And here is part 2!

After my disappointment with XQuery, I looked at a template engine for Python. While Python can do some basic templating itself, Cheetah is much more powerful. So here’s an example for a Cheetah template:

Anyone who has looked at a Scribus preferences file (scribus.rc) will be aware that the sheer amount of settings is daunting. There’s a C++ file named prefsstructs.h that defines on 470 lines of code 29 data structures too hold various settings. And these are just dumb structs, without any code to read/write to XML (or even getters/setters or default values or scripter support). So how can we clean up this mess?

The Summer of Code 2012 is on!

We are happy to announce that the Scribus Team has been accepted into the illustrious Google Summer of Code program once again. It’s an honor to be a part of the premier Open Source hackathon that has many talented students from around the World work on the Open Source software, get noticed, improve their skills, contribute code, become a part of the community, and get paid by Google for doing it. We’re also hoping that someone might want to stick around and become a part of the team.

Right now we have three mentors. We’re always looking for more mentors and backup mentors. If you ever hacked on Scribus code please go ahead and apply at the GSoC 2012 site.


Student application period will open up on March 26th. Prospective students should already be working through the requirement list and getting acquainted with the development team and the Scribus Community.

Godspeed and have tons of fun. The Summer of Code is awaiting.

Scribus 1.4.0 Released

After almost 4 years of intensive work, the Scribus Team ( has released the new stable version 1.4.0 of the Open Source desktop publishing program Scribus.
Given this is the first major stable release in some time, this document outlines improvements over the last number of versions, rather than since just the last one. The idea is to form a general comparison between this and the last stable release.

In summary, more than 2000 feature requests and bugs have been resolved since the development of this new version started.

Major changes and improvements in comparison to the last stable version are:

  • 1.4.0 is based on the Qt4 application framework. The initial transition from Qt3 was performed quite quickly, but fine tuning for cross-platform compatibility and taking advantage of new features took quite some time. As a result, Scribus now runs equally reliable on all supported platforms.
  • Thanks to the port to Qt4, the Scribus Team now also provides install files for Mac OS X 10.5 or later (DMG or pkg format), as well as a native version for OS/2 Warp 4 and eComStation. Additionally, thanks to feedback from users of other UNIX platforms, Scribus is will build and run on more of those platforms as well.
  • Feature enhancements to object handling (e.g. transform tools like in advanced drawing programs), with improvements to existing features like the Scrapbook and the Image Manager.
  • Many advanced options for text and typography, like character styles, optical margins, or glyph extension. Undo/Redo is finally available for almost all text-related actions, and a new script enables replacing straight quotes with typographical quotation marks based on language settings. Usability improvements include better cursor placement and movement, faster layout on canvas and interaction between linked frames.
  • New features for vector objects, like Boolean path operations, vector effects or a line style editor.
  • Major improvements to the handling of fills, like pattern fill, more gradient types, support for external color palette formats (AI, EPS, GPL, PostScript, SOC), and many new color palettes, including those from commercial vendors like Resene and dtp studio, as well as national/government standards.
  • A new frame type called “Render Frame” allows for rendering (and subsequently export) the output of every program that can create PostScript, PDF or PNG files via the command line (e.g. LaTeX, Lilypond, POV-Ray) inside Scribus. The initial version of which was developed as a project for Google Summer of Code and this project has developed to allow import of externally produced documents, scientific publications and formulas. More renderers can be added with a simple configuration file.
  • Vector import filters: Scribus 1.4.0 provides new import filters for the following file formats: Adobe Illustrator (both EPS and PDF-based), Macintosh Picture (PICT), Windows Metafile (WMF), Xfig (FIG), Calamus Vector Graphics (CVG), Kivio Stencils (SML), and DIA Shapes (SHAPE).
  • Regarding bitmap images, the handling of Photoshop files has seen many major improvements, like support of multiple clipping paths or PSD layers. The Image Manager has been rewritten, and new non-destructive image effects have been added. Moreover, Scribus 1.4.0 now supports EXIF data in images, and import of Windows and OS/2 bitmaps (BMP) has been re-enabled.
  • Among the major enhancements to Scribus’s pre-press features, printing marks and the display of ink coverage in the Print Preview are the most important. In addition, Scribus now enables conversion of spot colors to process colors during PDF and PostScript export with a single click.
  • PDF export has seen major improvements as well. Scribus can now export to PDF 1.5, including PDF layers. Another new feature is the option to embed EPS and PDF files in exported PDFs as an alternative to rasterizing them. Also, both font embedding and substitution have been improved.
  • For color management, Scribus 1.4.0 now supports both littleCMS version 1 and 2. It’s also possible to enable color management with a single click from the main window.
  • Additionally, the Scribus Team has added a feature to emulate color blindness on screen.
  • Hundreds of minor and major usability improvements have been added.
  • The included scripts have been updated, including the addition of the “Autoquote” script in the Script menu to convert straight quotes in a text frame to correct quotation marks for many languages.
  • Scribus 1.4.0 is being shipped with many more templates than previous versions.
  • The content of the Help System has been rewritten and updated.

Now that Scribus 1.4.0 has been released, the Scribus Team will focus on stabilizing the 1.5 development branch, which will comprise amazing new features like support for PDF/X-1a, PDF/X-4 and PDF/E, Mesh Gradients, native PDF import, XAR import, a completely rewritten table implementation, a rewritten text system, and much more. The 1.4.x version is now in stable/maintenance mode, which means few features will be backported from the 1.5 development branch. In general, only bugs will be fixed in subsequent 1.4.x versions, along with new content, like new translations, new templates, or additional color palettes.

Important Information

If you are working with a team, try to make sure that all team members use the same Scribus version – this will avoid many headaches and extra work. Users should be warned that 1.3.3.x cannot open 1.4.0 files.

The Scribus Team recommends that all distributions package Scribus 1.4.0 as “Scribus” (and replace the outdated Scribus

The 1.4.x branch will now be developed in the Version14x branch of our Subversion repository, leaving the Version135 one behind. This also fixes the version numbering issues of the past, with just two main versions, 1.4.x and 1.5.x

The Scribus Team will continue to implement new features and improvements in the development branch 1.5.x.

We recommend the additional packaging of 1.5 only if it is marked as a development version and can be installed alongside an existing Scribus 1.4.0 (for example as scribus-ng).

The English online help has been mostly updated to match the new features. Translations have temporarily disabled, since they need to be synchronised with the English version once the update is complete. Further updates will be included with subsequent 1.4 releases.

Primary Download Location

  • Installation packages and the source code are available here:
  • Upstream Debian/Ubuntu repo:
  • Fedora RPMS:
  • OpenSUSE, Mandriva and SLED RPMs:
  • All download options are listed at

Download Verification

Description File Name Sha1sum
Source scribus-1.4.0.tar.bz2 af38413420eaa783d20f2db189aef408be844048
Source scribus-1.4.0.tar.xz 0e3afb98a56084c2938a8402df2d89214c42b809
OS X Leopard or higher (DMG) scribus-1.4.0.dmg eae5adacdc207f4bda6136dc48c26b83dcbf6b9a
OS X Leopard or higher (PKG) scribus-1.4.0.pkg 64df9a61b33183dbc85b9a3090a648c75f320640
Windows 32/64 Bit scribus-1.4.0-windows.exe 268b9e8658528677ceac6252dae348c49643d159
OS/2 / eComStation 4fe0b3cf562cda4e1b78bf89a2340bb868610014


The Scribus Team would like to thank and Modirum for their continued hosting of all of the Scribus websites.

We are also grateful to the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie and Linux New Media (Germany) for sponsoring.

As of July 2011, the Scribus Team is also pleased to welcome Resene Colours (New Zealand) and Marabu-Druckfarben (Germany) as Special Supporters and donors of colour palettes which are part of the 1.4.0 release.

Finally, the Scribus Team would like to thank the many end users, translators, testers and contributors who helped us with this important release.

About Scribus

Scribus is an Open Source program for professional page layout with press-ready output to PDF files. Underneath a modern and user-friendly interface, Scribus supports professional publishing features, such as color separations, CMYK and Spot Color support, ICC color management, and versatile PDF creation.

See the Scribus Times and Gazette article for more details.

It is hard to believe Scribus is almost an adolescent. Just yesterday, Scribus turned ten years old, with the first bits of code written by Franz Schmid in December 2000. A few months later, it was linked on Freshmeat and then, well… it kind of had a life of its own. I googled DTP and Linux and stumbled across the link to Franz’ home pages. Of course it would not compile… (User error on my part.)

However, after posting a short e-mail, during the time of dial-up internet, I got an almost instant reply with a: the correct fix b: a question I cannot remember exactly, but well, it struck me as the right kind of question.So a good sign.

Not long after that, began a long series of e-mails about page layout, PDF and design over the course of probably 2+ years. It was clear way back then Franz had the singular idea to create a page layout application with a robust powerful PDF engine. Then and now, it was a brilliant design decision in my opinion.

There have been some memorable moments:

The release of 1.0 which got the front page of slashdot and took out the community ISP in his town for 3 days and oops, my most important clients’ web server traffic climbed 5000% in a few hours, as all the screens shots were directly linked.

One other strikes me is testing a pre 1.0 version of Scribus in my client’s service bureau and seeing the color managed preview nearly perfectly matching the PDF output in a RIP.

Booting the first native port of Scribus on Windows (thanks Jean) and OSX (thanks Andreas)…

Another one is seeing LGM #1 come about from some idle chat in IRC. We expected an attendance of 50 to arrive and got 200..

Finding this mysterious character Ltning show up on IRC with an offer of lots of shiny gear for hosting us and delivering the goods.. for years on end now… I’ve yet to meet him in person, but already I know could give him my wallet and not worry.. Apparently the banks in Norway feel the same way 🙂

In the intervening years, Franz,  Craig, I and others, along with our families have shared holidays together; quite a special thing to see when it all began over the Internet – across continents no less. Even better, we are still involved daily, because we have a lot of mutual respect and the bonds of friendship, but its still fun!

So, here is a virtual tip of the hat to Franz, Craig, Petr, Christoph, Andreas, Jean, Pierre and the others. Keep on rockin’

I just paid the occasional visit to our download page on Sourceforge, and something seems to have escaped my attention earlier: We have become millionaires! Well, at least download millionaires, as our stable 1.3.3.x has been downloaded more than 1.2 million times since we made Scribus available on SF c. two years ago.

Not bad for a niche program, isn’t it? And these are only the files available via Sourceforge (i.e., the 1.3.3.x installers for Windows and OS/2, as well as the source code). You also have to add Scribus installations via Linux/BSD/UNIX package management or the OS X versions that can be installed via Fink.

Now, if Scribus received one Euro (or at least one US $) per download, the Scribus developers could consider to retire early, given the current download rate 😉

It was a beautiful beginning of Summer. The Google Summer of Code was on and it was glorious and fun, or at least everyone expected it to be after our previous two years in the program went so well. There was no reason to worry. We had all our ducks lined up in a row – four slots assigned by Google to our team, all our infrastructure set up just right, and friendly and competent mentors paired up with promising and enthusiastic students who were going to work on great projects. However, “The best laid schemes of mice and men Go often askew.”

On the bright side, Thach Tran has completed his project successfully, which put Scribus’s PDF export once more ahead of most closed-source DTP programs. I would like to thank him for sticking around, working through the harder parts of the project, and persevering to the end! His mentor Pierre Marchand commended Thach on doing a great job of keeping his branch in sync with the trunk. He also kept lines of communication open and made frequent appearances in our IRC channel. All of this made Pierre’s job easier as the new project code could be compiled at virtually any time and any problems could be communicated quickly. So, congratulations Thach Tran.

Having said that, the rest of our GSoC 2009 student team has not fared very well. The second student did make an effort to move his project forward. Unfortunately, it seems that the project was outside of the scope of his skills at the time, so we had to fail him at mid-term evaluation time. We wish him good luck in his future endeavors. This is possibly the most frustrating part of the GSOC 2009 experience for us as it shows that our process of vetting potential student coders was not robust enough. If we get to do this again in the future I believe that we won’t accept any students who have not produced any patches to the Scribus codebase. There is always a churn of low-hanging fruit in the code as new features introduce easy-to-fix bugs and our fantastic user community constantly comes up with feature requests and bug reports. So, it wouldn’t be a problem for a competent student to produce a patch or two. I think it would save us a tremendous amount of time and effort and reduce Google’s overhead. Even if we only get one candidate with patches I’d rather relinquish the remaining slots to other organizations than risk accepting people who just won’t be able to make it even with hand holding by mentors.

The remaining two students bailed out before getting anything done at all. I suppose there could’ve been some objective reasons for their early departure, but they have not come up with any, so my conclusion is that they simply wasted our time. Unfortunately, they made it ever so difficult for other people with similar backgrounds to ever get enough credibility for acceptance into the program. Later on, one of the students made an appearance and promised to finish the project outside of GSoC. We’ll see if that promise turns into something tangible.

The story wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the Google folks. As before, they ran a fantastic program and provided all the help and resources to the GSoC organizations needed for success. I cannot thank Leslie Hawthorn, Ellen Ko, Cat Allman and the rest of the Google SOC crew enough for giving so much of their life to this program. Thank you guys!!! I’d also like to mention one of Melange gurus Pawel Solyga who was very prompt in responding to a bug report. All in all, the world is a better place thanks to the Google Open Source team.



Scribus Team GSoC 2009 Administrator

Now that 1.3.5(1) is released, development has regained speed. Here’s a short overview of what has happened recently in 1.5svn and Scribus in general:

  • Scribus founder Franz Schmid returned from his well-deserved break with a big bang, the latter being experimental code to embed 3D objects in Scribus-created PDFs.
  • Franz also wrote import filters for Calamus Vector Graphics (CVG), WordPerfect Graphics (WPG) and Apple PICT files. The quality of those filters is already superb. Along the way he also created an import filter for colour palettes from Viva Designer.
  • The code of a successful GSoC 2009 project has finally found its way into 1.5svn, namely export to PDF/X-1a and X4.
  • The first part of another student project, an import filter for QuarkXPress Tags, has also been finished, and we expect to add the filter to trunk soon. The student, Jain Basil, is now working on a second import filter for InDesign’s IDML format and hopes to tackle the older InDesign INX format, as well as Xtags, later.

We are also glad that the release of 1.3.5(1) has found an overwhelmingly positive reception in the news outlets, from the Free Software press to magazines for professional publishers.

Finally, we are glad that more companies decided to support our project:

  • The German colour vendor Marabu provided us with colour data for the company’s colour sets, which have been exclusively measured under different lighting conditions for Scribus.
  • dtp studio Oldenburg, another German company, which is in the business of measuring, creating and commercially distributing colour palettes, colour software and colour atlases, donated a huge chunk of colour palettes and will also officially support Scribus, which means that Scribus users will be able to buy additional palettes that work with Scribus from dtp studio.
  • There’s also good news for those who use Scribus on OS/2 or eComStation, as Serenity Systems donated free (as in gratis) licenses of eComStation to the Scribus Team to help with porting Scribus and Fontmatrix to this platform.

And let’s not forget to mention the operator of Vector Portal who agreed to help us with the creation of attractive templates for business cards and presentation templates. Lest we forget: We’re also working on other sets of templates for magazines, brochures etc.

Does this sound good? There’s more to come, stay tuned!

We all know the saying “sometimes life gets in our way,” meaning that something didn’t work as expected. Scribus is no different, although in our case one major fact of “life getting in our way” was newly born (or soon-to-be-born Update: useradd -groups vanek,boys -c "23.07.09 7:00am; 3.2kg, 0.5m" filip) babies, meaning an all-out positive distraction. There were other reasons, of course, that led to the delay of 1.3.5’s release, but after a long time of frustration with the progress of the code, we now have a lot of reasons to expect a bright future for our project again.

What has happened?

  • Especially thanks to the infatigable efforts of Jean Ghali (jghali), Craig Bradney (MrB) and Pierre Marchand (pierremarc), 1.3.5 is 99% finished now. The number of bugs they have quashed over the last 12 months is simply astonishing!
  • Google enabled us to add some really unique features via its Summer of Code programme, among them support for an almost infinite amount of markup languages like LaTeX, Lilypond or POV-Ray, or import of CorelDraw files, as well as a huge list of other vector or bitmap file formats.
  • This year, the Scribus Team was confronted with 6 GSoC applications of equal quality, but given the large amount of applications, the Google selection process required us to select four students, which turned out to be very hard. Fortunately, we have good and reliable friends in India, namely Sarai. Since most of this year’s applicants were Indian citizens, Sarai, in cooperation with NIXI, enabled two other students from India to work on a Scribus-related project by means of a fellowship.
  • The author of this rant has contacted colour vendors all over the world and asked for digital colour palettes of their proprietary colours under a Free license. The reactions, so far, have been mostly positive, but in most cases, the licensing conditions still need to be negotiated. The major exception here is the New-Zealand-based colour vendor Resene. The company didn’t hesitate one second to support Scribus, and their willingness to cooperate and their speed, as well as their professionalism, left me speechless at times.

All that being said, and with a big Cheers to our supporters, I’m more confident than ever when it comes to the future of our project.

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