[scribus] Scribus vs. QuarkXpress

Michael Chamness chamness at daktel.com
Sun Aug 1 18:56:00 CEST 2010

  I'm certainly no expert on all the ramifications of using a DTP, but I 
was a Quark user for about eighteen years, starting with v.3 and finally 
ending with v.6.5.  Both Quark and Scribus have rather steep learning 
curves, they're not word processors (but make dandy ones if you already 
know how to use them!) I've found that Scribus will do everything Quark 
would do, some things are easier, some are less intuitive, but overall, 
once you get used to using either, that's what you know. A good 
application is the one you know how to use, and does what you want. I 
switched because frankly, after buying Quark for something like $700, 
every year or so I had to upgrade to keep the program current, upgrades 
cost me about $280. That got pretty old for me, my income has always 
been rather limited. Scouting around OpenOffice's add-ons one day, I 
came across Scribus. I've generally been a DOS then Windows user, Quark 
was originally ported for Mac, later came out with the Windows version. 
Scribus was originally ported for Linux, but as far as I know, has 
always been multi-platform capable. I use it - v. - in Windows 
VISTA, and also in OpenSUSE 11.3 Gnome. It works flawlessly for me on 
either platform.

I do newsletters for specialized groups, and also the color bulletin 
covers for a local church, and have found Scribus to be just as adept at 
handling things like text columns, inset pictures, runaround text, all 
the things I used Quark for, at least equal to Quark. The only thing I 
really miss is Quark's menu choice of frames for graphics (or text, for 
that matter). Quark came with a nice assortment of decorative frames, 
which became the box itself when applied. Scribus requires a frame to be 
drawn over the object, line frames only apparently, though various 
corners are available, from using the box draw choice, then the color 
(default is black) has to be removed to expose the graphic. Line 
thickness is availble, and I've found that most clients are satisfied 
with just a black line frame around most graphics, or sometimes no frame 
at all, as with a faded border. I was fond of Quark's "Greek Key" 
border. Frames can be any color, I'm not sure Quark frames offer that, I 
never tried to use it.

Scribus is open source software - its totally free, and that's really 
hard to beat. QuarkXpress is expensive to purchase, and expensive to 
upgrade. I did some beta testing on their v.7 and found it difficult to 
use for my applications, so stopped upgrading at 6.5.  I especially had 
trouble loading v.7, and getting file recognition from it. I dutifully 
reported that to the company, maybe they addressed those issues, I don't 
know.  I think Quark started out as a really neat, tidy program, and 
over the years became bloated and hard to manage. Seems I recall 
something about it being completely rewritten, in a newer higher 
language, but I don't know about that. Scribus is very well managed, 
this open forum is the best thing since chocolate bananas, questions 
always get answered and I've met the nicest people here. You have 
absolutely nothing to lose but your time in going through the steps to 
learn to use Scribus. QuarkXpress is, I understand, the premier program 
in this country for publishing magazines and newspapers, and in fact 
that's where I learned of it, at the San Bernardino Sun newspaper, where 
I was working in the accounting department, but haunting the typesetting 
area, fascinated by the various software programs they used. (Disney had 
some really nice programs for professional use.) I had trained with IBM 
many years earlier in their MTSC system of computerized typesetting. 
Heck, live dangerously, take a chance on Scribus, save your money for 
something you really need.

Michael F. Chamness
618 - 2nd Street
Montpelier, North Dakota 58472
(701) 489-3638

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