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Scribus 1.4.0 Released

After almost 4 years of intensive work, the Scribus Team (http://www.scribus.net) 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 1.3.3.14 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 โ€“ 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 1.3.3.14).

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: http://sourceforge.net/projects/scribus/files/scribus/1.4.0/
  • Upstream Debian/Ubuntu repo: http://debian.scribus.net
  • Fedora RPMS: http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:/mrdocs
  • OpenSUSE, Mandriva and SLED RPMs: http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:/mrdocs
  • All download options are listed at http://wiki.scribus.net/canvas/Download

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 scribus-1.4.0-os2ecs.zip 4fe0b3cf562cda4e1b78bf89a2340bb868610014

Credits

The Scribus Team would like to thank Anduin.net 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.

One of our translators and contributors mentioned to me that they had comments to the effect that Scribus is a “closed shop”. In other words, the team is really not open to adding new developers and contributors. So let’s dispel that rumour right now.

It is not true. Not now, not before, never.

To an outsider, it might appear that way, but not by intent. The Scribus Team is probably a bit different than most in that we are a bit older, perhaps than the average OSS team. Several of us have a few grey hairs on top – but that is a Good Thing for many reasons. ๐Ÿ™‚

Our experience in various parts of graphics and pre-press has given us a sense of direction about what not only Scribus needs, but what to avoid like faux bold and italic . Sometimes avoiding the same architectural and “feature” errors we’ve suffered as users in the past is just as important as ultra coding foo.

One other thing which is important to understand that we do work very harmoniously as a team. We share the same core values of respecting our users and each other’s unique talents and capabilities. We choose, compliments before criticism, cooperation instead of flaming and division. This, I think, is transmitted through in the way the community surrounding Scribus has grown. Note the lack of flame wars on our mail list. That is something I think we can be proud of and if we are protective of that โ€“ so be it.

However, get closer and you will see that Scribus is far from a “closed shop”. Surrounding the core team is a larger circle of folks whose contributions are not only valuable, but necessary. One look at Help > About, the mailing list or a look at the Wiki is evidence enough for me.

To the contrary, we do want more coders, more translators, more packagers and folks to help with testing bugs. Jump in! The water is just fine.

Two days ago I filed issue #4000 on Scribus’s bug tracker. ๐Ÿ™‚
I also wanted to file #3000 but mrdocs beat me on that this January.
Ugh? Another 1000 bugs in merely six months??

Yep. This shows that the Scribus project is not only active at the development front but also has people who care about its quality and keep track of issues. Fortunately, most of these 1000 new bugs are already closed:

scribus-bugs-cummulative
Another diagram shows that the majority of issues are feature requests or minor issues:


Currently there are only 116 unresolved issues with severity major, block or crash. So what happens to issues which get resolved? While we also have resolutions like “no change required” and “won’t fix”, most issues get fixed:

Which shows we are not only working hard, but we’ve also got the statistics to prove it! ๐Ÿ˜‰ For those who are interested in more statistics, they should check out the “Summary” and “Advanced summary” sections at http://bugs.scribus.net.
Keep on feeding us those bugs, we love it!

/Andreas