Daily dose of Scribus trunk

Friday, September 10th, 2010

We’ll be using Scribus for much of the DTP internal to Canonical. Our templates etc will be published in Scribus, so folks who need to knock up a flyer or brochure have the pieces they need ready to hand. However, there’s a problem, in that the stable Scribus package is really quite old.

The Scribus team is making good progress on the next version of Scribus, but I couldn’t find an easy way to test their trunk. So I thought to make a PPA with a daily build. Whenever I’m testing or evaluating a new app I like to check out trunk, just to get a feel for the pace of activity and quality of the work. A crisp, clean, stable trunk is a sign of good quality work, which will likely mean good quality elsewhere like documentation and project governance. Chaos on trunk means… chaos generally, as a rule.

I wrote to Oleksander Moskalenko, one of the upstream developers and Debian maintainer of the Scribus packages, including a complete set of Ubuntu packages with pretty awesome documentation for how to get the newer versions for testing. He kindly offered to review the package and made some suggestions for things to look out for. And then I got lucky, mentioning that I wanted to do this on #kubuntu-devel, because Philip Muskovac turns out to be in the middle of a quest to do daily build PPA’s of most of KDE!

We already had a Bzr import of Scribus trunk for some reason, so tip is easily accessible via LP and bzr.

Philip knocked up a package recipe combining trunk with a clean packaging branch based on Oleksandr’s scribus-ng package. Et voila, LP is now doing all the work to deliver us a nice dose of Scribus goodness every day. So here’s an invitation to DTP-heads everywhere: if you’d like to see the very latest work of the Scribus team, just add that PPA to your sources and grab scribus-trunk:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:scribus/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install scribus-trunk

Generally, if the packaging branch is clean, a daily build is pretty stable, it might need a tweak now and then but that work is useful to the packager as an early warning on packaging changes needed for the next version, anyway. And it’s usually easier to fix something if you know exactly what changed to break it 🙂

I’d like to thank Philip and Oleksandr for rocking the park, and the Scribus folks for a wonderful tool that will get wider use now within Canonical and, hopefully, elsewhere too.

The Scribus trunk packages seem to work very well on Unity, the Qt/dbusmenu integration is tight in this newer version, so it’s very usable with the panel menu and launching it full-screen feels right on my laptop. I’m enjoying the extra detailed control that Scribus gives with the use of fonts over apps like OO.o and AbiWord, since I’m becoming a font nerd these days with all the work on Ubuntu.

There is a flag day transition to be aware of, though, as newer Scribus files are not compatible with those of the stable scribus. Nevertheless, both this trunk build and the scribus-ng packages Oleksandr maintains seem pretty stable to me, so we’ll be using the newer format and holding our breath till the actual release. No pressure, team Scribus 😉

Update: Philip’s published Lucid packages as well!

27 Responses to “Daily dose of Scribus trunk”

  1. s.r Says:

    This push is great for typography on Linux. Scribus is alone powerfull program for professional typograph layout.

  2. Derek Keats Says:

    This is great news. Working on something right now that could so use this.

    Is the PPA available to Lucid? I get 404 not found errors

    Failed to fetch http://ppa.launchpad.net/scribus/ppa/ubuntu/dists/lucid/main/binary-i386/Packages.gz 404 Not Found


  3. Andy Fitzsimon Says:

    Much appreciated.
    A well loved PPA is always better than the ritual of:
    svn up && ./configure && cmake . && sudo make install

  4. Marco Di Fresco Says:

    Uhm … I wanted to try it, but it seems that the repository does not cover amd64:

    W: Failed to fetch http://ppa.launchpad.net/scribus/ppa/ubuntu/dists/lucid/main/binary-amd64/Packages.gz 404 Not Found
    E: Some index files failed to download, they have been ignored, or old ones used instead.

  5. Andrew Ampers Taylor Says:

    This is terrific news. I remember writing to Canonical saying that we should take good publishing and creative packets on board for the smaller companies who tend to do all their own work in house.

    Concentrating on office and creative packages is the momentum we need to bring the smaller companies on board.

    I have used the links and will see how much better these packages are.

  6. bigbrovar Says:

    This is great news. Its always gladdens my heart when Canonical works with upstream to help improve a software, especially one like scribus which is a great project and when used with openoffice has the potential to make Linux an even attractive platform for content creation. Keep up the good work guys

  7. Thorsten Wilms Says:

    Great to hear. I used Scribus (usually NG) a couple of times, including a 87 page document. It’s no Indesign, but I’m glad it exists.

    So wanting to try this PPA, I had to notice:
    Failed to fetch http://ppa.launchpad.net/scribus/ppa/ubuntu/dists/lucid/main/binary-amd64/Packages.gz 404 Not Found

    Climbing up that path showed me there’s no Lucid. You could have mentioned that 😉

  8. Mark nos recomienda probar Scribus « Ubuntu Life Says:

    […] Enlace | Mark Shuttleworth […]

  9. ScottK Says:

    It’s also probably worth mentioning that in addition to scribus, there is a scribus-ng package in the archive that is a snapshot of the development version.

  10. LaPeGa Says:

    Please tell developers to make a gtk version of Scribus,
    I know a lot of people who will install it if no need
    of QT dependencies.

    Thanks and good work!

  11. Tom Says:

    Cool stuff. Kudos. Good to see some Qt goodness at Canonical.

  12. TheDoctorX Says:

    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:scribus/ppa*

  13. Mark nos recomienda probar Scribus | Ayuda Linux Says:

    […] Enlace | Mark Shuttleworth […]

  14. Greg Says:

    I love to read you praising specific contributors for small, yet significant contributions to packaging and other tasks. Keep it up Mark! You’re inspiring a generation of FOSS programmers to donate their own time to all things Ubuntu.

  15. MANDY SAULS Says:

    OMGU (“,)! There is order in chaos in so much that simple scribe is the foundation for long term sustainibility

  16. Philip Muskovac Says:

    Sorry that it didn’t make it for Marks original announcement, but I have the lucid builds sorted out now and they will be available from now on.

  17. Canonical incentivando o desenvolvimento do Scribus « Informe Aberto Says:

    […] Posted by Ricardo on setembro 11, 2010 · Deixe um comentário  Está notícia está publicada no blog co fundador da Canonical, Mark Shuttleworth – Daily dose of Scribus trunk. […]

  18. Wynand Meyering Says:

    Soon Facebook will be worth $33bn at least when it does its IPO. I encourage Mark Shuttleworth to take more risks and invest in the Internet sector. He might just choose more winners and create more winners.

  19. K. Says:


    Just an advice : you should rethink your position about proprietary software in the software center, ubuntu will loose its good image in the core devellopers, and you should targeting the hardware market.

    Thank you, have a nice life.


  20. Mark Shuttleworth: Scribus è aggiornato su Lucid e Maverick | Giovanni Raco Says:

    […] Via | Mark Shuttleworth […]

  21. » Mark Shuttleworth: Scribus è aggiornato su Lucid e Maverick Says:

    […] Via | Mark Shuttleworth […]

  22. Sameer Verma Says:

    This is terrific news. I’ve been using Scribus in my multimedia class at SFSU for a few semesters now. We even did Scribus-based flyers for OLPC ClassActs project, inspired by the Ubuntu case studies layout. Here’s my !OLPC Classacts flyer built using Scribus, http://is.gd/f8Sk5 which my class then used to build 30+ different “stories” from the OLPC projects around the world! I am thrilled to hear that Scribus will get some dogfooding love within Canonical.

  23. Juan Says:

    Question – what is the most important part of any technical manual?
    Answer – would you believe it is the Index?
    Because I do not know of a single technical document user who would not immediately flip over to the Index and start searching for the words and terms of interest.
    And the sense of frustration and disappointment is very real when the user cannot find an Index at the back.
    You need to provide an index and do it well if you are writing a manual over 30 or 40 pages long.
    – Scribus has no tools available for indexing.
    – OpenOffice.org has very limited indexing tools.
    – LaTeX is complete, but is not user-friendly.
    What a pity!
    For those interested, I recommend this article.

  24. Daily dose of Scribus trunkMark Shuttleworth | 9nd.pl Says:

    […] mark […]

  25. James Tocknell Says:

    I find that TeX/LaTeX occupy a different part of DTP than Scribus. LaTeX would be used for long documents, whereas Scribus is used from brochures/posters etc. Also, LyX can assist in making LaTeX more user-friendly. I do have to say though I very rarely use OO.o, unless to open MS documents.

  26. Graham Todd Says:

    I echo the words of Juan, but think it should be possible for somebody in the Ubuntu Docs project to write a comprehensible and easy-to-use guide for Lyx.

    The real trouble is that Open Office is now so large that most people (students?) want a standalone word processor like Abiword, but with much greater indexing and authoring tools. This is great news for Scribus users but with added text formatting tools, Passepartout could become a real rival in a few years’ time.

    For the time being, kudos to all who have made this available – including Mr. Shuttleworth.


  27. foxoman Says:

    Nice Mark 🙂 .

    But as an Arabic user scribus useless to me because it’s layout core engine doesn’t support Arabic .

    I read once in an Arabic linux forum that the scribus developer suggested that someone should pay him to support Arabic or someone else should made it or we should wait until they move to new layout engine .!

    Also viva designer doesn’t support Arabic yet .


    Now I’am stuck with openoffice.org to write my ubuntu magzine


    the result is fair enough when trying to follow professional magazine design with only openoffice.org and gimp 🙂