Even Linux supports scanning. You just need
the right hardware.
And with SANE you get the right software.
Scanners at the parallel port do not have this advance. Every
company has its own protocol and does not make it free. That
shows why SANE programmers are not able to create a driver for most parallel
port scanners. You should not safe money at the wrong end (the kind of
connection) and you should choose a SCSI version if you wanted to scan
You find a list of all supported scanners at http://www.mostang.com/sane/sane-backends.html .
If you are a lucky person with a scanner on the list you will be able to start at once. SANE itself offers the connection between scanner and software but it is not a program that scans. For scanning you need GIMP. Of course an enhanced version of XV (XVScan is the name) offers scanner support, too, but this program is not free. GIMP is a free software and also offers all abilities to scan.
If you access your scanner with SANE you will be
able to work with it completely transparent in the net,
i.e. everyone would be able to use the scanner if you set the acces-rights
correctly. You are not forced to use the scanner at your PC.
What would you do if you bought a parallel port scanner that
is not on the list?
In this case you should not despair because there might be another way than using SANE. If your scanner was also delivered out with a WINDOWS 3.1 driver there is a chance that it works under WINE. WINE offers parallel port access and it might be possible that the WINDOWS driver works correctly with Linux. If the installation worked and the parallel port was configured correctly in WINE the scanner could be used with every WINDOWS program that implemented a scanner access and would run on Linux. You should ask the scanner company for old but stable WINDOWS drivers because these have the biggest probability to work all right. Also WINDOWS95 drivers might work with WINE but a support is not sure. This way offers just a partial solution because the connection between WINE and scanner often does not work very well.
Another solution out of this dilemma will be available, soon. For a few month a new program has been in development. VMware offers a virtual computer in a window and there runs WINDOWS (3.1 and 95). Because VMware accesses the parallel port, scanning should be possible. The disadvantages is the prize (100$) and a big use of resources. A Pentium II with enough RAM is absolutely necessary to let work VMware properly and fast. Even WINDOWS does not often have enough memory for detailed scanning. An emulation will have much bigger problems.
But VMWare is not the last solution. Another program, but also a commercial
version, is Vividata. This company,
that has offered scanner drivers for UNIX systems for a longer time, released
a Linux version, too. May be that you will find your needed
driver there . A 30-days test version can be downloaded.
In addition Vividata offers the only OCR software for Linux. This one is also available as a 40 days test version.