[scribus] interesting article with thoughts for us

Rolf-Werner Eilert eilert-sprachen at t-online.de
Tue Apr 12 10:53:18 CEST 2011

Am 12.04.2011 08:58, schrieb Cezary Grabski:
> I have found interesting article about Adobe software, piracy and users
> problem with versioning of software:
> http://piracy.ssrc.org/adobe-logic/
> I would like you take attention on part:
> "Software should ALWAYS be backward compatible with files from older versions,
> and should have an option to save a file to be compatible with the old version
> whenever possible."
> IMHO it touch Scribus as well. OK, we have backward compatibility in one
> direction - Scribus opens files created in previous versions.
> But I think when 1.4.0 becomes stable release but more and more user start
> using 1.5 we will need to have in 1.5 possibility of saving for 1.4 at least.
> IMHO it is very very urgent.
> Sometimes if I invoke examples how other layouting sofware works I heard that
> Scribus should do things in its own way without looking at "competitors".
> OK, so let make Scribus saving files for old versions - it seems competitors
> are failing with that, let do this better.
> cezaryece
> PS I think missing feature for saving for 1.3.3.x in 1.4 only helps users to
> fast switching into new stable release, which is mile stone.
> But in 1.5 (1.6 and above) it helps users in cooperating with 1.4.x users.

The article just puts in words what many people already have known for a 
long time.

Microsoft is also doing a good job in this respect with their main 
products changing their file versions each time. However, I will always 
have the option to save my text in an older version, and older versions 
can always be opened in newer ones, so I cannot really make any harsh 
reproach here (except that - for my own part - I've never seen Word 
telling me what exactly would be the consequences of saving in an older 

My reproach would be that they have never tried to ensure the 
text-rendering core of Word to function properly but only built more and 
more funny-to-look-at features around it - which in turn makes it 
necessary to introduce new file formats... Pure marketing, not common sense.

However, there is an obstacle in backward compatibility: When you 
introduce real new features for your product, how should that be handled 
for previous versions?

 From my point of experience, there are at least two ways:

- Ignore it, i. e. the former version just keeps running as if this 
feature had never been used. It simply jumps over any unknown things in 
the opened file. In our case, check the layout thoroughly... there might 
be even text missing. (Ok, you could include a "list of left-out items" 
to check for after import.) This would put the responsability to the 
importing version or better: to the user with the previous version who 
imports it.

- Offer a backward compatibility filter. This filter might inform the 
user of the items which are not translatable into the old format, maybe 
even offering different ways to handle the cases: ignore (leave out), 
save separately, save as graphics...). (Reminds me a bit of the Yast 
update dialog in Suse Linux, do you know what I mean?)

There might be more ways to handle this, or even a blend of features. 
But it is possible, if you really want to help the user here.



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