Friday, December 11, 2009

Introducing Simple Scan

One of the goals I want to achieve for Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) is to make scanning really easy. So I've been working on Simple Scan:

Please try it and report any problems you have.

To install add the PPA and install the simple-scan package or build from source.

The GUI is a mess

Yes. This is the first functional release. The GUI is being redesigned for 0.8. The 0.7 release should contain all the functionality required for 1.0.

Who is simple scan for?

This application is designed for the 95% of users who just want to connect their scanner and quickly have the image/document in an appropriate format.

How does this relate to GNOME scan?

Simple scan does not use the GNOME scan to get the scan data. This is because Ubuntu 10.04 is a Long Term Support release and bringing the whole GNOME scan stack into main is risky (it was previously proposed for 10.04 but was not found to be stable enough). There is an open bug to change to gnomescan when that is appropriate.


David Schleef said...

One thing I've always wanted: My scanner has a document feeder and a scan button, which works approximately like what one would expect. It would be very useful to load up a document, press a button, and have a PDF appear on my desktop.

Aside from my random brain dump, thanks for working on this. I've always wanted a scanner app that was document oriented.

Jef Spaleta said...

So I'm confused... gnomescan isn't stable enough for LTS.. but simple-scan using sane as a backend is? simple-scan a completely built from scratch application built in the runup to LTS with no prior Ubuntu release distribution feedback from a large number of end users is stable enough for LTS?

Something seems very wrong about the logic there.

Matt said...

Any chance we'll see any Canoscan LiDE support?

Anonymous said...

Couldn't you have helped make GNOME scan more stable in time for Ubuntu 10.04? This duplication of effort seems silly, if there is no disagreement about direction. (I assume there isn't, if the plan is to move to GNOME scan later.)

Seif Sallam said...

just finished trying it, and here is my conclusion:
in general i like it a-lot more than scanner utility i used to download every time i install Ubuntu, also i like the text scanning as it export to pdf directly, i used to scan to png then convert them using a Bash, so that was a very awesome. also it recognized my scanner at the moment i turn it on.

* only one, application crashes when i close it.

but here are things i didn't like:
1. there should be drag and drop crop so i can fit it as i need.
2. there should be a place where i can set my scanning resolution, as part of the text i scanned wasn't that clear.
3. editing page shouldn't be using right-click it should be through visible buttons.

preferred in the future:
* OCR ability, so when i choose to scan text it can convert this image to text.
* ability, to control the output of multiple scans, so i can write scan-## and this is translated to scan-01, scan-02, .... and so on.

and at the end, i would like to say thanks to every one working on this project.

Thomas DA said...

One excellent feature you could easily add, and all grand parents would love, is a rotate 180 degrees button under the preview.
Scanners never state witch way the paper should go in!

hansrodtang said...

In my opinion scanning shouldn't depend on a seperate application but be a part of the application that might need the scanned item (i.e. GIMP, F-Spot, Evince (as picture or text (OCR) in PDF) and other applications), just like printing is today.

Olivier said...

Like other, I can’t understand why not helping to put gnome-scan (with his great integration-goal) to a higher lever rather than writing a new tool.

Anonymous said...

So a completely new program is more stable than an existing program?

Why not contribute to GNOME Scan? Come on, we have to work together, we have enough unfinished one-person shows already.

Anonymous said...

Or why can't one continue on a project with a similar setup:

made in python, light, rather feature-complete.

It's the "I know people have done the same thing, but Mine will be *better*" syndrome.

Bert_2 said...

I'm very happy that you're working on a more simple scan app. I give lessons on ubuntu at the local computerclub and it's very hard to explain to people how to use Xsane, it over-complicates things A LOT.

Goodluck and I hope this makes ubuntu at a certain point

Anonymous said...

hey very nice! Thank you for your work!

Marco Diego said...

OCR is a feature that is really missing in the linux desktop realm. Yes, there is tesseract and gocr, but there's no simple gui for any of them.

Take a look at tesseract-gui it is the simplest yet functional OCR gui available.

Having a good and simple OCR gui would be great for Ubuntu.

william said...

Nice! xsane is way to difficult.. my parents just can't get used to it so. I think there is definitely a need for a simple (in end user terms) scanning program.

Blimundus said...

In related news... Gnome-scan is looking for love!

I very much agree with Gnome-scan's goal to make scanning a service which is available to all applications, just like printing. I hope this new effort will not impede that goal.

heathenx said...

Friggin' thank-you! :)

Rudiger Wolf said...

Have you used gscan2pdf? Easy to use scan tool.

Anonymous said...

Just another thanks, and keep up the hard work. There are those of us other there that do appreciate it!

Works just grand on Karmic + Borther MFC-7820N

Bob said...

David, definitely want to get the scanner buttons to trigger scans:
There seem to be some performance problems with monitoring the buttons however and unfortunately you do have to interrupt the user to know what sort of document is being scanned.

Canoscan LiDE is not supported by SANE:
Simple Scan will support it like any other SANE frontend when SANE supports it.

All, the rotate and crop features are available, part of the UI redesign will make sure these are easily discoverable.

Marco, OCR support:
Not a requirement for 1.0 but will definitely like to see it implemented (any help welcome).

Yes have seen and used gscan2pdf - this is what is often recommended to phone support users to replace xsane. I see gscan2pdf as a xsane replacement and is complementary to simple scan. The recommendation will be to install gscan2pdf if you need the features that simple scan does not provide.

Bob said...

The fact is changing from a stack of SANE+XSANE to SANE+Simple Scan is a lot lower risk than changing to SANE+Gnome Scan+GEGL+Gnome Scan GUI.

GNOME Scan as a replacement for XSANE has been discussed at (at least) the last two Ubuntu Developer Summits:
These events are completely open and I encourage anyone to become involved in the Ubuntu decision process through these. I fully expect GNOME Scan to be discussed at the next UDS and hopefully it can be integrated into Ubuntu 10.10.

There were stability issues with GNOME Scan and the user interface did not work well as a stand-alone scanning application.

No staples is not an application that I have investigated, I will look into that (the website seems down at the moment). I would have preferred to develop Simple Scan in Python but there were threading issues with the SANE Python bindings.

Stormy said...

I too would like to be able to push the button on my scanner to initiate a scan.

(FYI, I use xsane right now and ignore almost all the options it gives me.)

Anonymous said...

What about gscan2pdf (

It is as simple as I could make it.

Bob said...

The main issue with gscan2pdf was it's not workflow centric, i.e. it gives you a scanner and all the available options and expects you to understand scanning.

Simple scan says what do you want to do? Get copies of your photos or archive/email some text documents.

This is why I see gscan2pdf as the xsane replacement for users to find in the Software Centre and Simple Scan the default for people who just want to press "scan".

nowhere said...

Hey Bob,

This is EXACTLY what the Ubuntu Distro needs. Although my current problems with scanning are all related to the backend...

Anonymous said...


just thank you for doing this :)

xsane is a good app, but its far too complicated for new users. keep it up!

wilbur said...

The interface is nice and easy to understand, however my scanner does not retract back to the home position after scanning and the image is not good. There is much tearing.
of the image. The scanner cover needs to be removed and the scan head retracted manually after scanning.
I have a Umax Astra 2100U.

Anonymous said...

Mate, you are a champion. This is exactly what I've been looking for on ubuntu

Anonymous said...

Awesome, man. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

It needs brightness and contrast controls. Especially when working with not-so-perfect originals, text is coming through way too light.

Anonymous said...

Xsane seems very flaky on my machine and was driving me insane. After spending days trying to sort out its intricacies, I finally discovered Simple Scan. It does a fast and decent job of acquiring images which clean up very nicely in Gimp. Don't think Simple Scan is auto focusing my Nikon ls-1000 but like I say, images seem adequately sharp and clean. John