
> not surprising.  Scribus 1.3.2 is part of the development branch of
> Scribus-really not intended to be production quality or rock stable yet. 
> Not surprisingly, Scribus crashed a few times.  It didn't crash often
> enough to be unusable, but it crashed often enough to reinforce my habit of
> saving work early and often.  Some features didn't work, or didn't work the
> way I thought they should.  Again, that isn't unexpected.  This is not
> production software yet, and doesn't claim to be.  Some things werre harder
> to do than I expected them to be, such as bulleting paragraphs and putting
> two booklet-sized pages side-by-side and printing them in landscape mode. 
> I'm probably not telling you anything new when I tell you that Scribus got
> slow when my documents got big.  By the time I reached 50 pages it was a
> real struggle to navigate in the document.
> At the same time, I was pretty happy overall with my experience.  I knew
> what I was getting into in terms of this version of Scribus being a
> development version.  It got the job done for me, and I'm happy with it,
> though I am eagerly awaiting future versions with more features and fewer
> bugs.
> I'm afraid that I didn't win many friends for Scribus among my students.
> They tried some very ambitious things, and succeeded in doing some
> impressive work, but they also ran into the bugs and unintuitive behavior. 
> One girl wrote me a note saying that Scribus developers should be hunted
> down and strung up. I explained that this was bleeding edge software, and
> that she will be much happier with it if she tries again in six months.  I
> hope she does.  It'll probably be a good product for what I tried to do in
> another couple of versions

I think it is a great idea to introduce free software to a group of students 
as you did. In my opinion this is the most effective strategie to introduce 
and to also to support free software.

I see this from time to time again and it's increasing I would say.
And often people run into problems like you, better your students, did.

What is missing in the moment not only for scribus is a strategie or policy to 
introduce (a group of) students not only into the use of free software but 
also in the 'use of the community'.
Most people I asked, 'Why don't you introduce this to the project before?' 
told me that that would have been a good idea but for the nest time. 
In most cases there is no 'next time' because they often are frustrated by the 
results. *sigh*

So what I would like to see is some kind of assistance for peoplke like you 
and your students to get in contact to that what makes free software so 
powerfull. And in my eyes this is not only the application. It is much more 
the art of communication and the way of communication.
Some kind of moderated support / assistance / tutorial. 
May be some kind of school free software crossing guard.

- This has to be done for teachers, and it has to be done in the early
  beginning when such a project is planned.
- But also for students when they start teir exercises and hit the list for
  getting help.

This can be done by announcing a group of new users like yours on the list, 
e.g. 'Attention, a couple of curious freshmen will hit this list in the next 
days. Please be patient and give them a helping hand.' Followed by a short 
introducement of the project / group and their motivation.
I'll bet this will help finding some people who will assist this newbies.

In most cases projects like yours are followed by a project documentation done 
by the students. This up to now is focused on the use of a certain 
application and the results of a given exercise. But it might also be 
interesting to have a project documentation which describes 'the use' of the 
project itself, eg. mailing lists, developer lists, www and wiki based 
documentation and so on. 
And not to forget a documentation of what might be done better from the 
students point of view.

This will help the students, their teacher and not to forget the project 

And I would say that this list is a great place to start with much better than 
a lot of other lists I know.


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