Getting Scribus on Ubuntu/Kubuntu up and running

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This article is outdated. Please update the information to reflect the current status or knowledge. We will deprecate/delete in the future.

Note: the main document maintained by the Debian/Ubuntu packager and other people is located here.

BIG FAT WARNING: Scribus users on any version of Kubuntu from Dapper Drake on may experience difficulties while changing values in real number spinboxes. This is a long standing bug which has been reported to both Ubuntu and Scribus bug tracker. As long as there is no real solution, you can use of the workarounds mentioned in Ubuntu Bug Tracker, preferably remove the package scim_qtimm.

Please refer also to this metabug for other *buntu issues that may diminish its suitability as a good platform for Scribus and DTP

Adding repositories with Scribus related packages

Repositories are provided for the majority of Debian and Ubuntu based systems. If you are uncertain which distribution you are running the file /etc/lsb-release will probably contain that information.

Vendor Distribution Available sets
Ubuntu maverick main
Ubuntu lucid main
Ubuntu karmic main
# - Primary repository
deb yourdistribution main
deb-src yourdistribution main
# - Backup repository
deb yourdistribution main
deb-src yourdistribution main

Example for the current release of Ubuntu

If you are using the latest release of Ubuntu, your /etc/lsb-release should look similar to this:


Based on this information, using the primary site, the repositories you would add are:

 deb maverick main
 deb-src maverick main

Kubuntu Graphical Example

An example of adding both repositories successfully to a system running breezy with Adept Manager.

  • Go to KDE menu/System/Adept (Package Manager)
    Ubuntu: System/Administration/Synaptic (Package Manager)
  • In Adept go to Adept/Manage Repositories
    Ubuntu: in Synaptic go to Settings/Repositories/New
  • Add the following repositories one by one using the Add field and click on Apply:
    Ubuntu: Fill the fields and use the OK button to add the following repositories:

Adding scribus repositories.png

Adding the repository key

Our repositories are cryptographically signed for added security. Add the gpg-keys for our repositories to avoid having to confirm your installation choice to the package manager each time you update a scribus or scribus-ng package.

On recent systems

As root:

# apt-key adv --recv-keys --keyserver EEF818CF

As a regular user:

$ sudo apt-key adv --recv-keys --keyserver EEF818CF

On older systems

As root:

# gpg --keyserver --recv-keys EEF818CF
# gpg --armor --export EEF818CF | apt-key add -

As a regular user:

$ gpg --keyserver --recv-keys EEF818CF
$ gpg --armor --export EEF818CF | sudo apt-key add -

Installing Scribus and related packages

Launch Adept (on Kubuntu) or Synaptic (on Ubuntu) and install the following packages:

  • scribus – Scribus 1.3.3.x (stable branch) or
  • scribus-ng – Scribus 1.3.x (development branch) scribus-ng package can be installed paralelly to the scribus package. Only available for lucid/maverick.
  • scribus-template – developer and user-contributed additional templates
  • scribus-doc – Scribus 1.3.3.x documentation, which has to be provided as a separate package due to its non-free nature by the Debian Free Software Guidelines
  • scribus-ng-doc – Scribus 1.3.x documentation, which has to be provided as a separate package due to its non-free nature by the Debian Free Software Guidelines
  • icc-profiles – a collection of common ICC profiles to use with Scribus and other color profile-aware software
  • lprof – hardware color profiler that can be used to create color profiles for your hardware to be used with Scribus
  • qt3-qtconfig – Ubuntu users are strongly advised to install this package for finetuning the Scribus GUI with their Gnome desktop
  • gs-afpl – The AFPL Ghostscript PostScript interpreter, the Ghostscript version recommended by the Scribus team

Optionally, install the following high quality font packages:

  • t1-xfree86-nonfree
  • ttf-bitstream-vera
  • ttf-gentium
  • ttf-xfree86-nonfree

Fine tuning Scribus

Default GUI font (Ubuntu users only)

  • Launch gtconfig: ALT + F2 / enter "qtconfig" / hit Enter
  • Go to Fonts tab and choose the font family and size to match your Gnome settings


External tools and additional fonts

  • Launch Scribus and go to File/Preferences/External Tools
  • PostScript Interperter: enter gs-afpl
  • Image Processing Tool: gimp-remote
  • Go to Fonts subsection and add/disable/enable additional fonts

External tools.png


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