Author Topic: On using the Scribus development version (Was: Moving Images: very slow then VERY fast!?)  (Read 112 times)

dezcat

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I have used daily/nightly builds of other software titles without issue in the past...things like browsers...Camino used to have a nightly build and I remember being all tingly thinking I was getting the latest browser, straight from the spigot!

Another app is "Affinity Designer," and while not all of the experimental features worked correctly, the software itself was very well-behaved overall. Blender is another title whose daily builds were pretty well-behaved, even if all the tools didn't quite work.

Seems like the daily build of Scribus might be meant more for people who are developers themselves, not regular guys like me wanting production-ready software, which is fine..I'm grateful that there is such a thing as Scribus and the more I use it, the more impressed I am with it.

I've embraced it at work and using it for mission-critical design work.

Thank you for posing those questions about my scenario...I'm a big fan of the methodical approach to computer woes!
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GarryP

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Using nightly builds of some software can be very useful, especially if they include security updates. (Come to think of it, there was a point when using Firefox felt like using a nightly build as updates were made at a surprising pace.)

Unfortunately, because of the way the developers are working, Scribus doesn't quite fit that scenario. Most other software is maintained in a way that small updates including bug fixes and extra features can be drip-fed to the users without much hassle to the average user. This means that bug fixes and new features can easily be checked and tested in a smooth process and most people aren't even aware that there was a problem in the first place.

With Scribus, on the other hand, there have been no updates or bug fixes to the stable version for nearly two years. The current developmental version is now so different to the stable version that they are - essentially - two different bits of software. The developers are so far along their own path that they cannot now apply fixes to problems in the stable version of their own software, even when they know how to fix them. In my opinion, a bizarre situation.

Some people get along fine with the developmental version but they are usually people who have been using Scribus for many years and know exactly how it's supposed to work and already know how to get round any problems that might come up. Beginners trying to use any of the developmental versions will probably have a harder time of things than if they use the stable version.

People have a choice of which version to use:
* Stable - nearly two years old but a large user-base to get help from;
* Developmental - as up-to-date as you want but some (largely unspecified) features might not work.

Do you use software where the bugs are known but workarounds have already been figured out, or do you use software where the bugs are unknown and you have no way of knowing when/if they'll be fixed? "You don't pays your money but you still takes your choice."

a.l.e

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garry, you got it mostly right but there are a few things that are a bit off:

- the developers do apply fixes to the stable branch. if the bug is in both, there are chances that it's a part of code that has not changed much.
- but they do not port features to the stable branch (with a few exceptions, like in the pdf export)

on top of it, some points that are slightly more "points of view":

- more and more people are using the development version since it's simply better. the team itself encourages to use it for production (personally, i prefer if people first start with the stable one and only switch if they know that they need something better).
- there are parts that should not be touched (footnotes...) but, in general, the  development version is rather solid. undo with care.
- there should be a bigger "breakage" soon with the work on the UI... but knowing how the scribus development works, it does not hurry and -- finally -- it will probably be rather smooth.

all in all, if in doubt, use the stable version.
if you think that you know what you're doing, you're welcome to use the development version. you're not alone and you'll get support for it!
« Last Edit: November 14, 2017, 05:48:31 pm by a.l.e »

GarryP

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Ah, so if "the developers do apply fixes to the stable branch" as you say, where can users get hold of a bug-fixed version?
I've checked the official downloads page on SourceForge - via links from the official scribus.net website - and the latest modification date for the Windows and Mac versions of the 1.4.6 installers is 3rd Jan 2016.
If that date is correct - and I've no reason to think that it's not - then it doesn't look like anything has changed since then. Am I wrong?
Personally I would very much like to be using a bug-fixed version so I'm looking forward to finding out how I can get one.

Secondly, if, as you say "the team itself encourages to use <1.5.x> for production" but "there are parts that should not be touched", how would a user know which functions should not be used? Are these functions marked as experimental? Is there any documentation telling people what should not be used? In other words: If people are being encouraged to use software that has some functions that don't work properly, how do they know which things don't work? Are they just expected to find that out for themselves when things go horribly wrong? If, for example, again as you say, "undo with care" means that even the undo function doesn't work properly, what does that say about the stability of the software and its usability for the average user who is being encouraged to use it? I'm curious as to what the official stance on this situation is.

dezcat: Apologies for hijacking your topic but I think these are important questions, especially considering the problems you've been having recently.

a.l.e

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so, i have now split the topic : - )

garry, your remarks are very pertinent and correct.

but -- when talking about the usage of development versions -- i've stopped years ago to write in public something too much different from what the team currently suggests.
(and from what users are actually doing)

i'm all for releasing oft and avoid such ridiculous long development cycles, but i cannot change the way it works.

and i'm not an official voice of the scribus project, just a verbose (and mostly informed) one...

and, sadly, i have no solution for your questions.

all i can say is that there are many people currently using (and teaching to use) scribus 1.5.3 and they are mostly happy with it.

GarryP

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Thanks for splitting the topic.

My comments and questions on this topic come from frustration more than anything else.

I realise that you're not an official voice of the project but since the developers don't get into any kind of discussions here and they rarely give any information about what's happening I thought I would try and elicit whatever info' I could from whoever was listening. (I know that the mailing list is used more by the developers but it hurts my brain to look at it and it's not a good place to get a decent overview of the project.)

I think we are probably in agreement about which versions people should be using. Your previous post said pretty much what I did, but you seem more okay with people using the developmental versions than I generally am. I don't have a problem with that but the team needs to get some kind of official message out to tell people what sort of thing they can expect from the different versions and who they are aimed at. Once there is an official stance, people will know where they stand and if someone is using the "wrong" version there's something they can be pointed to.

In my opinion there are too many people using the latest version - just because it's got the highest number - without knowing that they are actually using software that could change significantly at any time and contains code that hasn't been properly tested. If people know the risks then I have no problem with them using the software, but the people using the developmental versions are putting themselves into a situation where they could be having more trouble than they might expect.

The situation is how the situation is, but the situation could be made better by the users getting better information.

utnik

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hi garry

as you draw a hard line between the official 'stable' version (at the moment 1.4.6) and 1.5.3, but none between this (officially released) 1.5.3 and some nightly builds for 1.5.4, you might be one of the inofficial pushers for the nightlies.

for me, the line between 1.5.3 and 1.5.4 is the much more essential one in terms of stability and safety.

there is a lot of good new stuff in 1.5.x, and 1.5.3 is pretty much stable, even if it may not be the best choice for every scribus beginner…

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a.l.e

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the best you can read from the developers on the status of 1.5.3: https://wiki.scribus.net/canvas/1.5.3_Release
the release notes.

concerning who is using 1.5.3: most of the people using it do so because 1.5.3 feels better than 1.4.6, even with the few very prominent awkwardness that you will notice as soon as you open it.
not because it has a higher number.

the most important (and visible and very simple) one: the dockable proprieties palette.

personally, there is one rule of thumbs i follow (and suggest other to follow): create a demo document (or small project) to test every new feature before using it in a "real" project.
if you do so, you probably won't get any (or very few) surprises.

and be ready to write bug reports when you hit one: if they are "important" they will be solved rather quickly (mostly a matter of hours).
(of course, i'm talking about bugs in part of the code that are supposed to work correctly, not the bugs in still experimental parts of code)

the boat has sailed, 1.5.3 is stable enough to be used and people are using it.
we had a very similar situation in the 1.3.x branch, long before 1.4 was released... and it's at that time that i've stopped insisting when people want to use the development version during the very long stabilization phase.

and yes, as utnik writes, if somebody goes for the development version, she should keep it update to the latest available code / release... (and keep a backup of the binaries that she knows work for her).

of course, you don't have to make the switch yourself!
but it might be healthier for yourself to often refrain from telling others not to do it...
(in my case it was even "harder", since i did make the swtich, but i was telling other people not to do it : - )

dezcat

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Quote
the boat has sailed, 1.5.3 is stable enough to be used and people are using it.
we had a very similar situation in the 1.3.x branch, long before 1.4 was released... and it's at that time that i've stopped insisting when people want to use the development version during the very long stabilization phase.

With respect, I'd say that 1.5.3 is stable-ish. I wouldn't consider it production-ready. There are very compelling reasons to use it, including being able to drag images into a Scribus document from a folder in the file system. That is a must-have.

But the extreme slowness I experienced in moving and adjusting images, inability to move along a constrained axis...those are deal-breakers because they slow the software and workflow to the point of unusability.

Imagine taking the best part of 30 minutes to position an image and hoping you don't have to move it later.

I feel that the Scribus developers are working on something outstanding in 1.5.3 and when it's stable, I'll be there.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2017, 06:35:27 am by dezcat »
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CGood

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"Imagine taking the best part of 30 minutes to position an image"

Something sounds very off there. Have you tried selecting the image and using the arrow keys to move it? If you want to move the image further or faster, hold down the control or shift and then tap the arrow keys. The result should be controlled movement in the direction of the arrow key.

dezcat

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I don't recall whether I tried that or not, but based on the suggestions of others here, I took my projects to 1.4.6 and I'm a pretty happy dude.

I have often used in-development versions, daily builds in the past but this one just doesn't work for my purposes just yet.
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