[scribus] Materials for a talk about Scribus

Rob Oakes lyx-devel at oak-tree.us
Thu Sep 23 19:10:49 CEST 2010

Hi John and John,

>> Thanks for the suggestions and the link to your presentation.

You're welcome, I hope that you find some interesting ideas for your presentation.  My goal in sharing wasn't necessarily "do this", but rather might provide you some ideas on how to present/evangelize Scribus to a TeX savvy crowd.  We (La)TeX users tend to be a bit ... devoted ... to our typesetting engine and it can be good to help us understand the big picture.

LaTeX certainly has its place, but so does Scribus.  For that reason, I wanted to give a +1 to John Culleton's comment:

> I have never viewed TeX and Scribus as rivals but rather as 
> complementary tools. I would never try to set a 286 page novel or an 
> academic text in Scribus. And I would not do a cover in anything other 
> than Scribus 1.5.0. 

I would go even further.  I would never do any graphics heavy layout in anything other Scribus.  Right now, I'm working on a coffee table book for a friend.  Her ranch is going to celebrate its 150th birthday next year and she is putting together a compilation of photos and stories that describe its history.  The book will be presented to her extended family in March as part of a family reunion.  As she knows that I am an amateur/enthusiast designer and typographer (I use these terms very loosely), she asked if I could help.

It's been a very fun project, but after making an initial run at typesetting with LaTeX, I decided to go with a visual tool.  There are too many images and the layout is too complex to trust to a computer.  In this case, trying to use LaTeX would cost me much more time than it saves.

>> I just want to present Scribus, what it can
>> do, and a bit about why it rocks.

I think this is probably a good idea.  You might be surprised about the flames though.  When I gave my presentation, there were two very notable LaTeX users in the crowd.  One of them knows Don Knuth (apparently) quite well and worked on the original implementation.  (Or at least he went to the reunion, which prompts me to believe that he worked on the implementation.)

Even he acknowledged that TeX isn't the right tool in all instances and made several very positive comments about Scribus.  I didn't get the impression that he was a heavy user, but he'd certainly tried it out.

As a user of both, I would love to hear where you think the dividing line between tools is.  And I am willing to bet that your audience might as well.  Software programs are tools designed to do particular jobs.  And though we can often force them to do work for which they weren't designed, it isn't a fun experience.  Hearing how other people use the same software has given me ideas I might not have had, otherwise.  Especially if they bring examples, which it sounds like you intend to bring.

As long as you preface your comments as personal opinion, I'm sure that flame-wear would be optional.

>> A preliminary idea I have is to arrive with printouts to hand out
>> of really beautiful pages done in Scribus, and then go through how
>> the pages are created in Scribus, running Scribus on my machine
>> projected on the screen. I may abandon this idea as I think further
>> about the talk.

I think this would be another wonderful way to go with your presentation.  Perhaps you might wrap your use of Scribus around a discussion of the principles of design?

I attended a presentation at a design conference a couple of years ago that did something similar with Illustrator, and it was marvelous.  The presenter first showed a layout of a particular principle, and then proceeded to demonstrate how it had been created and why it worked. The talk was an hour long and he covered three layouts.  It really opened up my mind to what could be accomplished in Illustrator and I've wanted to see something similar done with open source tools.  (I even ranted about it: http://blog.oak-tree.us/index.php/2010/09/01/awesome-examples.)

>> When finished, whatever slides and materials I produce should be posted
>> somewhere. Is there a Scribus place to do this?

+1 for this recommendation, as well.  Even if you just posted them on your own site and sent a link, I'm sure that would be greatly appreciated.  I know that I'd like to see them, at least.

Anyway, best of luck with your presentation.


Rob Oakes

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