Linux for DTP Workgroups
Warning: This article is under construction
Choice for server platform for DTP (desktop publishing)
workgroups is really hard. Wrong decision may seriously disturb production
workflow, lead to time consuming and expensive migration/upgrades
and seriously affect bottom line.
||This article is not Linux advocacy, it is
rather attempt to answer a tought question if Linux is really
good for you, and if yes, for what.
First of all, we need to separate different sectors
of network from each other. It is really bad idea to use one single
server for corporate WEB site, accounting system database and storage
for scanned images, even if your organization is relatively small.
If something happens with your server machine, all activities within
company will be paralyzed. Additionally, it is not secure. So, let's
concentrate only on DTP-related network area.
DTP workgroups characterized by:
- DTP is a production (and moneymaking) process,
and thus, overall cost of hardware and software determined by ROI
(Return on Investments), not price tag of particular product.
- Very expensive specialized (or vertical market)
applications (up to hundreds of thousands of $$$), which may be
available only on particular OS (e.g. Windows NT or SUN Solaris).
- Exceptionally high cost of stoppage and loss
- Large amount of data stored and transferred
between machines. A single high-resolution scanned color separated
file may be as large as 50 MB, poster-printing image around 250
- 300 MB, and printed color magazine - several gigabytes.
- Frequent huge-capacity backups and archival.
In turn, servers for DTP/Repro workgroups fall
into the following categories (important
note: 1. average price quoted
will include cost of particular software only without cost of server
OS software and server hardware; 2.
non open source UNIX variants like IBM IRIX or SUN Solaris will be
referred as commercial UNIX):
- PostScript RIP (Raster Image Processor) for
imagesetter, CTP, digital offset or high-volume digital proofer
(like CreoScitex IRIS). Usually runs on Windows NT for entry-level
(e.g. capstan imagesetters) devices; and on commercial UNIX. Prices
start from $7,500.
- OPI Servers run on SUN Solaris, SGI IRIX, MacOS
X (Helios, Xinet); or Windows NT (Can OPI). Prices start from $2,500
for entry-level and from $7,500 for high-end software.
- Digital asset management systems runs on commercial
UNIX and Windows NT. In future should be available on MacOS X Server
and Linux. Cost starts from $25,000.
- Image database may run as standalone application
or as part of digital asset management system. Cost of image database
server starts from several hundreds $$$ and usually run on Windows
NT (entry-level) or commercial UNIX (high-end ).
- PostScript RIP for large-format plotters. Usually
runs on Windows NT or MacOS.
- PostScript RIP for entry-level ink-jet proofing
systems (usually A4 - A2 format ink-jet printer from Canon, Epson
or HP). RIPs based on genuine Adobe PostScript Level 3 available
on Windows NT and MacOS. Prices range from $100 for basic one-user
RIP to $2500 and over for large number of concurrent users and big
format. Satisfactory results may be obtained with GhostScript (open
source PostScript Level 2 clone available on Linux and free BSD).
- Print server for PostScript devices like color
laser or solid-ink printers. May run on any server platform because
the only task it does is just collecting and forwarding PostScript
- File server for graphic-related data. May run
on any server platform depending on preferences, particular requirements
- Internet server (WEB, e-mail, firewall, router).
Platform choice is the same as previous.
As you can see, at this moment Linux suits only
for tasks 7, 8, 9 and sometimes 6 because of lack of necessary specialized
software (not because technical inferiority as server platform). Windows
NT grabs the biggest piece of pie on low and mid-range, SUN Solaris
and SGI IRIX on high-end, with MacOS X Server trailing behind. Taking
into account very high cost of vertical market applications, price
of server OS becomes not so important, so I believe situation will
not change significantly anytime soon.
Continued - Linux
for DTP Workgroups, part II...