in Open Source, Technology

Scribus says Desktop Publishing on Linux is ‘Not Impossible’

Scribus - Open Source for Desktop Publishing

Illustration from Scribus

ScribusOpen Source for Desktop Publishing

There has always been resistance from many, especially small business enterprises in using Linux based computer systems. And the major reason that is cited by most or all of them is the issue with Desktop Publishing (DTP) application. However, for those who feel pessimistic about using Linux can now relax their apprehensions with Scribus.

Scribus is apparently a very well known page design feature for Linux users and is referred to as a user-friendly interface with a professional-strength page layout application. Loaded with design and visualizing features like CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) color, separations, Spot Colors, ICC (International Color Consortium) color management and versatile PDF creation.

What Windows/Mac has and Linux doesn’t?

It is a crystal clear fact that the Desktop Publishing feature that is in the possession of Windows and Mac users are unbeatable and cannot be found in Linux. The essential applications that are — Adobe PageMaker, QuarkXPress, Microsoft Publisher and Broderbund’s Print Shop. These software programs enable users (design and creative agencies) to create brochures, posters, and other creative layouts mostly used as marketing collaterals by organizations.

What Linux has and how unique is it?

Doing the same operations as the applications that are present in Windows and Mac are some Linux based applications — Grasshopper’s Pagestream, a multi-platform DTP program, full-powered word-processing suites such as OpenOffice Writer, and more.


Scribus possesses professional-strength features and facilitates ease in creating stationery, fliers and brochures. The control of color separations and color management for PDF files and other file formats that is sent for commercial printing is done effortlessly. Publishing needs are catered to by the Character options that is present in the Insert Menu of Scribus and the options include mart hyphen, non-breaking dash, bullets, middle dot, em and en dashes, quotation dash, mark variations, space and breaks as well as ligature.

Also, there are certain features that Scribus comprises which other page-design products do not own. A good example of this is Extras menu which lets the user manage images, hyphenate and de-hyphenate text under certain conditions, generate a table of contents and create a barcode. Additionally, Scribus’ Script menu has nearly one dozen fonts, text and color options that can be applied to a particular page design on its Scribus Scripts sub-menu, whereby a Script console is built in.

The downside of Scribus however is that it could have been a better application if the development community offered more templates that could have brought into existence a variety of publishing projects. All that Scribus can now design with the existing templates are brochures, newsletters, presentations, text-based designs and flyers. There needs to be an addition of templates to broaden the scope of designing more collateral.

Having said this, it is essential to note that Scribus has now made the lives of Linux users (in that more importantly the lives of professional desktop publishing users) easier.

  1. Glad to see another mention of Scribus. I have used Scribus for the last 5 years to design a schedule for a local charity horse show event. I was used to PageMaker back in the day I used Windows and Scribus comes very close to it.

  2. @ilkkah: useful comments, without any reasons as to why or a few more words on your factual experience...
    But then again, your comment did make me smile; so thanks for that! ;-)

  3. I just installed it after reading this and it works...
    Im gonna give it a 30min test drive and see what it gives.

    I have an uncle (He has been using Mandriva Linux for a year now) who has a bakery and he does his flyers in a word processor, maybe he could use this if the learning curve isnt too steep

  4. I hope scribus supports my language (Arabic) one day. Not only arabic but all RTL languages are not supported yet. The bug at is reported by munzirtaha in 2004 and we commented on it but alas every promise has failed.

  5. I heard all of this wonderful feedback about SCRIBUS and downloaded it to install it and see if it could be my MS Publisher replacement ...

    The install failed:
    nothing provides needed by scribus-

    I have the very latest updates in openSUSE LINUX, with the latest in LIBPYTHON installed as well. What gives?

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