Scanner for Linux?

Can anyone recommend a fairly recent model of scanner that is absolutely sure to work with Ubuntu Linux. I guess that means that it will work with the “XSane Image Scanner”, from inside Gimp, and with the gnomescan project’s “flegita” GUI. By recent I mean widely available to buy now.

I have too many paper-only documents so I want to back them up electronically.

As usual, the information about supported hardware out there is rather vague, with wildly differing interpretations of “works ouf of the box”. If you need to compile a driver or edit a text configuration file then it didn’t work out of the box.

Update: I don’t really want to buy an all-in-one device just to get a scanner. I already have a printer.

31 thoughts on “Scanner for Linux?

  1. Yes, I have a HP Printer Photosmart 4480. It includes a A4 scanner and the quality is pretty good. As a printer is good as well. Very good in B&W and fairly good for photos. On photo paper it’s good but nothing amazing but after all I paid it £40 (approx. $64).

    You must install the hplip driver in ubuntu if it’s not the case already and Sane is just happy. It works immediatly without anything to manually configure or whatever. Really good :-)

    Don’t know how it works with other distrib, but Ubuntu 8.04 and 8.10 then are happy. The scanner gives very good results. Printer is recognized immediatly. And the card reader is seen as a USB mass storage. At the end of the day, that’s 3 devices in one for a good to very good quality for not a lot of bucks.

    Only one thing, I still didn’t figure out how to use it as a fax machine through my BT home hub (in London). :-)

    Hope it helps.

  2. I don’t know of any scanner that just works, but HP multifunction devices just do.
    I’d used two quite recent models and both where autodetected and ready to use in seconds.

  3. While I have a rather good and sane supported scanner, I rarely use it anymore because I realized that taking photographs with my digital camera goes way faster and provides good results. So my recommendation for a good scanner to back up documents would be a good digital camera :-)

  4. I can testify for the models I use and work:

    Canon CanoScan Lide30 : plug-in and scan. Easy.
    Old model, I know, check on the Sane Project website if the chipset is still the same.

    HP OfficeJet 3392 (networked multifunction printer): install the hpijs packages to print, you get the networked scanner for free: it works great and it’s pretty fast.

  5. I really recommend the ScanSnap S510 if you have paper documents you want to archive. It is automatically scanning both sides of your pages from a paper tray. Working wonderfully with small papers too like receipts (for my company I have all my receipts scanned) and it is really fast, maybe 5s for one A4 both sides. I created a small script to automatically generate a pdf output. $ mydoc.pdf and yeah, my multiple page document in one pdf.

  6. I can mention that Avision SANE backend isn’t in great shape in Intrepid.

    I purchased an Avision A122 shetfed scanner to do exactly the same thing (backup documents) as they were mentioned as a well supported brand. Unfortunately the backend appears to segfault every client application trying to use it currently.

  7. I use a Canon CanoScan LiDE 25. It’s still the cheapest scanner on the market ($50USD), it’s fairly thin, USB-powered, and uses a plustek chipset (well supported in SANE).

    The technology is a little funny though, it uses LEDs to illuminate the page and doesn’t have a lot of optics. This means that it can’t scan well at any depth. As long as what you’re scanning is flat against the glass it’s great. I’m gonna guess this effects all LED Indirect Exposure scanners.

    All in all I’m quite happy with mine.

  8. I have the canon lide 25 (as in the other comment) and for scanning documents it is wonderfull.
    Small, and you don’t need yet another power brick ™.


  9. Andrew, yeah, I’ve heard of the Canon CanoScan LiDE 25 as a good choice for Linux, but it doesn’t seem to still be widely available here in Germany. I’d love to hear if anyone has the (newer?) LiDE 100 or any of the other LIDE models.

  10. If you are planing to scan regular document, I would recommend to look for a scanner that supports directly scanning to the network (FTP/SMB) like the Kyocera FS-1118MFP (all-in-one device) can do.

  11. I have an Epson Perfection 1260 USB scanner. It works out of the box, no firmware needed. Just plug it in to AC power and the computer and start scanning (the first scan incurs a warm-up time but that’s common). It’s very simple.

  12. freetz, Thanks. I was looking at and The sellers listed by geizhals are rather minor so I have strong doubts that any of them can actually deliver it, but I might try. I also generally avoid those annoying online sellers in Germany who don’t take debit or credit cards.

    I’d prefer to know if one of the newer LIDE models work.

  13. I bought a Canon LIDE 25. Not the most Linux friendly vendor at all, but given that this scanner is an OEM of some chipset that SANE knows about (plustek), it works fine, and for cheap (CAD$70). The purpose: scan documents to send via email. Also the other bonus point is that it gets power from USB. Not need to had a “brick” to the already cluttered power bar.

    Works great with XSane, but is an Epic Fail with Gnome-Scan, and given that Gnome-Scan is being rewritten in a different language instead of being fixed, I don’t give much hope.

    Epson is known to somewhat support Linux, but it is a bit of a lottery. Some are OEM they don’t care about but work with SANE, some are Epson specific whose driver is free software and in SANE, some require proprietary code (there for not Linux friendly either).

  14. I tried both canon canoscan LiDE 25 and LiDE 60. They both work out of the box, but the 25 is REALLY slow (slower than my >5 years old HP scanjet 3300C: >50 seconds to scan at 300 dpi). The LiDE 60 was very fast, about 17 seconds to scan a full page at 300 dpi. The problem is that the one I bought used was defective, and was a complete loss. And LiDE 60 cannot be found “new” in stores nowadays, only the 25.
    And pretty much all the new canon models are not compatible with sane. *facepalm*

    Go with the fastest scanner that you can find and that is compatible with linux, and doesn’t cost a bunch. I’d be interested. I find it quite baffling that scanner manufacturers/retailers don’t advertise the scanning speed (at 150, 300, 600 dpi) in seconds.

  15. Be careful with Canon Scanners!

    The OLD ones LIDE 25-something work very well. The newer ones 70 upwards are a catastrophe. Don’t buy that!!!
    I did this mistake.
    I must say, that the scan quality of the cheap canon scanners isn’t satisfying (very bad “Tiefenschärfe”).

    I suggest you have a look at VueScan ( – Warning: it’s NOT free.
    But they have a good list of supported scanners under Linux.

    As jeff said, most scanners are awfully slow. I’m interested in what scanner you’re going to buy finally :)

  16. a bit off topic, but i did some doc-archiving using my canon 300d.
    mounting on a tripod facing down to floor where i put the docs, a black a3 sheet of paper as background, some light – voila!
    each page just takes 1sec. that’s the way professional archiving systems (and e.g. google) work too – but not an office-proven setup ;-).

  17. Fujitsu scanners work with xsane under ubuntu 8.04 – 4120C. Pricey, but duplex ADF at about 20ppm. (Single at 30ppm) Much better than flatbed/digital photography. just plug it in, go to terminal, run xsane. options take a little work as they are not the same as comparable windows scanners (and multiple pages need to be compiled into one pdf document), but fairly automated.
    Alternative: pack all the documents in a box, go and pay a little money and put them through a professional quality machine (70ppm duplexing) at Kwikkopy.

  18. So, now that I bought this nice networked all-in-one (Epson 800),
    how exactly do I get to “network scan” to my Linux F10) machine???
    Can the HP SW be used for other then HP scanners?
    I was able to use CUPS to setup network printing, but both sane,
    and scanimage tell me it ain’t there. I even tried to hard code the IP
    in /etc/sane.d/epson2.conf, to no avail…


  19. Well,

    Two items — I have searched deep & wide, but still no luck finding any mutli-function that can network scan.
    I kinda gave up, and use the “scan to card” on the scanner, then move the card to the computer reader to
    use the data. What a pain ;(

    As for the ORIGINAL question — if you have a SCSI interface on your computer, I can sell you an HP IIc
    scanner that has full support under Linux… Not exactly new, but one of the best scanners I have ever seen.
    It is big, it is heavy and it scans amazingly well. Its original cost was more then 5 multifunction printers…

    Sales pitch over, you can come out now ;)))

  20. Folks,
    Has anyone been able to successfully work the Canon LIDE 100 scanner with Ubuntu Linux?
    I am in a fix on the same. Help!!

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