[scribus] Materials for a talk about Scribus

John Jason Jordan johnxj at comcast.net
Fri Sep 24 00:30:50 CEST 2010

On Thu, 23 Sep 2010 11:10:49 -0600
Rob Oakes <lyx-devel at oak-tree.us> dijo:

>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 didn't mean to imply that TeX did not have its place. It's a fine
tool for what it does. I just didn't want to try to get into a
comparison. I have only an hour and a half, and the audience is usually
pleased when the speaker ends earlier.

>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.

I cannot address where I think the dividing line is because my
knowledge of TeX is limited. 

I can also say that my work does not fit in where I think the strengths
of TeX are. I do textbooks and workbooks. For my most recent work I
tried Lyx for a week before giving up in frustration. Actually, I
started in OOo and had to give up due to bugs in the formula utility.
Then I tried Lyx and found that it kept me on a really short leash.
E.g., I was trying to set the title page, where I wanted the title in
120 point type. Lyx insisted that 120 points was a bad design decision.
Yes, I eventually learned that you can convince Lyx to do it your way,
but the whole idea of being forced to someone else's idea of good
design practice left me cold.

I have 12 published textbooks, and the first 11 were done in InDesign.
Three of them have won awards, and I get constant remarks from students
and teachers that the layout is a delight. I have read Bringhurst and
have done computer typesetting for ages. I know what I am doing and it
annoys me to have my layout tool hamstring me. Moreover, I lay out
books for linguistics where I need several hundred special characters.
I need a special font and TeX is not really geared to using anything
other than its own fonts. 

But enough of my frustration with TeX. And I know there are people here
who are itching to post back how I can overcome each of the issues I
have mentioned above. Save your time. I have more important things to
do than spend the next several months trying to learn TeX. I
uninstalled LyX and all of the underlying stuff a long time ago, and I
have no intention of reinstalling it. 

In my personal work I start by writing in OOo. But I do not "write" the
same way everyone thinks I am supposed to. That is, in today's parlance
I am supposed to create "content" and then use something else to format
it. I hate the word "content." My brain does not work that way. I need
to format it as I write it. Else I will forget that I intended that
paragraph to be formatted a particular way. 

Indeed, I write as though I was teaching the material to a class. As
you explain the subject to the class it occurs to you that a drawing
showing how the concepts you are explaining fit together would help the
class understand. As the teacher I would turn around to the board and
draw a diagram or make a bullet list or table or something to give the
students a visual perception of what I am talking about. Thus, when
writing the same thing occurs to me. I need to stop writing then and
run off to Inkscape or whatever and create the graphic. In my OOo
document I would just enter a paragraph containing <graphic001 here>.
Then, while doing the layout later in Scribus I can just place the
graphics at the appropriate places. In my brain the graphic elements
are at least as important as the words; in many cases more so. I cannot
understand how people can write without visualizing the final layout as
they write.

>>> 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?

Principles of design sounds like an entire art course. Perhaps several
art courses. Again, I have just an hour and a half. 

>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:

The more I think about this approach to the talk, the more I like it.
>>> 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.

Unfortunately, I do not have a web site. I might be able to post it to
the web site of our local LUG. But we'll cross that bridge when and if
we get there.

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