I'm thinking that anyone who has mastered Gimp, will have no trouble eventually mastering Scribus. This is not actually a good thing. What I find unnerving about both gimp and Scribus is the adoption of a workin method that leaves a lot to be desired. THe standard Microsoft GUI may not be perfect but it does serve the purpose of having programs that comply with it, all work with the same menu structure. This is a huge help for Office temps and casual employees. I get very angry watching someone I'm paying $45 an hour for, struggle with unfamiliar menus wiht thefew applications I use that are not MS GUI menu compliant. I composed a newsleter with Scribus. It took me 4 times as long as with software I'm familiar with. Maybe by the time someone gets comfortable enough to use Scribus on a daily basis, it will work a little faster in some areas I found it wanting in. I doubt I'll find the time to teach myself to use Scribus because of the unfamiliar way it works. I can't afford the time to adapt to Gimp either so for that reason continue with the constant upgrade mess the big A find so profitable. I congratulate the authors of Scribus in producing an accurate, stable alternative to current expensive and complicated offerings. It certainly does everything a basic publisher needs and does it well. Sure, I could get picky that some of my often used and much liked facilities like vertical justification are missing but in truth, only high level publishers would need them and Scribus is - I think, not aimed at that part of the market. For someone cash poor and time rich who wants to publish the local Church newsletter and similar, this could well bea very suitabl answer for them. For professionals... There are pleant of more suitable offering around and if you are profiting from using them, the high cost won't be a hurdle. Definately Scribus has potential. Thanks for putting in the effort you do in producing the application. I wish you well and hope you find a following of users. Ryadia
On the positive side, this wonderful project has huge potentials. Excellent results can be achieved by using this software. The results are easily comparable to commercially-available alternatives. On the negative side, I think the project is underpowered and needs more developers. The user-interface needs rethinking. Many of the great options and features cannot easily be used or are arranged in very confusing ways. It is not lack of features, but the way they are presented that is a big issue: disorganized, scattered, unmanageable, and confusing at times. Unfortunately, there is no easy fix for it either. I always wanted to switch to an open-source alternative (from the most-commonly-used desktop publishing software application). I've never been able to do that with Scribus. One reason is that most of your skills on other software are not easily transferable to Scribus. The learning curve for Scribus, even if you have come from another desktop publishing application, is pretty steep and long; and unreasonably so. The panels need serious re-engineering to become useful. They cannot be ducked (as of version 1.4.4) which adds to the usability issue. They're not foldable either, i.e you either have them opened, or closed. This makes using the panels extremely awkward and inefficient. The panels’ usability and the issues surrounding them is the single, most important usability issue with Scribus. The visual elements of the design of the software is stuck somewhere in 1990s and uses the mentality and design paradigms of that era. So it has a lot of room for improvement in this regards. The available themes do not help you fix the dated look of the design at all (they actually make it worse). Aside from the user interface and usability issues, the setting and preferences are reasonable. You can calibrate the units for measuring sizes based on the resolution of your monitor and it works great. Autosave, colour management, preflight verifications, and PDF export settings are available and different PDF standards are being added gradually. Scribus also allows you to use Python scripts (although I never tried it) and it uses a pluggable architecture (so there are a few plug-ins available for it). The plug-ins extend the features of Scribus. I certainly recommend this software to anyone who wants to have a reasonable alternative to the expensive commercial desktop publishing software applications. Once you passed the initial and painfully slow learning stage, you can be sure that you can create great results in this application, ready for publication at the highest level of quality and standard.
I have used Scribus 1.4.x for Windows (7-64) on a very powerful laptop fairly often for a technical book. The learning curve is moderate-to-difficult but any DTP software is very complex. It has quite a few inconsistencies and eccentricities. For one example, to change values, occasionally the spin arrow buttons might work but direct numerical entry into the value box may not work. These little things are sporadic but create minor annoyances. It requires greater patience than a commercial release. I had originally written here that Scribus 1.4.x crashed once or more per session (my sessions tend to be very long). After a recent crash the Win7 Action Center function reported that it had adjusted Scribus 1.4.4 to run in "Compatibility Mode." This was done automatically by Win7 and has reduced the crashes greatly to the point where I no longer worry as much but still save often. It was only after many, many dozens of crashes and quite a few 1.4 versions that Windows finally made this automatic adjustment. Others will want to experiment with "Compatibility Mode" to attempt to make this adjustment manually immediately after install. Another reviewer here complained that the panels (panel docking and collapsing) need serious re-engineering to become useful. I suspect that reviewer had not incorporated the use of "F" keys into his workflow. With a dual display setup I drag all panels to their own display. Then just press the panel's F key twice and the panel rises to the top so it works well enough on dual displays. My complaint is that once a panel is closed completely it does not remember the position I had previously assigned to it and I must reposition it every time it is newly reopened. Given that it's free it's just good enough for me to want to continue to use it, working through the occasional frustrations. Part of that is not wanting to spend for InDesign much less learn a new workflow, and knowing that Publisher is not nearly powerful enough. The development isn't perfect but will likely continue to improve. The official online user forum is good enough for finding answers. With all that said, if you have ample patience, you can make very beautiful and professional documents with Scribus. The majority of Scribus is sound and robust. It can do most anything that the commercial products do and a few things they cannot.