[scribus] The Scribus Community Newsletter, October 2015

ale rimoldi ale.comp_06 at xox.ch
Sat Oct 3 10:18:41 UTC 2015

dear scribus users,

the first issue of the new/reborn community driven scribus
newsletter is out!

you can read it at the end of this email or (with some formatting
and a few images) on


our goal is to publish a monthly newsletter and the work for the
november issue has just started!

if you want to contribute to the translations of this issue or by
proposing an article for one of the future issues, please read the
"about" section in the newsletter or go to:

 to see the list and status of the current translations and

- https://github.com/aoloe/scribus-newsletter/issues/7 for the
  planning of the next issue.

all feedback is welcome!

many thanks to everybody who has helped out and made this newsletter

have a good lecture

The Scribus Community Newsletter, October 2015

This is the first issue of the community driven monthly newsletter
about Scribus and its development.

This months focus is on the new icon set in Scribus 1.5svn and the
recent additions that edit Scribus files and produce PDFs from the
command line.

A new icon set 

A few months ago, the development version of Scribus has received a new
icon set. 

This new icon set has been created by Dezso Markon, a new contributor,
and while not yet 100% complete, it covers already more than 80% of the
existing icons. While the very low chromatic design needs some time to
get used to, it's for sure very refreshing to finally see a coherent
visual appearance.

While he was integrating the new icon set Craig Bradney, a long time
Scribus developer, took the time to improve the themeability of
Scribus: the user can now choose among multiple icon sets. This does
not only mean more customization choices for Scribus users, furthermore
it makes easier for graphic designers to propose new icon sets for

Want to test drive the new icons?

1. Get a version of Scribus that has been built after July 2015:
   - On Linux you can compile Scribus or get the PPA for Ubuntu
   - On Mac you can install through Homebrew or download Scribus 1.5.1
as soon a it is released 
   - On Windows you have to wait for the release of Scribus 1.5.1.
2. go to the "File > Preferences"
3. Under "General > Appearance" choose the theme "Scribus 1.5.1"
4. Restart Scribus

Warning: in older versions of this newsletter, we wrongly stated that
the new icons set is in Scribus 1.5.0.

Dezso Markon: the designer behind the new icons set

Dezso Markon, the new 1.5.1 icon set designer agreed to a short

*** Please present yourself to the Scribus Community...

My name is Dezso Markon, I am a designer, I live in Romania,
Transylvania, and I am a Hungarian by nationality. I've been using
Linux for the last 20 years and I'm currently on Arch with Xfce.

*** What motivated you to contribute to a Free Libre Open Source
Software project?_

In 2006, when we founded our company (http://www.vitaking.ro/), it was
my job to produce our first product catalog listing the vitamin
products we're selling. I started the work on Linux, but after a couple
of days I realized that the current applications on Linux aren't ready
yet for desktop publishing. So, our first catalog was designed on
windows. But I was bothered by this failure which drove me to
constantly search for solutions to the problem of "How to make a
successful workflow on Linux?"

Our second and third catalog was already designed with Scribus, but
the preparations of the pictures and vector illustrations still needed
the Adobe package.

Finally, in 2013, after a lot of trial and error I had a complete
workflow on Linux for Desktop Publishing. The photos were replaced with
3D pictures made with Blender; for post-production we used Krita; the
vector illustrations were made with Inkscape, and the catalog was put
together in Scribus. I was using the 1.5.0 SVN version for this, as the
stable release had some problems with the PDF export. Despite the 1.5.0
SVN 'unstable' label, it was extremely stable. We have never
experienced crashes or other problems and we use it on a daily basis.

The reason I have decided to contribute to Scribus was simply that I
wanted to give something back to the community which made it possible
to have a Desktop Publishing workflow on Linux. Scribus has a great
potential, it's a powerful page layout software, but somehow the user
interface doesn't give you much confidence in this. Every time I have
presented to somebody in the DTP industry, the first impression was
"What is this thing? Doesn't look like something I would use for my
projects." The reason for this was simply the fact that when you start
an application for the first time your first impression will be based
on the user interface because that is the first thing you will see. And
if the UI doesn't look professional, you need strong incentives to get
you to start using the software like: being a Linux or Scribus fan, or
having somebody who shows you the potential of the software.

So I decided that I will try to improve the user interface a little,
and started working with a new icon set. In the beginning we had used
it only in-house, but after I have posted some screenshots in a forum I
was contacted almost immediately for permission to use this icon set in
the 1.5.1 branch. I agreed and released this icon set as GPL v2 which
shortly afterwards was pulled in the Scribus trunk.

*** What are your ideas/inspirations behind the new theme?

I didn't have a clear inspiration for this icon set. I wanted something
simple and unobtrusive as possible. In my opinion the current icon set
tries to show everything, and some of the icons have become too
complicated. Sometime it is simply not possible to show everything in a
16x16 pixel area. You will have a crowded picture even if you recognize
the icon, it's still hard to remember its function because there is to
much information on the icon. So I decided to simplify the icons, and I
wanted something which doesn't get in way and can be recognized and
remembered easy.

*** How people can further contribute?

Currently I haven't had any feedback about using these icons from
anyone. So it would be not only nice but very useful to have some
constructive feedback about this. Furthermore, there is always room for
improvement, so I'll gladly include any useful idea in my work.

*** Where would you like to see the Scribus UI headed and how do you
propose getting there?

I would like see the user interface highly customizable and
professional, something which reflects  and communicates the potential
of this software. I plan to further involve myself in this area and am
currently learning GIT and SVN in order to be able to work directly and
efficiently with the repositories.

Scribus from the command line

For a long time (the first traces can be found  in the bug tracker in
early 2004 (http://bugs.scribus.net/view.php?id=238)), people have been
asking for Scribus to run from the command line (CLI). They were
seeking a way to automate the work with processing forms, manage
generated documents, and produce PDF files that were ready to be sent
to the printers.

Over the years, many approaches have been tried, many patches have been
written, but none made it into the main Scribus code.

Last year, thanks to Juraj Fedel and William Bader, a set of patches
([most importantly the one about adding a --python-script
command](http://bugs.scribus.net/view.php?id=12572)) were submitted
providing the functionality to launch a Python script when Scribus is
started and then quit. The patches were accepted and have been
integrated into Scribus!

So what does this mean? For example, now it's possible to write scripts
that generate PDF from the command line:

        import scribus
        pdf = scribus.PDFfile()
        pdf.file = 'the-pdf.pdf'

and run:

        $ scribus --python-script to-pdf.py

to get a PDF file that you can send to the printer.

A few more patches were proposed and accepted, mostly for removing
dialog boxes when Scribus is run without a GUI.

A further step has been done by @Berteh. During the last few months he
has been working on a patch (http://bugs.scribus.net/view.php?id=13311)
that allows to pass parameters to the python script. You can now
enhance the script above to accept the "text" argument, use it to
replace the content of a specific form and produce a customized PDF:

        $ scribus --python-script to-pdf.py --python-arg text "Welcome
        to Scribus" the-document.sla

Of course, when you need several parameters, it's likely that you will
dynamically create a JSON/CSV file, pass its path as the parameter and
let the Python script process the whole data and fill multiple fields
in the Scribus document.

We now are able to say that Scribus can be used to batch process files.
But, it's still a long way before it becomes a tool that shines as a
server tool! Currently, if it's invoked from the CLI it still starts
the GUI (you will only see a glimpse), not all messages boxes have been
silenced, and some very useful commands are missing in the Scripter API.

If you want to learn more about this new feature, there is already an
introduction with many more details in the wiki:


- a tweet by pinstripeowl:

- a tweet by garretthttps:

- a twitter by ArcoMul:

- a google plus message:

Requests for participation

Looking for a Web designer for the Scribus Community Asknot

Last year we have started a fork of
http://www.whatcanidoformozilla.org, a PR website where volunteers can
learn how to contribute to our project.

The current status is on Github:  

We are now looking for help. We are specifically looking for: 

- a web designer who can helps us skinning it for Scribus;
- translators;
- anyone who wants to further help.

Kicking off (again) the new scripter

A new scripter has been in the works for a long time. Currently we're
stuck at porting the new engine from Qt 4 to Qt 5 and more exactly at
the point where we have to connect real signal and slots across the
boundaries between C++ and python by using PyQt5.

The current code for the new scripter is on Github:  

Your help is welcome! If you think you can contribute, please make us a
sign through the issue tracker in the repository above.

About this newsletter

This is a Scribus newsletter published by contributors from the Scribus
community. Our goal is to produce one issue per month presenting
different aspects of the life in the Scribus community.

The October issue has been written by Ale and Kunda.  

You can contribute through our Github repository
(https://github.com/aoloe/scribus-newsletter) or by getting in touch
with us in any way you see fit (forum (http://forums.scribus.net), IRC,
mailing list, Twitter (https://twitter.com/scribus), email, ...)

Currently we are looking for more redactors, translators, and a graphic
designer who proposes a nice HTML style for this newsletter. We would
also like to see designers create a PDF version of each issue.

You can also ask us to cover specific topics, by commenting on the
ticket for the next issue

This newsletter is published under a Creative Commons license:  
CC-BY-SA, the Scribus Community Newsletter

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