Scribus – Open Source Adobe Indesign

Scribus - Open Source Adobe Indesign

Scribus is a maturing publishing tool which has much to like. The upcoming (when? who knows?) release of 1.6 should put it squarely in direct competition with Adobe Indesign, it's proprietary competitor. Scribus is free and open source software, developed with love. However, there is one bad part which is the development lead who believes that new versions (e.g., 1.6) should be released over several years, rather than several months. Too slow for my tastes, though they are doing incremental releases at a faster rate, and frankly it is a nice piece of 'ware.

Note, my own use of Scribus fell down with several issues, including this bug that may not be around anymore, and I've gone back to an older approach using Inkscape for vector graphics and Markdown, Pandoc, and XeLaTeX (XeTeX + LaTeX, which handles unicode fonts and is the only real solution for non-latin script support) to generate epub and pdf programmatically.

Scribus is basically damned awesome and should be tried out. It is the future (and possibly current) replacement to Adobe Indesign. Along with GIMP, Inkscape and Blender, Adobe can be retired (and I personally have not used any of their software since 2010 (and any Microsoft software since 2007).

Current Status of Scribus and Download

  • Development Status: Active
  • Tone of Community: Friendly, Helpful, Informative
  • Latest Stable Build Date: 17-May-2016
  • Latest Stable Version 1.5.2
  • Support for: OSX, Windows, Ubuntu
  • Homepage of Scribus
  • Download Scribus

Scribus FAQs, Help, Documentation

Scribus Community, Bug Tracking, Development

Development Roadmap and Status

Indic Script Unicode Support

ePub Export in Scribus

This is in the 1.6 roadmap, and was assigned in June 2012, but may or may not be completed by the time of that release.

Update June 2016 - Since the 1.6 version won't be out for, maybe never, this useful e-pub export plugin for Scribus still exists and is updated.

PDF/X-1a Export in Scribus

This seems to be present in 1.5x beta.

Tables in Scribus

This seems to be present in 1.5x beta.

Books on Scribus

There are several books on Scribus (and made with Scribus)!

Install Development Version on OSX

Note: this was my workflow in 2012, so likely out-of-date

This works on OSX Mountain Lion as of November 2012.

Run the following from the console:

  • sudo port -v selfupdate
  • sudo port install cmake
  • sudo port install freetype
  • sudo port install lcms
  • sudo port install cairo
  • sudo port install libxml2
  • sudo port install subversion
  • sudo port install ghostscript
  • sudo port install qt4-mac

Now create and build the SVN version

  • mkdir -p ~/scribus/150
  • cd ~/scribus/150
  • svn co svn://scribus.net/trunk/
  • mkdir builddir
  • cd builddir
  • cmake -DBUILD_OSX_BUNDLE=1 -DWANT_CAIRO=1 -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX:PATH=/Applications/ ../trunk/Scribus/
  • make
  • make install

Epub development branch

Note: this was my workflow in 2012, so likely out-of-date

This git branch is for the current Epub export functionality under development

  • mkdir -p ~/scribus/epub
  • cd ~/scribus/epub
  • git clone git://git.scribus.net/scribus.git scribus.git
  • cd scribus.git
  • git pull
  • git branch --track epub origin/epub
  • git checkout epub
  • git pull
  • cd Scribus
  • cmake -DBUILD_OSX_BUNDLE=1 -DWANT_CAIRO=1 -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX:PATH=/Applications/Epub/
  • make
  • make install