Can someone plz explain to me why an image scanner isn't an input device that I can configure with the control panel and share over the network??

I was told 15 years ago that Linux, because it separates the back and front end of the scanning process (unlike the way Windows did or does with TWAIN), makes it possible to share scanners over a network -- but every time I've tried to follow the (fiddly, non-user-friendly) instructions on how to do this, it worketh not.

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I wonder if I could do a GoFundMe to figure out how to properly set up scanners for networking.

If I can't ever get the instructions to work, I could always write something

Most people who have a need for it probably use some corporate solution with a giant super-expensive scanner that stuffs the output into a folder shared over Samba or something, though, so there's probably not much interest in this.

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@dredmorbius The last time I tried was about a year ago; I've added your link to my notes for the next time I give it a shot.

@woozle not sure, but you're not going to accomplish anything messing around with xinput mouse settings

@abloo I know. I was just showing that screen in order to illustrate the glaring absence of a scanner section.

@woozle linux is terrible, but is a scanner an input device? or is it more of an imaging device, like a camera? i just tried a search and according to some really old looking tutorial it’s SANE. as in, you have to edit a text file named “sane” with some inscrutable incantations. linux, everyone.

@zensaiyuki @woozle my advice when it comes to printing or scanning on linux: just use somebody else's computer

@abloo @woozle when will linux people learn that just saying somethint is easy, or even if it’s easy for them, doesn’t mean the thing is actually easy?

@abloo @woozle i know you didn’t. but that’s literally the name of the scanner driver system. “scan acquisition now easy”

@abloo @zensaiyuki

That's what everyone else in the house does...

(for scanning, anyway; we have a networked printer that mostly works fine)

This is, in fact, one reason I'd like to be able to network the scanner and stick it in an easily-accessible nook somewhere: we have a lot of paperwork and stuff that needs scanning, and I'd really like to be able to delegate that to other people. It tends to pile up when I'm the only one who can scan it.

@woozle @abloo i had a scanner that could scan documents straight to a pdf on a compact flash card by just following more or less straightforward prompts. that was great.

@zensaiyuki @abloo

For all I know, this scanner will do that; it has a port for a USB stick*... but that is a seriously limited UI. Document Scanner lets you crop and sort pages so you can save a multipage scan job either as a nicely-numbered set of image files or as a single PDF (or both). The scanner has a little monochrome LCD which pretty much doesn't even come into play when scanning... and most of our scanners don't even have a display (nor should they need one, in imho).

* though I think that is actually for printing photos directly from a camera; the scanner is a multifunction with an inkjet, which we never use because color laser is so much better.

@zensaiyuki Cameras* show up as auto-mountable volumes, which works for me.

A scanner is different from a camera* in that it's usually left connected all the time, and doesn't store anything locally.

*...unless you mean webcams, in which case I'd say those should be in there too -- at least so you can test them, the way the "audio" section lets you test mics and speakers. (Or should. Apparently the KDE panel lets you test speakers but not mics; go figure.)

@woozle If it's an option, my Brother multifunction can do scanning over its Ethernet connexion. Works on Linux via a script that installs drivers and sets up the printer for you.

@bthylafh @woozle Yes, just as you can pay extra and get a network printer, so you can pay extra and get a network scanner. That’s the only way I’ve ever managed to get scanning across the network to work.

@mathew @woozle fwiw my networked multifunction (Brother DCP-7065dn) was pretty cheap at the time, I think about $150 for printing, scanning, and copying.

@mathew @bthylafh

Yeah, and that isn't a good solution. We want to be able to use any scanner that still works and has a Linux driver. Money is an obstacle, making functioning hardware unusable is an obstacle.

@mathew @bthylafh

That seems to require special software which is only available for Windows and Mac.

@woozle What consistently worked for me was to use an RPi as a middleman. I don't recall how exactly I did it but basically, installed cups, cups-bsd & maybe hplip on raspbian, fiddled a bit with the cups web interface, and used simple-scanner to scan on my laptop where I installed cups stuff and saned. iirc you have to go into a file and write in the rpi's fqdn if you aren't using a DE.

Some routers can't do this kinda home network thing tho.

@woozle A scanner isn't an input device for the same reason it isn't a sound card. Input devices are, as your screenshot indicates, things like keyboards and mice, i.e. something you mash on to generate events that applications react to. A scanner doesn't belong to that category. As for how to share one over the network, I'm sorry, but I don't know.

@mansr That's a legit way to categorize them

...although technically audio input and image input are still "input", so it's somewhat arbitrary...

...and if that's the way they're slicing the cake, then I'd have called the section something more like "discrete event input"...

...and had sound, video, cameras, scanners, and discrete event input all grouped together under the heading of "input devices".

@woozle Maybe the naming isn't the best it could have been. Either way, I don't think event-generating devices belong to the same category as those producing streams or blobs of data. If you group those together, then why not include network cards and hard drives too?

@mansr Those are more I/O than strictly input -- but I do think they belong in the control panel under "hardware", at least.

One thing Windows 9x/2k got right was having all devices listed together in the 'device manager", with some degree of GUI-based config (not always useful).

@woozle What about a CD-ROM drive then? That's input-only. (OK, that's enough trolling.)

@mansr I see your troll and cackle smugly. I'm this close (holds up finger and thumb) to sketching out a redesign for open-source OS control panels...

TL;DR DO NOT TEST ME, MORTAL. :kestraglow:​ :D

@woozle The nice thing about Linux is that, unlike Windows, there is no "the control panel." Anyone is free to write a tool for manipulating /etc files after their own taste. Personally, I prefer vi.


The thing about config files is that you have to really know what you're doing.

The point of control panels is that you only have to sort of know what you're doing. It flattens the learning curve so you can do it without being a hyperspecialist.

Also, for me, CLI vs. GUI is an accessibility issue; despite having been a software dev for 30+ years, I somehow still haven't managed to grow the braincells necessary for easily remembering file specs, utility app names, command-line option flag syntax... but I can click on a link and check off boxes.

(Also, yes, there is "the control panel" in that one comes installed with every distro, and that's the one you get when you click on the apparently-non-configurable icon in the menu -- but I wasn't griping about that, and more about certain questionable principles of design which seem to be universally accepted across all of them, as far as I can tell.)

@woozle Yes, Gnome, KDE, and the like include "control panel" applications. Nobody forces you to use them if you don't like them. Nothing breaks if you use another tool or edit the files directly.

@mansr Oh I know that; my point is that there aren't any good alternatives. least, none that I know of.

Nothing breaks if you use another tool or edit the files directly.

Actually, yes, things often break when I edit files directly. This is part of the problem.

One thing cpanel apps are good for is enforcing the "business logic" necessary to make a system work properly.

@woozle I suppose I should have said that nothing breaks if the files are edited competently. On Windows, things can easily get very weird if you bypass "the way" of doing things.

@mansr I've actually had approximately as much luck directly editing Windows config files and "the registry" as I have in Linux (which is not to say "none at all"; just "no worse").

@mansr @woozle A scanner is an input device, it’s just not a *Human* Input Device. Mice, keyboards etc are HID devices. I assume Gnome is omitting the H because reasons.

@mathew @woozle I'm using Linux kernel terminology. Your broad definition of input device is rather useless since it includes anything that produces data in any way. Scanners, keyboards, and CD-ROM drives have virtually nothing in common, so having a name for that category serves no practical purpose.

@mansr @woozle
Yes, I'm talking about Unix, where a device is anything accessed via a device file.

Devices handled by the Linux "input" subsystem are not the only input devices Linux recognizes. For example, video input devices.

@woozle I never had much luck getting network scanning with SANE back in the day. :( The hot new thing is to get a scanner that supports networking, apparently there's "driverless scanning" using MS and Apple flavored protocols and there's a SANE driver that supports both now (I can't remember the link offhand sorry)

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