1. Introduction

This document was written to assist the Linux user in setting up a raster image scanner device, including flatbed, hand-held, video- and still-cameras, frame-grabbers and so on. It does not address how to use the available software tools to achieve a particular photographic result or to utilize your scanner device's features to the fullest extent. For that information please consult the application home pages referenced in the text and the manufacturer's information that accompanied your hardware.

Finally, this document does not answer the question "What type of scanner should I buy?" The answer varies depending on what you are looking for in a scanner device. I suggest looking at the supported hardware list link in Section 2 and also this link within the SANE-project FAQ.

1.1. Copyright Information

This document is Copyright 2004 Howard Shane.

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license can be found in Section 8.

1.2. Disclaimer

No liability for the contents of this document can be accepted. Use the concepts, examples and other content entirely at your own risk. As this is a new edition, there may be technical or other inaccuracies that may result in system failure, destruction of your hardware and the loss of your irreplaceable data. Proceed with caution and be aware that although errors are unlikely, the author can nonetheless accept no responsibility whatsoever for them.

All copyrights are held by their by their respective owners, unless specifically noted otherwise. Use of a term in this document should not be regarded as affecting the validity of any trademark or service mark.

Naming of particular products or brands should not be seen as endorsements.

1.3. New Versions

This is the initial release.

The latest version of this document can be found here.

1.4. Credits

I would like to thank Oliver Rauch, Henning Meier-Geinitz, Jonathan Buzzard, Laurent-jan, Jochen Eisinger and others who participate in SANE development and/or contribute to the SANE-devel mailing list, without whose input this project would have been difficult if not impossible to perform with any measure of quality-control. I would also like to thank the many individuals who have taken the time to email me new information and corrections.

Also I would like to thank Marla for graciously tolerating all the time I've spent banging on the keyboard working on projects such as this. You're the greatest.

1.5. Feedback

Please send any additions or comments pertaining to this document to the following email address : . As this is the first release I am particularly interested in any errata, so don't hesitate to contact me if you know of something I have wrong or needing updating. Also let me know if you know of any shortcuts, tools or bits of information that may help hapless users that you think should be included. I apologize in advance, but I cannot answer any technical questions or "plz help me" pleas regarding scanners; any sent my way will be forwarded to /dev/null; for sources of assistance including live help see Section 7.5 instead, but only after reading the relevant sections of this document in their entirety. I am neither an expert on scanners nor do I have every model of scanner ever manufactured available for testing. My only contribution to scanner support within Linux is the compiling of my own limited experience with the exhaustive input of others to produce a succinct but (hopefully) straightforward HOWTO.

1.6. Conventions Used in this Document

The following conventions are used in this document and are outlined here for those who may not yet have a complete understanding of how to access and control the underlying operating system in Linux, which is almost always via the Bash shell.

First, filenames are referenced in a paragraph like so: /path/file

Commands in Linux are executed (or 'called') at the command prompt, otherwise known as the 'command line.' If you are in the non-graphical (text-based) environment you will usually be presented the Bash shell prompt which is a dollar sign:
...or the hash mark:
...if you have logged in as root or have acquired root, or 'superuser' privileges. You can also access the Bash shell in the X window system, otherwise known as X or X11, with an xterm or similar X-terminal-emulator. Commands to be performed at the Bash prompt, but referenced in a paragraph of this document, usually look like this: do this now

Commands and/or the resulting output of commands may also be outlined with screen output in their own paragraph or heading:

$ date
Sun Jul 27 22:37:11 CDT 2003

When a command is written in front of the Bash prompt (e.g. $ date above), it is assumed the [Return] or [Enter] key has been depressed after the command, possibly followed by the output (e.g., the date).