Recommend a USB scanner for Linux
December 15, 2009 8:56 AM   Subscribe

Which current USB flatbed scanner works under Linux?

My trusty old SCSI Umax scanner is on its deathbed, and I'd like to also retire its SCSI PC (I only use it for the scanner), and get a USB scanner.

Alas! it seems like none of the USB scanners currently available on Amazon and NewEgg are on the SANE supported list. I've started looking for used scanners but I'd rather buy a new one if possible. Anyone here have any experience getting any currently available USB flatbed scanners to work under Linux?

(I don't need to scan photos, just documents. Scan quality is not that important, but reliability is.)
posted by phliar to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
According to the Ubuntu wiki "newer USB scanners should Just Work", which is OK until you find out you've bought the one that Just Doesn't.

This page links to user reports of working or not working on Ubuntu by brand. I doubt that there's a terribly sharp difference between distros on this particular front.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 10:01 AM on December 15, 2009

Best answer: I've had good success with the CanoScan LiDE 60 which is still available refurbished, but I'm unsure of how the newer CanoScan LiDE scanners behave under Linux. I'd be inclined to believe the Ubuntu wiki, but I'd be hesitant as well. Is there a particular model you're interested in? perhaps someone who has that one could try a Linux LiveCD and test it for you.

Or perhaps you could take a Linux-running laptop into a big-box store and plug a few in. Depending on the mood of the clerks, perhaps waiting until after the X-mas rush would be a good time to try this out :)
posted by jrishel at 11:10 AM on December 15, 2009

We have an HP Flatbed scanner - printer. It works well enough in scanning for me, done via USB. I don't have a device number for you. I think Winkled is onto a good approach: search Launchpad / Bugzilla / Your Distro Issue Tracker for the model you wish to purchase. Asking your distribution peers seems more reliable than asking the broader MeFi linux community; the difference won't be sharp but it will matter; newer versions will have newer mappings of USB IDs to drivers.
posted by pwnguin at 11:31 AM on December 15, 2009

I've also got an older Canon LiDE scanner which works just fine with Ubuntu. And I also just bought a new HP F4200 all in one which is plugged into a Vista box, but is accessible from an Ubuntu box also and works just fine both printing and scanning.
posted by COD at 12:12 PM on December 15, 2009

Response by poster: According to the Ubuntu wiki "newer USB scanners should Just Work", -- is that really true? I'm shocked at the idea that Ubuntu supports scanners that SANE says are unsupported. Does Ubuntu not use SANE as its scan engine?

Thanks for the recommendations about older models, but if they're not available new, they don't answer the question. For example, the currently available Canon LiDE scanners are all on the SANE list as unsupported.

I don't know anyone who owns a new scanner that I can borrow or try.

I have absolutely no brand loyalty for buying new. (For used scanners I already know which one I want to get -- basically the USB version of the scanner I already have, because it's well supported by SANE.)

Big-box stores are out of the question. Besides I don't have a Linux laptop.

Thanks for the HP link. I don't need a printer (or all-in-one or any of that jazz) -- just a scanner. I'd always thought of HP scanners as too expensive but I haven't looked at them recently.

I'll look into refurbished older LiDEs -- where can I find them?
posted by phliar at 3:25 PM on December 15, 2009

Here's what I found on amazon

and the refurb I found yesterday on google products seems to be gone now
posted by jrishel at 7:15 AM on December 16, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks everyone, I ordered a refurbished LiDE 60. (Apparently it's being shipped by Pony Express -- three weeks to get to San Francisco from Texas?! -- so I won't know how it turns out for some time.)
posted by phliar at 6:00 PM on December 17, 2009

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