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Many recent scanners from Epson are not currently supported by the sane project. However here you can find both a stand alone program (ImageScan) and a sane back-end that provides a fairly good support for many of them.

Below I will shortly describe how to install this software and how to make it working for an Epson USB scanner under kernel 2.6.


First of all you have to check that the USB interface is supported in your kernel. For details on how to do it refer to HOWTO Install a USB scanner. For recent versions of the kernel the interface is provided by the libusb library Gentoo-Portage:dev-libs/libusb, so add the flag USB to to the USE variable in your /etc/make.conf and do: emerge libusb

Now plug your scanner and see if it is recognized by your kernel: lsusb

You should see something like:

Code: lsusb
Bus 002 Device 002: ID 04b8:0122 Seiko Epson Corp. 

Notice the two column-separated numbers after the string ID. These are the manufacturer and model numbers. You might need them to properly set the ownership and permissions of the device (see below).

If the scanner is not found, try to re-emerge coldplug and hotplug packages

# emerge coldplug hotplug

and re-start them

# /etc/init.d/coldplug restart
# /etc/init.d/hotplug restart

As a second step, install the iscan program

# emerge iscan

which will also automatically install the sane backend. At the moment the iscan package is marked "~x86" so you probably have to explicitly set this keyword for it

# echo "media-gfx/iscan ~x86" >> /etc/portage/package.keywords

For all AMD64 users: presently it is not possible to use the iscan utility on 64-bit machines. You have to install the X front-end. Simply do

# emerge xsane

On AMD64, sometimes I had problems with the epkowa driver. Some scanner are however partially supported by the "snapscan" back-end. To use it, simply edit /etc/sane.d/snapscan.conf. At the begin of the file there is a list of commented "firmware" lines. Uncomment the one relevent to your hardware. Check that a single "firmware" line is uncommented. Notice that several firmware files are installed by the iscan package, so you still need it. Moreover, check that snapscan is among the drivers loaded by sane

File: /etc/sane.d/dll.conf

Starting the program

To verify that your scanner is found by sane try the following


you should see a rather verbose output with something similar to

Code: # sane-find-scanner
 found USB scanner (vendor=0x04b8 [EPSON], product=0x0122 [EPSON Scanner]) at libusb:004:004

Now you can start the ImageScan program


or, if you have installed it, the sane X front-end


If you can start these programs as root but not as normal user you have problem with privileges settings. You can instruct hotplug to allow the access to the scanner device to all the users in group scanner. and add the relevant users to ths group. To do this, edit the file /etc/hotplug/usb/libsane.usermap and insert a 'libusbscanner' line with the manufacturer and model numbers obtained from lsusb. Detailed instructions on how to do it are provided inside the file. For instance, if the output of lsusb were the one shown above, you have to add the folowing line

File: /etc/hotplug/usb/libsane.usermap
 libusbscanner      0x0003      0x4b8   0x122    0x0000       0x0000       0x00         0x00            0x00            0x00            0x00               0x00               0x00000000

Finally, you can add user username to group scanner with

# gpasswd -a user scanner

If you still have problems with using the scanner, try adding user username to group usb

# gpasswd -a user usb

Using iscan with gimp

If you want to use iscan directly with gimp 2.x you should first set the USE-Flag and emerge it again:

# echo "media-gfx/iscan gimp" >> /etc/portage/package.use
# emerge iscan

If iscan doesn't appear in gimp's Xtns menu, you just have to make a symbolic link from iscan to your GIMP-Plugin directory:

# ln -s /usr/bin/iscan ~/.gimp-2.0/plug-ins/iscan

The next time you open gimp, the plugin will be available.

Have a nice scanning!

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Last modified: Sun, 31 Aug 2008 08:47:00 +0000 Hits: 8,990