May 30, 2007

Scribus 1.3.4 released with rewritten text layout engine

Author: Shirl Kennedy

After nearly a year of development, the Scribus team has released Scribus 1.3.4, with a re-written text layout engine, additional support for TIFF and PSD files, and a better preview mode.

Scribus is a well-regarded open source professional desktop publishing program with sophisticated page layout capabilities comparable to PageMaker and QuarkXPress.

In addition to the the fresh text layout engine, this release offers several other new features, including enhanced color management and a rewritten preview mode that displays layouts as seen by "readers with color viewing deficiencies," so illegible color combinations can be avoided.

Scribus 1.3.4 also sports enhanced TIFF/PSD support and the ability to "import special flavors of EPS exported from Photoshop," enhanced styles and text capabilities and a new style manager palate, as well as richer prepress capabilities, including registration marks, crop marks, and calibration bars and document meta info.

Scribus, which outputs industry-standard PDF and PostScript files, has a somewhat more user-friendly interface than comparable open source applications, which are largely based on TeX and LaTex. On the project Website, its developers stress the program's "enthusiastic and friendly Scribus community that assists beginner and pro alike."

User communications channels include a mailing list, Scribus IRC, a wiki (which offers a Get Started document for newbies), and a bugtracker.

Just how does Scribus work? And how well? In a article last year, Desktop publishing with Writer and Scribus, Dmitri Popov provided a detailed look at Scribus in action, as used in tandem with OpenOffice Writer. Previously, Nathan Willis discussed the production of Small-business forms using Scribus and PDF.

Scribus is available for Linux/Unix, MacOS X, OS/2, and Windows. Download the source code or RPMs via SourceForge. The project also has detailed release notes for more information on the latest release.

Shirl Kennedy is the senior editor of theDocuTickerandResourceShelfWeblogs as well as the "Internet Waves" columnist forInformation Today. She has been writing about technology since 1992.

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