Publishing App Good Fit for Linux

By Jason Brooks  |  Posted 2003-07-28 Print this article Print

Open-source Scribus provides document basics.

Scribus 1.0
Although early in its development, Scribus 1.0 provides Linux users with a solid desktop publishing option with good PDF export capabilities. Scribus is licensed under the GPL and available for free download, making it a very affordable choice for small-scale desktop publishing projects. More information is available at
  • PRO: Good PDF export capability; supports CMYK color separation; Python scripting plug-in.

  • CON: No HTML export; wont import native QuarkXPress or InDesign files; poor Acrobat Reader support for Linux complicates PDF previewing.

    Adobes PageMaker and InDesign Quarks QuarkXPress
    Although it lacks many of the features of leading desktop publishing applications such as Adobe Systems Inc.s PageMaker and InDesign and Quark Inc.s QuarkXPress and cannot import files created with those applications, Scribus is the most promising option for desktop publishing on Linux that eWEEK Labs has seen.

    Scribus 1.0, available now, is a desktop publishing application for Linux written by German developer Franz Schmid and distributed under the open-source GNU GPL (General Public License).

    In tests, we were impressed with Scribus capacity for handling CMYK—which stands for cyan, magenta, yellow and black—color separation and with its thorough support of Adobes PDF 1.4 file format for document export. With a freely available plug-in, Scribus also supports scripting in Python for automating tasks and otherwise extending the applications functions.

    Scribus is well-suited for projects such as short manuals, newsletters and presentations, and it provides an affordable option (the application is freely downloadable) for creating interactive PDF forms.

    Scribus is based on the cross-platform-friendly Qt application framework from Trolltech AS and runs on Linux, HP-UX, Solaris and BSD Unix. Scribus should work with any Unix-type window manager, but it works best with KDE (K Desktop Environment).

    For our test, we compiled Scribus from source code on Red Hat Inc.s Red Hat Linux 9. Precompiled packages for Scribus are available at apps. for Red Hat Linux 8.0; SuSE Inc.s SuSE Linux 8.0, 8.1 and 8.2; and MandrakeSoft S.A.s Mandrake Linux 9.0.

    Scribus may be run on Apple Computer Inc.s Mac OS X using Fink, the collection of open-source Unix tools ported to Mac OS X. Along similar lines, theres work in progress to enable Scribus to run on Windows 2000, using the Cygwin POSIX emulation layer for Windows, but this is not yet a stable option.

    Next page: Inside Scribus interface.

    As Editor in Chief of eWEEK Labs, Jason Brooks manages the Labs team and is responsible for eWEEK's print edition. Brooks joined eWEEK in 1999, and has covered wireless networking, office productivity suites, mobile devices, Windows, virtualization, and desktops and notebooks. Jason's coverage is currently focused on Linux and Unix operating systems, open-source software and licensing, cloud computing and Software as a Service. Follow Jason on Twitter at jasonbrooks, or reach him by email at

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