What is this?
Screenshot from Scribus
It's a screenshot of the open source DTP program Scribus on a Mac with the 143rd episode of The Corby Tribe open, as it is being prepared for presentation on my Drunk Duck mirror. The image is a Photoshop file with adjustment layers, and is not rendered correctly. However, it is at least rendered, so that with this image, I could in theory tweak the size until it fits.
I can't blame Scribus for not showing giant multilayered Photoshop images correctly. It's no big deal to flatten the image, turn it into a PNG and try again with a smaller, less complex version of the same file, right?
That brings me to this. Guess what this is:
Another Scribus screenshots, showing a seemingly empty image box
You might answer, "This is the Scribus file from before you placed the image into the box!" and you'd be wrong. This is in fact Scribus after I created a PNG version of the image, and placed it into the box. The preview settings are set to display the image (why anyone would not want to display images in a page layout program is beyond me, but then I'm a mere amateur at this). The PNG is not rendered at all.
"Oh well," you might say. "Didn't you say before that Scribus was a bit buggy and had different issues across different platforms, but that it was better than nothing at a price you can't beat?" And indeed I did! So maybe the bug-of-the-month for Mac users is that it can't render PNGs. But we know it can display Photoshop files, right? Even though it doesn't do layered Photoshop files well? So why don't we create a flat Photoshop file and use that?
Here's the result:
Scribus for mac with a flattened PSD file
Wait, did I just post the same image by mistake? Nope, I went to the trouble of making a whole new screenshot. Dunno why I bothered really.
So how about using a TIFF file? The file format that absolutely did not work two years ago when I tried to do the same work using Scribus for linux?
Hey, this works. So from number 143 on, I have to use TIFF as an intermediate file format
So that's one problem solved. From episode 143 on until I switch OS's again, I'll just use TIF as an intermediate file format. But it's amazing how much Scribus sucks. I mentioned before that it was easier to format text in OpenOffice and import the formatted text into Scribus!Linux!2008
than to format the text in Scribus itself. Last time I used Scribus on a Mac, that strategy did not work at all and resulted in many character rendering errors. Since the text for this episode was actually prepared a year ago, I have not put that to the test, since then, and I dread doing so with the next episode, whenever I go to create that.
Other open source alternatives to expensive commercial programs usually work well for basic functions, and the degree to which they work for advanced functionality depends on how much the development community cares about them. Scribus is unique in turning even basic features such as importing an image into a headache that returns every time you are on a different computer. And yet it has won the Packt Open Source award and is in fact used by professionals who do complex things with it. Unbelievable.