After nearly two years since the last stable release and four years since development began, open source desktop publishing software Scribus has released version 1.4.0. Over 2000 new feature requests and bugs have been resolved in this release since the development started, making it the first major release in several years.
Scribus is designed for flexible layout and typesetting and the ability to prepare files for professional quality image setting equipment. It can also create animated and interactive PDF presentations and forms for newspapers, brochures, newsletters, posters and books. The software is known for its broad set of page layout features, comparable to leading non-free applications such as Adobe PageMaker, PagePlus, QuarkXPress or Adobe InDesign.
Some of the major changes in this version are:
- Scribus 1.4.0 has migrated from Qt3 to Qt4 application framework, as a result of which, it now runs equally reliable on all supported platforms.
- Feature enhancements to object handling (e.g. transform tools like in advanced drawing programs), with improvements to existing features like the Scrapbook and the Image Manager.
- Many advanced options for text and typography, like character styles, optical margins, or glyph extension.
- Undo/Redo is finally available for almost all text-related actions, and a new script enables replacing straight quotes with typographical quotation marks based on language settings. Usability improvements include better cursor placement and movement, faster layout on canvas and interaction between linked frames.
- New features for vector objects, like Boolean path operations, vector effects or a line style editor.
- Major improvements to the handling of fills, like pattern fill, more gradient types, support for external color palette formats (AI, EPS, GPL, PostScript, SOC), and many new color palettes, including those from commercial vendors like Resene and dtp studio, as well as national/government standards.
- A new frame type called "Render Frame" allows for rendering (and subsequently export) the output of every program that can create PostScript, PDF or PNG files via the command line (e.g. LaTeX, Lilypond, POV-Ray) inside Scribus.
- Vector import filters: Scribus 1.4.0 provides new import filters for the following file formats: Adobe Illustrator (both EPS and PDF-based), Macintosh Picture (PICT), Windows Metafile (WMF), Xfig (FIG), Calamus Vector Graphics (CVG), Kivio Stencils (SML), and DIA Shapes (SHAPE).
- Regarding bitmap images, the handling of Photoshop files has seen many major improvements, like support of multiple clipping paths or PSD layers. The Image Manager has been rewritten, and new non-destructive image effects have been added. Moreover, Scribus 1.4.0 now supports EXIF data in images, and import of Windows and OS/2 bitmaps (BMP) has been re-enabled.
- Among the major enhancements to Scribus’s pre-press features, printing marks and the display of ink coverage in the Print Preview are the most important. In addition, Scribus now enables conversion of spot colors to process colors during PDF and PostScript export with a single click.
- PDF export has seen major improvements as well. Scribus can now export to PDF 1.5, including PDF layers. Another new feature is the option to embed EPS and PDF files in exported PDFs as an alternative to rasterizing them. Also, both font embedding and substitution have been improved.
- For color management, Scribus 1.4.0 now supports both littleCMS version 1 and 2. It’s also possible to enable color management with a single click from the main window.
- Additionally, the Scribus Team has added a feature to emulate color blindness on screen.
- Scribus 1.4.0 is being shipped with many more templates than previous versions.
More at Scribus’s website.