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03 January 2012, 10:41

Scribus 1.4.0 publishing software released

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Scribus logo After nearly four years of development, the Scribus development team has released version 1.4.0 of its open source desktop publishing (DTP) application. The major change in the 1.4.0 is the switch to the Qt4 framework, updating the application from its previous use of Qt3. The developers say the change itself was quick, but fine tuning and making use of new features of the application framework took "quite some time". The result is that Scribus is now at the same level of reliability on all its supported platforms.

The major stable update includes extended graphics tools for transformations, vector effects and Boolean path operations, as well as a new line style editor. Advanced text and typography options include optical margins, character styles and a new script that replaces straight quotes with typographical quotation marks based on a user's language settings. A new frame type called "Render Frame" can be filled with PostScript, PDF or PNG files from external programs such as LaTeX, Lilypond or POV-Ray via the command line; this was developed as a Google Summer of Code (GSoC) project and is designed to be particularly beneficial when creating scientific publications.

Scribus 1.4.0 can import vector graphics from Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop files complete with clipping paths and PSD layers. The cross-platform layout program supports non-destructive filters and EXIF data. When exporting PDF and PostScript files, it can now convert spot colours to process colours, add printing marks and display an ink coverage preview for overprinting. Scribus generates PDF files that comply with version 1.5 of the standard, including PDF layers. When exporting PDFs, the program now offers the option to directly embed EPS and PDF files as vector graphics rather than rasterise images.

To date, the Scribus developers have recommended the 1.3.3.x branch for production use – most recently version – at the same time, they also offered various developer releases to download, for example version 1.3.5, which, although not an official stable version, was deemed to be suitable for production use by the Scribus community. Such statements caused problems for users, who would have to continue using the new branch once they switched to it: the development versions of Scribus, as well as the now released version 1.4.0, use a different file format than the 1.3.3.x series versions – however, older layout files can be opened in 1.4.0. The developers now recommend that all distributions package Scribus 1.4.0 as "Scribus".

Further information about the major update can be found in the release notes and in the change log. Scribus 1.4.0 is available to download Windows, Mac OS X and Linux from the project's site and documentation is provided. Hosted on SourceForge, source code for Scribus is licensed under the GPLv2.


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