[scribus] the docs - a personal perspective

Gregory Pittman gpittman at iglou.com
Wed Apr 11 16:29:52 UTC 2012

I think we must look at the documentation as an evolutionary process. 
Prior to the work that led to the printed official manual, there was a 
consensus that it "couldn't be done" because Scribus was changing too 
fast. As there is now, there was also a fair amount of inertia.

The issues we had with the publisher of the manual were more of a 
sideshow than any serious permanently damaging issue. If there was 
anyone substantially harmed, it was Louis, who ended up printing some 
copies ahead, and then not receiving promised payment.

If there was a disappointment, it was that the necessary price was 
higher than I would have liked it to be, which further limited the 
purchases, no doubt. The cost was of course related to the size of the 
book, which itself related to the inclusion of a lot of background and 
supplementary material on DTP, color, and so forth. At the same time, 
this comprehensiveness has repeatedly impressed various reviewers of the 
book, and I think leads to any timelessness that the book may enjoy.

That was then, this is now. At this point, we now have some substantial 
updating of the online manual, which I think points to a core principle 
we must work to maintain, that the online docs reasonably reflect the 
capabilities of the version with which it is included.

Something else gained from the more up to date online manual is that 
other sources of information about Scribus can rely on this information 
being immediately available to all users, thus another website, another 
ebook, another printed manual can focus on higher level aspects of DTP 
principles and omit the nuts and bolts of Scribus features.

With the variability in how the various distros seem to be handling the 
docs, it might make sense to have current versions of the docs available 
for separate download in some sort of browsable format. Another argument 
for doing this is that there are typically a number of edits and 
additions to the docs in svn, which Windows and OSX users will not see 
until the next stable comes out.

I'm currently working on (translation: mentally searching for a 
congealed mental concept of) an ebook-type manual, probably of a limited 
breadth, that would serve some purposes as a help to approaching DTP and 
Scribus in particular. My intention would be to have this available for 
free, hopefully in ePub and Kindle formats. What license might this 
have? Good question -- no answer at this time.


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