Scribus Forums

Scribus => Beginner Talk => Topic started by: johm75 on June 21, 2016, 07:14:24 pm

Title: computers straining to run Scribus
Post by: johm75 on June 21, 2016, 07:14:24 pm
I am trying to create a family history. My first attempt was in 2012 and I originally wrote it up in LibreOffice but found it got very confused when trying to include too many pictures. It kept sliding them over each other.

After trying some other DTP programs I found Scribus, and used that to input my original document and added the various documents (birth, death and marriage certificates as well as some census docs. It was taking forever to load and save but I got it almost all in but was unable to print it off. I finally went back to LibreOffice, output it as PDF and was able to print the complete book, all 112 pages.

Recently I needed to make changes, adding further information etc. I downloaded Scribus 1.4.6 and tried to input my original document (.sla format) The program ran for ages, probably 10-15 minutes before crashing. Even starting the program by opening a short extract is failing.

My computers (I've tried several both Linux and Windows) are not state of the art but have 64 bit processors, 2.0-2.8 Ghz and 3 gb of memory. All struggle. How powerful does it have to be?

My main machine is: AMD Athlon X2 dual core BE-2350 2.10ghz with 3 gb of memory. It has 64 bit Windows 7 Home Premium. Nvidia GeForce 9500 GT with 2303 mb available ram with 1024 dedicated and 1279 shared. DirectX 10. Display adapter driver version :

Basically my problem appears to be the file involved is too big for Scribus or LibreOffice to handle and Scribus itself takes forever to load with any sort of a file. IT would appear that my only route is a complete rewrite in small chunks and try to join them up after printing which is not a pleasant prospect.

Any ideas , Please?
Title: Re: computers straining to run Scribus
Post by: GarryP on June 22, 2016, 11:47:50 am
johm75, Scribus is what you could call an "everything in memory" application. This means that everything in a document - text, images, vectors, etc. - has to be loaded into memory all at once.

If the document - and everything in it - is larger than the available RAM then Scribus will crash. This isn't just an issue with Scribus, most applications are written this way as it's just plain easier to do so. (Swapping stuff in and out of memory at appropriate times is a difficult thing to control.)

Remember that the amount of RAM that you have isn't the amount of RAM available to Scribus. Your OS will take up a sizeable chunk of RAM to begin with and any other application - browser, antivirus, etc. - that is running will also use up memory. (Firefox, for example, can quite happily take up over half a GB if you've done a lot of browsing.)

Also, different OSes have different memory overheads so something that works fine - maybe just coming "under the wire" - on Linux might not work on Windows.

One thing you can do is to restart your computer, then run Scribus without running anything else (obviously keep your security/antivirus stuff running too). Then go to whatever performance/task monitor you have on whichever OS you're using and see how much memory you have spare. This will tell you the absolute maximum size of any file you might be able to use in Scribus. (You can probably only use files quite a bit smaller than this because of other considerations that I'll not go into.)

Then - and this might be tricky unless you've got all of your images in the same folder - find out the size of all of the images you're using in your document. If they're all in the same place then you might just be able to get the size of the folder. Add up the sizes of all of the images and see what that total size is. If this total is larger than the available memory on your system then you can be pretty sure that the document won't load.

If this is the case then, unfortunately, you can't use the document as it is. One stop-gap solution would be to move the images to a different folder which would destroy the links to the images. Then you can open the document and Scribus won't be able to load the images, thus keeping the size of the in-memory document down. Then you can, one by one, check each image and see if it can be cropped or compressed - using something like GIMP - then putting them back into the image frames while checking the available memory. (You can use GIMP to remove unnecessary alpha channels from PNGs too; they take up a lot of space.)

It's not a great solution but it should help you get back on track with a single-document solution.

The other way, as you say, is to create the document in parts/chapters and then stitch the exported PDFs together later. There are lots of applications that will do this; just type "stitch PDF" into a search engine, but beware of the free online services as they might not be nice about what they do with stuff you put through their system (e.g. they might take copyright).

I hope some of this helps.
Title: Re: computers straining to run Scribus
Post by: johm75 on June 25, 2016, 08:58:35 pm
GarryP, Thanks for the ideas. I'll try to plot it out tomorrow.

The raw file I'm working with is 846,632KB which I believe equates with approx 850mb. However I'll need to add a fair bit more to this.

But, if your ideas work, I might be able to chop the original up into small bits before adding my new information.

Either way, it's not going to be easy and I can't afford to stuff in more memory, apart from the point that it's difficult to get the ones I use (yesterday's model!)

I'll report back ASAP.

Title: Re: computers straining to run Scribus
Post by: johm75 on June 29, 2016, 06:57:06 pm
Using the 3gb AMD win7, I have about 2gb of free memory after loading Scribus. When I attempt to open the file (approx 850mb in size, it uses up memory gradually leaving about 180 mb free.
At this point it says it's loading but nothing happens.

The 4gb machine (semperon, win7) shows just over 1 gb of free memory but the whole machine freezes.

Looks like I may have to restart with small, sliced files!

Am now looking at two ideas, after chatting to a local geek:

1 -  we are going to check my AMD m/c to see if it could be supercharged to cope (add memory, play with settings etc.)

2 -  if that doesn't float, build a new m/c with more umph.

Wish me luck


p.s.  After posting the about, I was looking around and noticed the problem 'combining folders' which you have responded to.

I hadn't realised that Scribus only used a link to pictures etc. I've copied all my stuff over onto a USB stick for convenience so the file I'm working with presumably has lost the 'link' to the pictures. This means the file is actually smaller than the data would indicate and if I do manage to load the complete file, I'll have to relink all the illustrations.
Title: Re: computers straining to run Scribus
Post by: GarryP on June 30, 2016, 12:36:40 pm
If you're only left with about 180MB free then that's probably not enough to have a working system once you start editing etc. And loading any other software might cause trouble too.

1GB free is a decent amount but I couldn't comment on what Scribus would do once that memory was used up by, for example, the undo stack, etc. I've no idea how Scribus is coded to cope with memory issues, especially when it gets to the top end.

Unfortunately I don't know why either system is freezing. In my experience the memory management of Scribus isn't all that it could be. On my old system which was resource-starved I regularly had to close Scribus and re-open it because it kept slowing the down by using more and more memory without anything much being added. (I think a heap/stack or something might not be getting cleared down properly. Garbage collection is usually a low priority with most software, not just Scribus.)

If I was in your situation then I'd probably go down the "split it up" route. Not a great solution but you'll probably have fewer problems.

It's correct that a Scribus document doesn't - except in some circumstances that are allowable but not recommended - contain the actual images but links to them. This means that the size of the file doesn't include the size of the images used in it. The 850MB of your document contains the text and vectors - and a whole load of XML which tells Scribus what goes where - but not the images.

One thing I forgot to mention was that Scribus, by default, doesn't always display images at full resolution. Anything higher than 144dpi(?) is de-rezed to a lower resolution to make it quicker to display it. (This is just for display purposes and doesn't affect exporting.) I don't know how Scribus does this but I assume that it keeps an extra low-res version instead of de-rezing on-the-fly. If this is so, it would mean that every image that is higher than 144dpi(?) will have two copies in memory, the original and a low-res copy. This could add further to any memory issues.

It's not really recommended that you keep images on removable storage. Too many problems with links getting severed. However, what you might like to think about is using the Portable Apps version of Scribus instead. Going down that route you'd have Scribus and all your resources on your USB drive together so you can move between machines more easily. It's worth a thought.

Anyway, good luck with trying to optimise your system.
Title: Re: computers straining to run Scribus
Post by: raz123 on April 05, 2017, 08:06:51 pm
Any ideas , Please?

1. Install LXLE[1] on a USB disk.
2. Boot from the USB onto a Live session.
3. Install Scribus.
4. Open your document.

[1] Or your preferred lightweight Linux distribution, really.
Title: Re: computers straining to run Scribus
Post by: utnik on April 05, 2017, 08:32:05 pm
hi ratzt

this thread is a little less than a year old!
of course, john wrote that it took ages to load the file, but i think, it's done by now…