Switch branches/tags
Nothing to show
Find file Copy path
Fetching contributors…
Cannot retrieve contributors at this time
238 lines (166 sloc) 7.59 KB

Getting started

This chapter is a quick introduction to getting Scribus to compile, for users who already know how to compile code and want to know the few details that are specific to Scribus.


To get Scribus compiled you'll need a Linux distribution with up to date packages (the latest Ubuntu release, Debiant testin or Sid, ...) or Mac OS X with Home Brew.

Compiling on Windows with Visual Studio is possible, but the are no detailed instruction available.

Currently, you can compile Scribus from the command line or use Qt Creator.

Getting the dependencies


According to the Scribus PPA for ubuntu, you'll need the following packages for compiling Scribus:

  • build-essential
  • cmake (>= 2.4.3),
  • gettext,
  • libboost-python-dev,
  • libcairo2-dev,
  • libcdr-dev,
  • libcups2-dev,
  • libfreehand-dev,
  • libgraphicsmagick++1-dev,
  • libharfbuzz-dev,
  • libhunspell-dev,
  • libhyphen-dev,
  • libicu-dev,
  • liblcms2-dev,
  • libmspub-dev,
  • libopenscenegraph-dev,
  • libpagemaker-dev,
  • libpodofo-dev,
  • libpoppler-cpp-dev
  • libpoppler-dev,
  • libpoppler-private-dev,
  • libqt5opengl5-dev,
  • libqt5webkit5-dev,
  • librevenge-dev,
  • libtiff-dev,
  • libvisio-dev,
  • libwpg-dev,
  • libxml2-dev,
  • python-all,
  • qtbase5-dev,
  • qttools5-dev,
  • qttools5-dev-tools,
  • zlib1g-dev

The names for those packages should be pretty similar in Debian and other Linux distributions.

You can get the latest .dsc by going to the Launchpad website:

  • Go to the "Scribus Team" page on Launchpad:
  • Click on "PPA for Scribus friends" and then click on "View package details"
  • You should get a list of "Source" packages. Click on the latest "scribus-trunk" package
  • A the end of the page you should see a list of "Package files"
  • Click on the link to the .dsc file and you will see a text file

If you have the matching version of Scribus installed through the package management, on Debian and Ubuntu you can do:

sudo apt-get build-dep scribus-trunk


TODO: To be done.

Getting the code

You can get the code from the Scribus own Subversion repository

svn co svn:// scribus

or from the Github mirror

git clone


git clone

Getting the code for development

If you plan to work on the Scribus code, you will probably want to clone your own fork of the scribus repository:

For more details please read Github's forkin manual.

Compiling from the command line

You should compile Scribus out of source and install it inside of your home directory.

We will assume that you have your source code in ~/src/ and your own binaries in ~/bin/ (where ~/ is your home). You will have to adapt the instructions if your paths are different.

We will first do a test run of cmake:

cd ~/src/scribus
mkdir build/
cd build/
cmake ..
cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX:PATH=~/bin/scribus -DWANT_DEBUG=1 -DWANT_GUI_LANG="en_GB;de;fr;it;en" ..

If you get errors, it's very likely that they're due to missing development packages (you need the -dev header files on top of the usual packages).
In the case the packages are installed but the version is too old, you'd better consider retrying with a distribution that provides more up to date packages (Debian Testing and the latest Ubuntu are generally speaking fine).

You can retry until cmake runs successfully. In some cases you will have to delete the build/ directory and restart from scratch.

Once cmake has run successfully, you can now make Scribus.

make -j4

The -j4 tells make to use 4 threads. Use -j2 or no -j at all on older machines.

Before being able to run Scribus, you will need to install it.

make install
cd ~/bin/scribus/bin/

You can create a symlink in /usr/local/bin if you want to be able to run it from the terminal or the launcher.
You will have to use a different name (like scribus-dev) if you already have Scribus installed.

cd /usr/local/bin/
sudo ln -s ~/bin/scribus/bin/scribus scribus-dev

If the compilation fails

It does not cmake

  • Is the cmake version new enough?
  • Get the output from cmake by redirecting it to a file:
    cmake .. >> cmake-log.txt 2>&1

Compiling with Qt Creator

If you're using Qt Creator, you can simply create a new project and use the Github address of the mirror:

or – if you've already setup the ssh authentication –:

As long as the dependencies are met, Qt Creator will be able to figure everything you need.

You can learn more about using Qt Creator with Scribus in Using Qt Creator with Scribus.

Adding a plugin from a Github repository

If you want to use or improve a plugin that has its own Github repository, you can download its code and add it to the Scribus code.

We suggest you to first carefully read the plugin's README file.

On top of the specific instructions you get in the README files, this section explains with two examples -- the API and Epub plugins -- how to get the plugins to be compiled with Scribus.

First you'll have to clone the repository in the directory where you're storing the code you compile (as previously stated we assume here that it's `/src/).
Then, you'll clone the API plugin into it:

cd ~/src/
git clone

Now, the tricky part: in the Scribus sources you don't need the full repository, but only the files that are in the plugin's src/ directory.

We will create a symlink in the Scribus' plugins/ directory that points to the plugin's src/ directory:

cd ~/src/scribus/
cd scribus/plugins/
ln -s ~/src/scribus-plugin-API/src scribusAPI

Instead of symlinking the src/ directory, you can also copy -- and rename -- it to the Scribus' plugins directory. If you don't plan to change the code and don't want to get updates through git this is good enough. Otherwise, using the symlink will make things much easier for you.

Finally, you need to tell Cmake that you've added a new plugin. Make sure that you're in the same directory where you have added the plugin and add the following line:


If you prefer, you can run this shell command instead, which will add the line for you:

echo "ADD_SUBDIRECTORY(scribusAPI)" >> CMakesLists.txt

You have to repeat this instructions for each plugin you want to add from Github.
As an exapmle for adding the Epub plugin you need to:

cd ~/src/
git clone
cd ~/src/scribus/
cd scribus/plugins/export/
ln -s ~/src/scribus-plugin-export-epub/src epub
echo "ADD_SUBDIRECTORY(epub)" >> CMakesLists.txt

In order to get the new plugins to be compiled you need to rerun cmake (with all parameters you have been using the first time) first:

cd ~/src/scribus/build/
cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX:PATH=~/bin/scribus -DWANT_DEBUG=1 -DWANT_GUI_LANG="en_GB;de;fr;it;en" ..
make install