by December 2, 2003 0 comments

Since popular commercial page layout and design software such as QuarkXPress, Adobe PageMaker and InDesign are fairly expensive, you may want to try out Scribus, a Linux-based DTP software. Though not a replacement for its commercial counterparts, as it’s not as flexible, Scribus nevertheless does provide a complete DTP solution for a lightweight publication. 

The first noticeable thing about Scribus is its simple and easy to understand interface. Second, it has built-in support to directly export files to EPF (Encapsulated Postscript File), PDF and SVG (Standard Vector Graphics) formats, all of which are required in a professional DTP package. It provides encryption for PDF files, and supports all popular graphic formats such as jpeg, png and xpixmap. Also, its file format is based on XML, something that makes file exchanges easier in a heterogeneous DTP environment. 

But, it also has some minuses. It doesn’t yet have prebuilt RPMs for itself. So, the only way to install it is to compile its source code, something that’s not so simple (especially if the designer is non techie). Another limitation is that you can’t import data from MS Word (.doc) files. Lastly, when working with multiple documents, you can’t drag and drop objects from one place to another. When we tried to drag an object, it disappeared after coming out of its frame. 

Open this month’s DVD and copy the Scribus tarball as follows. 

#cp scribus-1.0.1.tar.gz ~

You should also install additional software ‘Little CMS’ if you want Scribus to use better color management. For this, you’ll need to copy the following file from the DVD to your home directory, as follows. 

#cp lcms-1.11.tar.gz ~

You must install lcms first for Scribus to incorporate its features. To do so unpack, compile and install lcms as follows. 

#tar —zxvf lcms-1.11.tar.gz
#cd lcms-1.11
#make && make install

Now, go to the folder where you copied Scribus and execute the following steps. 

#tar —zxvf scribus-1.0.1.tar.gz
#cd scribus-1.0.1
#make && make install

With this, Scribus will be built and installed. To start the software and play around with it, just run the command ‘scribus’ from a terminal window or from the ‘Run Program’ dialogue box. 

Anindya Roy and Sudhir Arora

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