Downsides of Scribus for Windows?
January 12, 2010 12:48 PM   Subscribe

What are the downsides of using Scribus for Windows for my desktop-published magazine?

I'm launching a four-page monthly newsmagazine. For page layout software I can either:

a) Do all my work at the Independent Publishing Resource Center here in Portland, where they have InDesign, or

b) Install Scribus on my Windows 7 laptop.

It's been five years since this similar thread, and Scribus is now available for Windows ... but I don't know how stable it is. Many people have mentioned Scribus in previous AskMeFi comments, but it's not clear that they're talking about the Windows version.

If anyone has used Scribus for Windows, I'd very much like to know the downsides.
posted by teracloth to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
InDesign is a much better program with many more options, but Scribus is free, so you've really got nothing to lose by giving it a try. I've never done much more than fool around with it myself, but I've heard complaints that the interface is clunky. Of course, it is free. So, if you don't like it, uninstall it.
posted by dortmunder at 1:16 PM on January 12, 2010

You'll need to see if a print shop can actually process Scribus-produced PDFs. (Unless you're just printing them yourself or distributing them electronically.) We get a fair bit of PDFs here at work from different programs that we have trouble pushing through to press. As with anything, work things out ahead of time with your printer and the whole thing will go smoother.
posted by azpenguin at 1:37 PM on January 12, 2010

The Windows version of Scribus is very solid -- I've had nothing like "stability" issues with it. I haven't had any trouble getting Kinko's and the like to print its output. A PDF is a PDF -- they're only problematic to print if you're using exotic fonts and haven't embedded them, and that's a problem regardless of the application you're using.

InDesign is fancier, but it's expensive and platform-dependent. Scribus has definitely emerged as a practical alternative.
posted by gum at 1:54 PM on January 12, 2010

I use Scribus on Linux and on XP regularly, and I don't experience any difference in stability or function.

It is no InDesign, but why not try it first and see if it fits your needs? I use it along with Inkscape and find it to be only as limited as your vision for the final result is.
posted by quarterframer at 4:11 PM on January 12, 2010

Thanks a lot to all of you. I'm feeling good about Scribus based on this, though I'll definitely be taking @azpenguin's advice and checking with my prospective printer.

If anyone could offer a specific example of a feature InDesign offers but Scribus doesn't, I'd be grateful.
posted by teracloth at 5:24 PM on January 12, 2010

A PDF is a PDF -- they're only problematic to print if you're using exotic fonts and haven't embedded them...

That is NOT true. One of the problem-solving techniques prepress uses is to open in different programs and re-save.

PDF is really a programming language (well, postscript is, but PDF is based on that) and there are obviously many different ways to write, or even compile, a program.

I have nothing to add on the OP's question, though, as I haven't looked at Scribus in years. I'll have to give it another go.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:56 PM on January 12, 2010

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