A Warning to Macintosh Scribus Users

This post will probably read like total gibberish to most of this blog’s regular readers, if such a thing as a regular reader exists. If, however, you do desktop publishing work using an open-source DTP program called Scribus, and you use this program on a Macintosh, then this post is meant for you.

The Scribus Logo (from Wikipedia)Most of the time since May, the Aqua version of Scribus available front-and-center on the project’s web site has been the 1.3.4 development version. Technically, that’s a pre-release that includes features not yet in the stable release. I’ve been using Scribus 1.3.4 for a while, and it does what I need it to do. On January 8, the Scribus developers released an updated stable version,, and the Macintosh port of the program readily available through the Scribus web site is now the stable version rather than the 1.3.4 development version that previously occupied its place. Note the numbering system in use here: Scribus 1.3.4 still comes after; this new stable version is a bugfix release in the 1.3.3 line and as such has not yet incorporated changes made in development versions 1.3.4 and later.

As a result, version 1.3.4, despite being available for the Mac earlier than the stable version Mac users can now download, contains some newer features not available in the “new” version Among the 1.3.4 features is lacking are updates done to the Scribus .sla file format. Because of that, Scribus version 1.3.3.x cannot open files created by Scribus version 1.3.4. I just discovered this while doing some tinkering with a non-profit organization newsletter I make using Scribus.

Fortunately, if you install Scribus on your Macintosh, and you already have Scribus 1.3.4 installed on your computer, the install will not automatically overwrite the copy of Scribus you already have. Version installs with the name “Scribus133,” while version 1.3.4 installs with the name “Scribus,” so no overwrite occurs. Fortunately for me, I hadn’t trashed my old copy, so I still have version 1.3.4 hanging around to open my newsletter file.

If you have, unfortunately, overwritten or thrown out your copy of Scribus 1.3.4 for the Macintosh, you can still download it here.

So, my warning to you is that if you’ve decided to install Scribus and you already have Scribus 1.3.4, don’t change the name of your install file to overwrite your current copy, nor should you otherwise trash the release you already have. If you’ve created a file in Scribus 1.3.4 already, the “new” Scribus release presently available through the Mac OS X download link on the Scribus website can’t read it.

I’m assuming this will all get worked out once a new stable version of Scribus beyond version 1.3 is released that incorporates the changes made in development versions like 1.3.4 and 1.3.5. Until then, don’t pitch your copy of 1.3.4. You’ll need it to open the files you made using it.


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8 Responses to “A Warning to Macintosh Scribus Users”

  1. Assissotom Says:

    Hi! Guys how you manage to make such perfect sites? Good fellows!

  2. Nightsky Says:

    Power Boook G4, ver 5.8, OS X 10.4.11:

    Having a terrible time trying to install Scirbus Aqua , I have tried ver then found your blog and tried 1.3.4. I am a novice software installer and trying to follow instructions that are not very instructional and vary widely is daunting.
    I have unpacked Scibus Aqua 1.3.4 from Darwin’s CLI and moved the Scribus icon into Applicatons but clicking the the Icon does not open the application. If you installed Scribus Aqua 1.3.4 successfully please post how you did it. Thank you

  3. Larry Says:

    You need to also install Python and Ghostscript (separate downloads) – I think they removed bit that from the easy setup instructions on the web, might be in the readme. Once those are unpacked they go into your hard drives’ (not the user folder’s) Libraries/Frameworks folder.

    When you first run Scribus (which will now start thanks to Python) you need to point it to the ghostscript framework binary (scribus->preferences->external Tools->Postscript Interpreter).

    Quit and restart scribus and you are all set. If you have Font issues run FontBook (in applications) and verify the fonts are validated.

  4. Wayne Says:

    I have installed Ghostscript and Scribus and have pointed the Postscript Interpreter to the Ghostscript location and I still get “Program Missing: Ghostscript” when I launch Scribus.

    I have tried:








    and none of them works.

    I’ve arrived at those paths by browsing, not by typing, so I know they’re correct.

    Anybody have any ideas?



  5. ianheath653 Says:

    I’ve always gotten a similar error message about Ghostscript being missing every time I’ve ever launched Scribus as well. However, I’ve always just clicked the OK button on the error dialog window, and the message goes away and has never stopped anything from working properly afterward. I’m running Scribus 1.3.4, which is technically a beta version, so I’ve always figured that maybe the error message at the start is just a bug.

  6. Wal Says:

    I have downloaded the four packages – Ghostscipt-8.50 etc, gpl-ghostscript-857B etc, python24 etc and SribusAqua-etc. I have unarchived the four programs, and sitting on my desktop are three folders and the Scibus application. What do I do next? How do I get the folders for Ghostcript and Python into the harddrive, so that Scribus will open?

    Complete novice at open source programs.

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