TheMagPi Information for new volunteers

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MagPi Information for New Volunteers

It can be confusing when you first join the MagPi team. To ease the question load on the main organizers, here is a guide to help new volunteers familiarize themselves with the team’s workflow.

A Quick Overview of the MagPi Project

From the MagPi website:

Mission Statement

What we make

We produce a magazine with the intent to help and offer advice to users of the Raspberry Pi. This started out as a simple idea on the well known forums, with a few of us getting together and deciding on a loose outline of what we wanted to achieve.

Over time many have joined and left the team, each bringing their own contribution and ideas to the final piece.

If you had asked us six months ago whether we thought the magazine would be half a year down the line, we would not have been sure. We are now able to offer printed copies, competitions, our own branded Raspberry Pi case, and stable mirrors on a website not entirely made in flash. Where does the money go?

We all started out as volunteers - we are certainly not in this for the money. However, there are certain administrative costs that go toward producing a reliable magazine, and printing magazines is certainly not free. We get a small amount of money from every copy sold - and this goes towards funding the entire production team. We also hope to be able to offer more competitions, and better product testing.
You can help

Any donation is very gratefully received. However, you don’t have to put money into this to help us along - time is also one of our limiting factors. If you think you can be of any use in the general production, drop us an email. The future

We had no idea how successful the magazine would be. Give us another six months, and there should be some real progress made. We are forever receiving requests for more formats, and this is definitely something we are looking into. Translations to other languages would be another great step.

We shall see…

Software and Services Used by the MagPi Team


The project files for Issues 1~9 are stored in a shared DropBox folder where all of the team members can access them. If they do not have one, new volunteers will need to create a DropBox account. You can do that here.

When you start work on the magazine you will be added to the shared DropBox folder.

You may want to download a DropBox client for your OS.

Note: The main files for the MagPi Issues 1~9 are stored in the MagPi DropBox. By default, DropBox moves rather than copies files when you have a desktop client. Make sure that you only overwrite/move files when you are intending to!

Google Groups

Members coordinate their efforts through the MagPi Google Group, which you will need to join when you become a volunteer. You can subscribe via email or use the web interface.


The MagPi files are slowly being migrated to a GitHub repository, to make version control more convenient. At this point Issues 1 through 9 are stored in DropBox, while Issue 10 and future issues will be stored in the GitHib repo. For more information see The MagPi Git.


Scribus is the Free and Open Source desktop publishing program used for the layout of the MagPi.

It is important that you use the same version of Scribus as the rest of the team.

At this point, the MagPi is created with Raspberry Pis, Debian Wheezy Virtual Machines, and sometimes other Linux distros running Scribus 1.4.1.svn. The team uses Raspberry Pi’s and Linux for compatibility, since many of the fonts installed on Mac OSX and Windows are proprietary.

Installing Scribus on Raspbian

To install Scribus on a Raspberry Pi running the Raspbian distribution, enter into Terminal:

sudo apt-get install scribus

Installing Scribus on a Virtual Machine

If you are running a Debian Wheezy VM, it is the same as on Raspbian. Enter into terminal:

sudo apt-get install scribus

Installing Scribus on Ubuntu

As of 14/2/2013, the version of Scribus that is in the Ubuntu Software Centre is the correct version. In the USC it will read as Scribus 1.4.0, but once it is installed the title-bar will read Scribus 1.4.1.svn, which is the version used by the rest of the MagPi team.

Joining the Team

When you have decided you wish to join the MagPi team as a volunteer, send an email to with the request and a short summary of your knowledge of the tools the team uses and/or some background about which areas you are interested or knowledgeable in.

Configuring Scribus

If you are laying out a main article, make sure to read the MagPi Layout Guide. This will provide you with information regarding what fonts and font sizes to use, as well the download link for the generic MagPi article template.

Resources for new Scribus users

Scribus is a relatively complex program, so make sure to take some time to familiarize yourself with it before diving in to far.

Here are some useful tutorials and other resources about Scribus:

The Scribus Wiki
Scribus Wiki HowTo
A Scribus Tutorial on Scribd
Getting Started With Scribus
A list of Scribus Video Tutorials

Starting Work

After you have installed and familiarized yourself with the tools used, and joined the team, you can get started working on the magazine. One of the long time MagPi team members will assign an article, layout or correction via the Google Group, and you will be granted access to the DropBox and GitHub repository as needed.