[scribus] beginner's luck, or lack thereof

John Culleton john at wexfordpress.com
Thu Apr 22 21:27:30 CEST 2010

On Thursday 22 April 2010 14:21:56 Steven Dayton wrote:
> I know others who have more a wealth of knowledge on most of what you
> are asking will pipe in and give more detailed answers but I am going to
> brave an answer and jump right in.
> In short tarball and distro have to do with Linux operating system.
> Which by the way is a facinating operating system. And getting
> Ghostscript is fairly easy to get and install. And Ghostscipt is good
> for exactly what the info message you got says.
> On Thu, Apr 22, 2010 at 12:02 PM, Peter Thorkelson 
<pthork at earthlink.net>wrote:
> > dear list,
> >
> > I am a true beginner—to the business of all but completely prepackaged
> > software.
> >
> > I downloaded scribus (1.3.6), and was informed upon trying to open it
> > that I was missing some software:
> >
> > "The following programs are missing:
> > Ghostscript : You cannot use EPS images or Print Preview"
> >
> > is what it said.  I went looking for "ghostscript," and was introduced
> > to the terms "tarball" and "distro."  I have since gleaned (rightly or
> > wrongly) that a tarball is a collection of small bits of software, but
> > apparently I should know what a distro is, since I'm supposed to
> > report that when asking for help.
> >
> > SO. what's ghostscript, where do I get it and how do I install it?
> >
> > what's distro?
> >
> > if I get and install ghostscript, will I then be able to use scribus
> > unimpeded?  seems unlikely.
> >
> > btw, I re-downloaded scribus as a dmg file (haven't opened it yet),
> > and notice that it's  what are the relative pros and cons of
> > using this over 1.3.6?
> >
> > I appreciate what help I can get.
> >
> > thanks,
> > Peter T
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > scribus mailing list
> > scribus at lists.scribus.net
> > http://lists.scribus.net/mailman/listinfo/scribus

I think reading a basic book on Linux would help a bit. but here goes.
Software is often not a single program but a collection of programs and 
other files. And even a single program may be compiled (created) from 
multiple bits and pieces. 

A particular entity, like Linux itself, will consist of several files of all 
sorts. For linux there are many collections, called distributions, such as 
Debian, Ubuntu, Slackware, Red Hat and so on.  For individual programs 
there may be different collections, called distributions, for different 
Operating Systems. There will be a Distribution for Debian, one for 
Slackware, one for Red Hat Fedora and so on. 

A distribution is often packaged in a certain way. For Linux one common 
packaging system involves collecting all the bits and pieces in a single 
file with a program called tar (tape archiver) and then compressing that file 
with another program called gzip or another program called bzip2.  The 
result of either of these processes is a file called a tarball or more 
properly a gzipped tarball.  Such files have suffixes like .tar.z or .gtz or 
.bz2. There are other packaging systems with suffixes like .deb or .rpm. 
But the tarball is the first and the most universal. 

There are also .zip files which are common in the world of MSWindows.

Ghostscript is a suite consisting of a few programs plus a collection of 
scripts for the main program. It comes in distributions packaged  for 
Linux, for MSWindows and Apple OS X.  You can download the Ghostscript 
distribution suitable for your Operating System unpack it and install it.  
Preferably you do this first and then install Scribus. But in your case I 
suggest you go ahead and install Ghostscript and see if Scribus recognizes 
its existence.  Ghostscript allows you to do certain things with Scribus as 
detailed in the warning message already discussed. 

All this is explained in more and in better detail in the Scribus Manual. 
Since you are a newcomer not only to Scribus but to many of the concepts 
outlined above you just might find it a worthwhile investment. 

How long did it take me to master all the above details? Well I have been 
programming since 1968, working with *nix like systems since the 1970's and 
with Linux in particular since the early 1990's. So don't be discouraged if 
it takes you a while to master the concepts and the jargon. And don't be 
horrified if I have made a mistake or two in my screed above. There is 
indeed a lot to learn, but that is the fun of the computing game. And 
nobody knows it all. 
John Culleton
"Create Book Covers with Scribus"
Printable E-book 38 pages $5.95

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