Self-Documenting One-Sheet ‘Zine

photo of the screen of a Pi-Top[1] with the Raspberry Pi 3B+ exposed. On the screen is the page layout programm Scribus with a closeup of an early draft of the one-sheet 'zine mentioned in this post

I’ve never been good at Christmas cards. In the last ten years or so I’ve taken to making a very small edition of books and distributing them in a spirit of thanks giving. This feels more my speed. In the last couple of years I have found myself without ink for my printer and so have taken to making distributable PDFs that you can print for yourself. 

In the past I would carefully typeset the words of someone else that I had pirated, ahem, downloaded from the internet. This year I couldn’t find words that matched my feelings. 

So I wrote the story of a journey to prove to myself that one can actually use a Raspberry Pi computer to set type. 

I have already used a Free and Open Source software package called Scribus to make previous thanksgiving books on MacBook Pro of one vintage or another. There isn’t anything especially liberating or emancipatory about that. If I can afford this kind of laptop I should be able to afford the relevant softwares that represent the means of reproduction. 

I have now found how to set up Scribus on a Raspberry Pi. Only this week, actually. And so it is with some urgency that I wrote down the steps and poured them into the framework for the attached PDF ‘zine. It’s been so urgent that I haven’t gone back and fixed mistakes that will be glaring to me tomorrow. Nevertheless those failings are mine and not the software’s nor the hardware’s. What matters is that I can set up a graphic design workflow on a ~35 USD computer and some spare parts and free/libre software. This is exciting. This can be emancipatory. 

Some of the details are in the (verbose) text of the ‘zine. Within the ‘zine there is a URL for the source file, so you can go and make your own ‘zines if you are so inclined. It has all the paragraph and character level styles and master-page guides.