TheMagPi Information for new volunteers

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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:

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…

Services used by the MagPi Team

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.


A shared dropbox folder is used to share new articles or ideas. New volunteers will need to create a DropBox account and then request access to the DropBox via the email group.

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

Note: The main files for the MagPi Issues 1~9 are archived 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!


Articles for each of the issues and some articles in development are stored in GitHub, this is the main repository tool for volunteers working on layouts and graphics.

For more information see [| The MagPi Git].

MMS (Magazine Management System)

MagPi team member Nick has built a Magazine Management system for the MagPi where each magazine issue is outlined page by page. It is used to organize who's working on what, merge pdfs, assign tasks, and keep track what still needs to be done. It can be found at You will be added to the system as necessary.

Software used by the MagPi Team


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 (1.4.1.svn) 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 / Debian Wheezy VM

To install Scribus on a Raspberry Pi running the Raspbian distribution or a Debian Wheezy VM, 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.


GIMP is the Free and Open Source desktop graphics editor used in the production of the MagPi.

Installing GIMP on Raspian

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

sudo apt-get install gimp

Fonts used by the MagPi Team

The usage of specific fonts articles is detailed on the page:Layout & fonts. Below is a listing of fonts that you will need to have installed on your computer for performing layout work:

  • FreeSans Family - should be installed by default on Raspbian / with Scribus
  • Courier - should be installed by default on Raspbian / with Scribus
  • Monaco - manual installation see below.
  • BitStream - may need manual installation depending on what else you have installed, see below.

A list of fonts which are often missing from a non-Debian LINUX installation can be found at


The Monaco font is freely available, but is not installed on Raspbian by default. To install the font, type the following in Terminal:

cd ~
sudo mkdir -p /usr/share/fonts/truetype/custom 
sudo mv Monaco_Linux.ttf /usr/share/fonts/truetype/custom 
sudo fc-cache -f -v


Some new setups are missing the BitStream font, this can be installed by typing:

sudo apt-get install xfonts-scalable

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.

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.