[scribus] Is Scribus of No Practical Use to Engineers, Scientists and Mathematicians?

John Culleton john at wexfordpress.com
Sun Aug 23 17:18:39 CEST 2009

On Sunday 23 August 2009 10:06:43 Professor Rodney Coates wrote:
> Dear Owen,
> I have been able to download and install Ghostscript, so an initial
> Ghostscript error message on starting Scribus now no longer
> appears. I do not know if Ghostcript has some part to play in Tex
> utilisation.
> I have downloaded BasicTex for Mac and installed that also.
> However, when I click the Tex icon on the menubar, all I get is a
> message
> The item "pdflatex -- interactive nonstopmode failed to start"
> This is one of those error messages which really ought to bring
> scorn and derision on the programmer who implemented it. There is
> no point in providing meaningless error messages when the software
> is intended or presumed to have a wide and general use.
> Error messages ought to convey some meaningful instruction which
> can be acted on to the benefit of the user.
> Anyway, now I am back at square one. Clicking Tex - apart from
> producing the above error message - generates a text entry frame
> with handles on it,  within which is a further message: "render
> error". Pretty well useless, again, since it only states the
> obvious, that the software is not working, at least insofar as
> Tex/Latex is concerned.
> Maybe you have some thoughts on these matters.
> I have now also downloaded MathType and have it working in Page. I
> can type in equations - WISYWIG - which is brilliant. I can
> transfer pict images of the equations to Ragtime, so can procede
> there.
> In RagTime I can change symbol fonts within a line of text so I can
> write things like "..... the symbol used for wavelength is the
> greek letter L ...... and L will come out as the proper lambda
> glyph. HOEWEVER, Symbol font DOES NOT WORK with this mail
> application, which is why L is L and NOT lambda. It does not work
> in Page, It does not work in TextEdit and it does not - of course -
> work in Scribus.
> Symbol font does work in both Illustrator and Photoshop.
> I also now notice that in Illustrator (but not in any of the other
> non- Adobe applications, TWO Symbol fonts are present, one followed
> by a TT (TrueType symbol and the other by a red lowercase cursive
> "a" presumably an "Adobe" symbol. Much the same in Photoshop.
> For completeness, I have also just activated Word for Mac and that
> works fine, but with only a single Symbol font in the long fonts
> list.
> Perhaps we might short-circuit things if I ask the following
> question. Even if I could get LaTex working, presumably I will
> never be able to insert a Greek character in a string of ordinary
> text? That is, within a sentence.
> I can't believe I am writing this. There are GREEKS out there, for
> goodness sake. What do you expect them to do? They write this stuff
> all the time.
> However, since I presume that I cannot, I can never EXPLAIN my
> equations, or define terms .... so maybe (back to my original
> e-mail) the advice has to be, bin Scribus before any more time and
> effort is wasted on it. Great pity!
> I would really value you views on these points,
> Rodney
> On 23 Aug 2009, at 11:34, Owen wrote:
> >> The Symbol font will not display; Zapf Dingbats will not
> >> display; Render Frame will not work (). Latex/Tex is not
> >> working/ available ....
> >>
> >> I am a technical author. I need to set Greek symbols within
> >> lines of ordinary text. I need to set mathematical formulae.
> >
> > If latex/TeX is not available, why?
> >
> > Do you have latex etc installed
> >
> > can you produce documents in Latex?
> >
> > If you have latex, I suggest you use that for the time being. it
> > also has the advantage of making footnotes and reference list.
> >
> > Do your fonts display in Open office or whatever document editor
> > you are using?
> >
> >
> > --
> >
> >
> >
> > Owen
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > scribus mailing list
> > scribus at lists.scribus.net
> > http://lists.scribus.net/mailman/listinfo/scribus
> Professor Rodney Coates, Ph.D., FIEEE
> Seiche Ltd.
> Swallow Court
> Trefor
> Holyhead
> Anglesey
> LL65 4TA
> +44 (0)1407 720 474
> Mobile: 0787645020
> rcoates at seiche.com
> www.seiche.com
Before you can call TeX from Scribus you have to install TeX first.  
Fortunately TeX is easy to install.  Assuming you use MSWin of some 
variety just Google on Miktex, go to that site, and follow the 

As previously stated TeX is optimized for tasks like inserting a math 
(greek) character or a simple formula in the middle of a sentence. 
more complex formulae are inserted between paragraphs. You just use 
single dollar signs to enclose the math notation. Here are examples:
Here is a simple formula $e=(mc)^2$ inserted in a sentence.
Typing Greek letters is as easy as $\pi$, e.g.:
\alpha \beta \gamma (or capitalized as \Gamma) and so  on. 

To display a more complex formula between paragraphs just use double 
dollar signs. For example to show the square root of the log of x 
between paragraphs the tex user types:
$$\sqrt{\,\log x}$$
This notation is not intuitive but it works. 
The inventor of TeX is Professor Donald Knuth, a well-known 
mathematician. Perhaps you have heard of his work, "Seminumerical 

There is a tool optimized for your kind of work. Its name is TeX. You 
can use bits and pieces of it in Scribus 1.3.5 but for the full power 
of the product you should use it directly.  I suspect all the 
examples listed above will work in Scribus 1.3.5.  

  Installation of TeX is fairly easy. Google under Miktex and follow 
the instructions at that site. If you don't use MSWin then Google 
under texlive. 

There are several mailing lists and at least one newsgroup chock full 
of TeX experts who will help you along. There are excellent books 
available and good downloadable tutorials. 

Your problem with pdftex and Scribus may be that you simply don't have 
TeX installed.  

John Culleton
Able Indexers and Typesetters

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