Getting Scribus on Ubuntu/Kubuntu up and running

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Scribus on Debian GNU/Linux and derivatives

The main page is now located at This page must be kept as strict xhtml 1.0 and any modifications should be followed by a notification to, so the main page could be updated.

"Debian" name here encompasses Debian proper (unstable/testing/stable also known as sid/etch/sarge) and at least Ubuntu breezy/hoary. Instructions on rebuilding the source package may be applicable to other Debian derivatives and custom distributions.


Currently there are following Scribus-related packages in Debian: Scribus (Scribus 1.2.x), scribus-template (Developer and user-contributed additional templates), scribus-doc (Scribus documentation, which has to be provided as a separate package due to is 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), and LPROF (Hardware color profiler that can be used to create color profiles for your hardware to be used with Scribus).

Scribus team also maintains an unofficial (outside of Debian proper) repository that contains some of the packages mentioned above with the most notable difference being a scribus-cvs package (Scribus 1.3.x developmental series). scribus-cvs package can be installed in parallel with the scribus package. There are a couple reasons for the existence of this upstream repository.

First, Debian development puts a limit on how often a new scribus package can be updated. It could take weeks between consecutive uploads. Because of that the official packages are usually behind those available in our upstream archives. Packages in our upstream repositories usually follow scribus development fairly closely via cvs snapshot builds. For instance, if you discovered a but you are advised to install the most recent package as the bug might have already been fixed and a fixed package is available. This is called "the Scribus magic (TM)".

Second, Debian has strict Quality Assurance for packages with its requirements embodied in the extensive and thorough Debian Policy. As Scribus libraries may not yet be installed in arbitrary locations due to code limitations scribus-cvs package has it libraries in the /usr/local/lib hierarchy. This is a violation of DP and as such 1.3.x series scribus-cvs has to be confined to our upstream repository until it is ready to replace the venerable Scribus 1.2.x series.

Debian setup for Scribus repositories

About the repositories

We actually maintain two identical repositories to provide bandwidth redundancy and failover capability to our distribution of Debian scribus packages. These repositories contain x86 packages for Debian stable,testing and unstable and Ubuntu hoary and breezy branches. If you are using a different Debian-based distribution or your hardware is not x86-based such as PowerPC or AMD64 you can easily build a Scribus package from our source package, so do not consider it as a strong obstacle to using these packages.

Repository usage

To use our repositories add the appropriate source lines from the following list to your /etc/apt/sources.list file. Note that the lines starting with "deb" are used for installation of the pre-compiled binary packages and the line starting with "deb-src" are for the source package for building a binary package for your distribution (if it has a different set of libraries), hardware (if it's not x86) or compiler optimizations (if you really know you want them).

Source lines for /etc/apt/sources.list or for Synaptic et al

Debian stable (Sarge):

# - Primary repository
deb stable main non-free contrib
deb-src stable main non-free contrib
# - Backup repository
deb stable main non-free contrib
deb-src stable main non-free contrib

Debian testing (Etch):

# - Primary repository<
deb testing main non-free contrib
deb-src unstable main non-free contrib
# - Backup repository
deb testing main non-free contrib
deb-src unstable main non-free contrib

Debian unstable (Sid):

# - Primary repository
deb unstable main non-free contrib
deb-src unstable main non-free contrib
# - Backup repository
deb unstable main non-free contrib
deb-src unstable main non-free contrib

Ubuntu Hoary:

# - Primary repository
deb hoary main restricted
deb-src hoary main restricted
# - Backup repository
deb hoary main restricted
deb-src hoary main restricted

Ubuntu Breezy:

Note that Ubuntu breezy package can be also used for Ubuntu "Dapper" branch right now. When Dapper changes enough to require its own scribus or scribus-cvs package we will provide it.

# - Primary repository
deb breezy main restricted
deb-src breezy main restricted
# - Backup repository
deb breezy main restricted
deb-src breezy main restricted

Using cryptographic repository signatures:

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-cvs package.

root$ gpg --keyserver --recv-keys DA286F326C5F196B
root$ gpg --armor --export DA286F326C5F196B | apt-key add - 

or as a normal user (with an appropriate entry for apt-key in the sudoers file):

user$ gpg --keyserver --recv-keys DA286F326C5F196B
user$ gpg --armor --export DA286F326C5F196B | sudo apt-key add - 

Final installation step

Once you added the relevant sources lines to your /etc/apt/sources.list you can run

aptitude install scribus scribus-cvs


apt-get install scribus scribus-cvs

in a root terminal or use your favorite graphical apt-get front-end such as synaptic or aptitude. Don't forget to "Reload Package List" in the synaptic. It's the equivalent of "apt-get (or aptitude) update" and has to be done to make new packages from our repositories available to your package management tools.

Bug reporting

Please DO NOT file bug reports about the packages from these upstream repositories into the Debian or Ubuntu BTS (Bug Tracking Systems). Only use the distribution BTS for the package version that is in that distribution. If you have a Scribus issue that is not related to Debian packaging then use the scribus BTS at for reporting bugs.

You are encouraged to contact the maintainer Oleksandr (Alex) Moskalenko ([1]), if you have package installation questions or related Scribus issues that you believe do not belong in Scribus BTS or for comments and suggestions about this document.

Step-by-step procedure for new Debian GNU/Linux users

You don't have to log on as root, but you have to have superuser privileges to edit the /etc/apt/sources.list file. Fortunately, on a Linux system you can do that with ease. Please open a root terminal or open a regular terminal and become root through a "su" command. You will have to provide root password when prompted. Then, you can launch your favorite text editor from that terminal and edit the sources.list file as outlined in the Scribus on Debian GNU/Linux page. Alternatively, you can do a bit more work upfront to achieve a more permanent access to package manipulation system. If you are familiar with the VI editor you can do the following:

  • Open a root terminal.
  • Type "visudo".
  • Type "o" to open a new line (vi command) and type the following line (assuming your login name is "scribusoid"): scribusoid ALL= NOPASSWD: /usr/sbin/synaptic
  • Press "ESC" to leave the editing mode in Vi and return to the command mode.
  • Type ":wq!" to exit the editor.

Now you are ready to launch the very nice graphical apt-get front-end Synaptic with a "sudo synaptic" command at any time. If you are a new Linux user, Synaptic will help you get started easier than you probably would with command line tools. Once you launch Synaptic select the "Settings/Repositories" menu entry. Click on the "New" button and type or paste in the appropriate source lines. For example for "Debian Sarge":

Distribution: stable
Section(s): main non-free contrib

Don't forget to enable that repository by selecting a checkbox in the leftmost column. Now you can reload repository information by clicking on the "Reload" button in the main Synaptic window. Then you click on the "Search" button and search for "scribus". Once "scribus", "scribus-cvs", "scribus-doc", and "scribus-template" packages are found you can mark them for installation by double-clicking on them or by right-clicking and selecting "Mark for installation".

When you are done, click on the "Apply" button to proceed with installation. After that you should have the packages installed and may begin to use Scribus.

Building from a source package for other Debian-based distributions

Instructions below have been rendered mostly obsolete for the x86 architecture by the new repositories. If you have non-x86 hardware or would like to build an optimized package you can still use these instructions. You can submit packages for other architectures to me and I will place them into the repository. If you have a non-x86 arch or would like to optimize the packages for your CPT you can achive these goals by a very simple package rebuild. Make sure that you have the deb-src lines for scribus repositories uncommented and run the following commands:

The cool way (TM) - as root

or set up sudo for yourself as a user:

apt-get install apt-build

Answer questions about your CPU and stuff - see an excellent document at

apt-build update
apt-build install scribus (or scribus-cvs)

An alternate cool way - as root or see the config setup below:

  • Install "apt-src":
    apt-get install apt-src
  • Install the dependencies, build and install scribus from source:
    apt-src -i install scribus

To streamline this process and build scribus as a user:

Configure apt-src:

Add the following lines to /etc/apt/apt.conf or ~/.apt-src/config file:

APT::Src::RootCommand su -c;

This is especially convenient if you set up the no-password su to root for yourself through pam. Otherwise you'll likely have to type a password.

Without apt-build or apt-src - as root:

apt-get source -b scribus scribus-cvs
apt-get build-dep scribus-cvs (or scribus)

Anoter way - as root:

apt-get install devscripts build-essential fakeroot

Note: This creates a minimal build environment.

apt-get source scribus-cvs (or "scribus" instead of "scribus-cvs")
apt-get build-dep scribus-cvs (or scribus)
cd scribus.... or scribus-cvs...

Use the actual directory names.

debuild -us -uc
cd ..
dpkg -i scribus_.... or scribus-cvs_....

About this document

As of 2006-01-30 this how-to has been originally created for Scribus Wiki page by the following Scribus Wiki users: malex (Oleksandr Moskalenko), mhanski (Maciej Hanski), Zero0w (Wily Yuen), JureCuhalev, Cbradney (Craig Bradney), and Joolsr.