Notes related to Scribus on upgrading to OS X 10.9 (Mavericks)

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As I've just recently upgraded to Mavericks I thought I'd share some tips for Scribus users thinking about doing the same.


MAKE A BACKUP - I can't emphasise this enough. It's just common sense.


Straight after you upgrade I'd recommend not running any applications for the first hour or two or so after logging on.

This is because Spotlight needs to update its database, so it creates loads of little tasks - mds, mdworker, mds_stores, etc. - that churn through all the files on your connected drives and take up a load of CPU. (It's not unusual for mdworker to take 60-75% of a CPU.)

So just leave it a while so you don't get frustrated with applications working slower than normal. This isn't Scribus-specific but it's worth knowing about.


Mavericks wipes any X11 installation you may have and GhostScript uses X11.

So if you're using GhostScript - and you probably are even if you don't know it - you'll have to (re)install XQuartz from here:

Apple no longer provide X11, that's why you need XQuartz (which was usually more up-to-date than the Apple version anyway).

Don't worry if you don't know what X11/XQuartz is, the installation is painless and you'll need it for things like Inkscape too.

Note: When you first run Inkscape it might ask you where X11 is; XQuartz will be installed by default in the Utilities folder in Applications.


Mavericks installs new versions of many font variants (Arial, Georgia, Palatino, Times New Roman, etc.). If you open FontBook you'll probably see many little yellow alert symbols. I'd recommend disabling the older versions - the new ones are dated 1st Dec 2013.

To disable a font variant click on the little arrow head next to the font name to "open" it, then click on one of the variants with an alert symbol and press the "Manually Resolve..." button on the bottom right. Select both versions in turn to find the newest one and - while selecting the newest one - press the "Resolve This Duplicate" button.

Resolved fonts aren't deleted, they're just disabled (unless you've set the Preferences to move them to the Trash). What you do with your disabled fonts is up to you.

When you first start Scribus it'll need to rebuild your font list so if you've got a lot of fonts prepare to be patient.

Note: Both GIMP and Inkscape need to do this too, so you might want to start them when you're not in a hurry.

Also, check your fonts are all still in your Font Book. I've noticed that a few of mine have gone missing and I can't figure out why. It could be something I did wrong but it's worth checking your most important ones before you need them. (You did make a backup didn't you?)


I know this isn't directly connected with Scribus but if you use OpenOffice - for instance, to edit your text before inserting into Scribus - you'll probably need to re-install Java as the upgrade removes it (or makes it unavailable in some way).

You can download it from many places but I'd recommend running OpenOffice, then selecting to use a Text Document. This will pop up a window saying that you need Java SE 6 Runtime and asks if you want to install it. Select Install and you'll be up-and-running again. (The install comes from Apple.)

If you try and get the latest version from you'll probably end up installing Java 7 which may not be compatible, or a 64-bit version which OpenOffice can't use (apparently). Either way you'll have to manually tell OpenOffice where your JRE (Java Runtime Environment) is so it's much easier to let OpenOffice install the version it wants and configure itself appropriately.


If you have any other Scribus-related tips on upgrading to Mavericks please feel free to post them here so everyone else can benefit from your experiences.

(In order to stop people getting confused, please don't post questions or problems to this topic. Only use it to post tips and constructive help. Thanks.)


Hey Gary,
Good advice, mate. I really am thankful for the heads up! I know that Mavericks recently came out with a minor version update, which makes me feel more poised to upgrade from 10.8.5.

Does LibreOffice require Java as well?


You're welcome Kunda.

I upgraded from 10.6.8 so I might have had more changes to cope with than people - like yourself - upgrading from a later version, but forewarned is forearmed.

LibreOffice is written in C++, Python and Java so I'm guessing you'll need the JRE too.

You'll find out when you upgrade, just be ready for the extra install if needed. (The OpenOffice Java installation was very easy - it does everything for you; I'd expect LibreOffice to be the same.)


Two extra items on this issue.


If you're using MacPorts - for GhostScript or ImageMagick, for example - then you'll need to upgrade to the OSX 10.9 version of MacPorts.

If you don't upgrade then neither the "upgrade" or "selfupdate" actions will work when you want to update your MacPorts software. (I'm sure some of the other actions will be similarly affected but I haven't done a proper check.)

The package installer is a very easy way to upgrade MacPorts and hardly takes any time.

See this page for more info but see the next item first.


The other related issue - as mentioned in the link above - is that MacPorts needs XCode installed and if you upgrade OS X to 10.9 you'll need to upgrade XCode to the latest version - currently 5 - too before you can update your MacPorts software. This is even if you don't use XCode for coding etc.

Upgrading is easy via the AppStore but be aware that XCode 5 is over 2GB so be sure to leave enough time to download it.

So, one possible order of installations/upgrades might be:
* OS X 10.9
* XCode
* MacPorts
* XQuartz
* Java

I hope this helps.



If, like me, you've only got 2GB of RAM I'd seriously recommend upgrading to 4GB or more if you can. I've noticed my system has been generally slower since the upgrade and memory paging is taking up a lot more system time.

This tip isn't directly related to Scribus but it's important if you're working on large documents.


Last week I upgraded from Mac OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) to Mac OS X 10.9.2 (Mavericks).

After 1 hour and 30 minutes I was up and running again. The installation process sorted out some applications and put them into a separate folder (Glimmerblocker, Flip4Mac, DoubleCommand, Onyx, FLASH, Growl, RIP software for my large format printer, BetterTouchTool, TimeMachineEditor). I downloaded updates for these apps and everything was perfect.

I didn't touch Scribus at all. The system informed me that I might download and install a new JAVA version, that was it. Starting Scribus, the system informed me that there is no GhostScript installed, so I downloaded and installed GhostScript, started Scribus again and Bingo! even Scribus was running smooth as silk.

Mavericks comes with a smaller footprint in memory and has a far better memory management than Snow Leopard on my late 2008 Dual Core 3.06 GHz 24" iMac with 6 GB RAM.

Maybe this trick is useful if you want to access the user library: in Mavericks, the Library is hidden. Go to the top menu, select GO and press the option/alt key, and the panel will show you the library folder. You will notice that pressing the option/alt key in many menus will reveal a bunch of options you normally would not be able to access.

In the meantime I've installed the German Thesaurus, and Dictionary in Mavericks works like a charm. Dictate (Speech to text) in English and German is fantastic after I had installed the additional files for offline dictation.