This chapter contains scanning applications which allow you to convert printed documents into formatted documents readable by other applications.


Introduction to SANE

SANE is short for Scanner Access Now Easy. Scanner access, however, is far from easy, since every vendor has their own protocols. The only known protocol that should bring some unity into this chaos is the TWAIN interface, but this is too imprecise to allow a stable scanning framework. Therefore, SANE comes with its own protocol, so the vendor drivers can't be used.

SANE is split into back ends and front ends. The back ends are drivers for the supported scanners. The front ends are user interfaces to access the backends.

Package information

SANE dependencies

Installation of SANE

Preparing your system for scanner access

To access your scanner, you will probably need the related kernel drivers. A SCSI scanner will need SCSI drivers, a parallel port scanner needs parallel port support (you should use enhanced EPP modes) and an USB scanner will need the USB scanner module and a SCSI system for emulation. Be sure that you have got the necessary devices to access the drivers.

Installation of SANE backends

Install SANE backends by running the following commands:

./configure --prefix=/usr --sysconfdir=/etc &&
make &&
make install

Installation of SANE front ends

To install SANE front ends, use the following commands:

./configure --prefix=/usr &&
make &&
make install

Installation command explanations

--sysconfdir=/etc: This switch installs the configuration files in /etc/sane.d instead of /usr/etc/sane.d.


Back ends:

See for a list of available backends.

Front ends:

scanimage: Command line interface for scanning.

xscanimage: Graphical user interface for scanning.

gimp-plugin: xscanimage as GIMP plugin.