What is the level of commitment of the developers?

Previous topic - Next topic


Hi all (or anyone),

I was an art director and designer for many years but have been out of the field for about the last seven years. I used Adobe products back then and was pretty proficient in the Big Three (illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign).

I'm looking to do some work now, and am somewhat horrified to discover Adobe's current pricing/distribution model. $600.00 a year seems high for software that you don't actually "own". I prefer not to rely on "cloud server" software as well...makes me nervous. But there is not much other commercial software that competes with InDesign at a reasonable price.

So I'm trying to assess alternatives. I came across Scribus and am really impressed. I'm running 1.4.6 on my 2009 MacBook Pro and it's pretty fast and very feature rich. I'm still exploring, but I expect the curve to be fairly low with a few questions that I could get resolved in forum's like this.

But I'm concerned about the commitment of the Developers and the support levels in forums/tutorials/ books.

There is almost no information on the Scribus website (not even contact info despite the developers claims on the contact page [unless I'm missing something]). It seems updated information is pretty rare.

There appears to be only ONE decent book out there: Beginning Scribus 1st ed. Edition by Robert White. Has anyone used it on this forum? Is it worth having?

And the level of activity in these forums seems pretty low. The forums are not even IN the menus at scribus.net

So my concern is this: I don't want to invest time, and create a library of files, in open source software that is likely to disappear due to lack of interest and user base.

Scribus seems REALLY NICE. I looked at 1.53 and it seems pretty similar to 1.4.6 and very stable itself.

I read some talk about the promise of 1.6 (although the release dates might be far off)

I greatly admire the desire to create free open source software——it's an amazing way to develop tools, and the generosity of developers is often off the charts. But I always have a nagging suspicion that they can lose motivation and leave a bunch of users scratching their heads and starting their searches again.

Before I commit to learning Scribus, I wonder if there is any way to allay the fear of wasting time and creating files which will be impossible to work on a few years down the road.

How committed are the developers to seeing Scribus continue?...


Since Scribus is Open Source, it means that any developer can really take over.

So asking about the current developers might not tell you anything about the future. Even if they are currently committed, things may happen (family issues, work issues, illness etc) that will change all this.

But the advantade with Open Source is that it uses Open file formats. The file formats are documented (sometimes only in the source code though), which means that even if the program is abandoned it will be easy to write converters (and most likely people will).

So by using Open Source you do not face the problems as with proprietary software that can be abandoned by the developing company. With Open Source the program will usually live on as long as there are users.


Welcome to the forum aceadman.

I agree that the official Scribus website is poorly maintained and doesn't offer much information. You can find a discussion about it here: http://forums.scribus.net/index.php/topic,2282.0.html (I really don't have the patience to get involved in that anymore.)

I can't comment on the book you've found but it is more up-to-date than the other ones: https://wiki.scribus.net/canvas/Books

The level of activity on this forum is fairly sporadic. Every now and again there is a small flurry of posts but it usually just plods along with a few questions each week. There are other forums (some in languages other than English) so a bit of web searching might take you somewhere more active. I don't use any of the other Scribus forums so I can't comment on what happens elsewhere.

I can't see Scribus "disappearing" any time soon. Even if all the developers down-tools and walk away tomorrow, the software is still usable and will remain so forever (or at least while the available operating systems continue to run it). The current stable version - 1.4.6 - hasn't had any updates for nearly two years and a lot of people, including myself, are still using it. (Current SourceForge info' says around 10,000 downloads a week and that doesn't include stats from Linux software managers etc.)

Even if someone is really mean and removes all the official repositories and the backups - if that's even possible - there will always be someone with the source code on their own machine that can be shared and rebuilt by anyone with the necessary tools and skills. Open source software doesn't die, it just gets left behind by some people.

Once you have the software, and it does what you need it to do, then you shouldn't have any problems making a library of files that can be used for future work.

P.S. I know of one other DTP application that will probably be very interesting when it comes out but it's not due for release in beta until some unspecified time in 2018 (maybe).


hi aceadman

you got a couple of very good answers already.

one more thing: the pool of scribus developers is currently a bit small, but some of them are very dedicated.

in the team there are at least two programmers who (for parts of the year) are often pushing one commit a day.
and this commitment has been there for many years now.

scribus could for sure need more active developers, but the ones who are around are very committed!



Thanks people for the responses so far.

I think my biggest thought is: This software seems great, and is worthy competition for the big page layout programs. I'm surprised that there isn't more BUZZ about it. I would think that with a little more work, it could make a real run for the segment.

I'd like to see that.

Large companies can afford to pay Adobe absurd amounts for software that gets dumb cosmetic tweaks from time to time just intended to slow down older CPUs, but small designers are always strapped for cash.

I'd think that by now, Scribus would be more of a "player".

Maybe the 1.6 will take it over the top.

I'm digging in and hoping for the best.

Wish me luck!

And thanks again..