scribus-ng: next generation of the desktop publishing program

December 10th, 2006 edited by lucas

Entry submitted by Oleksandr Moskalenko.

scribus-ng is the successor to the scribus package, representing the current development tree of Scribus, the open source Desktop Publishing program.

Scribus is a cross-platform open source page layout program with the aim of producing commercial grade output in PDF and Postscript. Originally developed on Linux, Scribus also runs natively on MacOSX and Windows 2000 and XP. While the goals of the program are to make professional page layout accessible for beginners, it also has many professional publishing features, such as: spot color support, CMYK color, high grade PDF creation, Encapsulated Postscript import/export and creation of color separations. There is a great article on Desktop Publishing (DTP) versus Word Processing on

Target usages:

  • Layouts for newsletters, corporate stationery, posters, training manuals, technical documentation, business cards and other documents which need flexible layout and/or sophisticated image handling, as well as precise typography controls and image sizing not available in current word processors.
  • Users needing the ability to output to professional quality image setting equipment, as well as re-purposing for internal printing, web distributed PDFs or presentations.
  • Users needing to create interactive PDF forms for presentations and cgi-form submission via PDF.


There are no free software programs with Scribus’s capabilities. Proprietary world is represented by Quark Xpress and Adobe Indesign. Scribus holds its ground well against these programs and has been used to produce books, journals, newspapers and other publications (see Made_with_Scribus and Success_stories). There’s also a Jerusalem Post article that states flat out that you can do everything with Scribus that can be done with Adobe ID and QXP.

scribus-ng is available in Debian testing and unstable. Sarge has the older stable branch of Scribus (package scribus, version 1.2.1), which is also present in Debian testing and unstable (also named scribus, version 1.2.5). Ubuntu has scribus-ng in Feisty, in Edgy, in Dapper and scribus 1.2.5 in Feisty, in Edgy and Dapper.

scribus and scribus-ng packages are maintained by Oleksandr Moskalenko. There are very few bugs (total of six for both packages, most are wishlist) and the Scribus development is tracked very closely. Upstream repositories for Debian stable/testing/unstable and Ubuntu breezy/dapper/edgy for scribus and scribus-ng packages are also maintained for the convenience of users. So, it is possible to transparently obtain the latest and greatest scribus-ng for Debian/Sarge for instance.

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