Sane & Debian 6 —

Sane is the Scanner Access Now Easy is an open source project for Unix that you can use to share an imaging device over a network. It’s not encumbered by much security and is sparse on it’s options, but if you can get it working, you can use one scanner device as your only scanner if you so desire.

A disclaimer.. I’ve set up Sane on Ubuntu and OpenSuse so this wasn’t my first time trying it.. On OpenSuse I had very little trouble, Yast tends to make things easy, but I had some other issues that I wasn’t interested in tracking down.. and so.. I decided to get my feet wet in Debian 6 since I know it’s gonna trickle down into my life anyhow..

What I’m running all this with:

1. A beat up old Gateway Laptop with a sparse 512mb of Ram and some manner of Athlon processor.. this machine is mostly usable, but the ac adapter plug is a little wonky, and has to be held in place to keep the power on.. well.. as I was once told.. “if you can’t fix it.. Duck it.”  A GENEROUS amount of Black Duct Tape has mostly resolved this issue.

2. A Canon Pixma MP160 MultiFunction Machine. I of course am sharing this machine via CUPS to all the *nix machines in the house.

3. My home network is  and has about 10 ish or so network devices and only about 5 of which will ever scan, the rest being other stuff.


I install Sane and Sane utils with:

sudo apt-get install sane sane-utils

after you install this you must edit the following files:

/etc/sane.d/saned.conf and add the line to allow access from my network to these machines.

/etc/default/saned and the # Set to yes to start saned must be set to RUN=yes

NOTE: I had an additional step, to fix a bug with probably only my particular scanner, but you may run into this.. I had to add the saned user on this machine to the lp group to gain access across the network.


On Linux you do the following:

You Install SANE the same way you do on the server. (I’m a debian guy but the config is the same on any nix system.)

sudo apt-get install sane sane-utils

and you edit this file


to contain the ip of the server or it’s resolved server name, which is what I do.

if you set it up right, you should be able to use something like..

scanimage -T on the client and you will hear your scanner whir to life and test your device.

In Linux I like using Simple Scan or X-Sane to scan with, But any Sane capable software will work. They don’t require you to configure the application. In Gimp there isn’t native scanning functionality, but never fear, you can make a symbolic link of the xsane binary to the gimp plugins directory under your user’s home. (Thanks to this Link)

todd@gojira:~$ ln -s /usr/local/bin/xsane /home/todd/.gimp-2.6/plug-ins/

On a Mac Client I follow these insructions: You must install each of those applications per your version of OSX, and then you can open the Sane conifuration pane, and configure the “net” the same way you’d configure it for Linux, by adding the server’s IP address. If you have Photoshop on this mac it will use Sane to Acquire an image if you so desire.

On Windows: As you can imagine with most *nix projects.. windows versions are available.. but are sort of under-developed, it’s like a square peg in a round hole.. however… xsane32 exists for windows. It’s rather old, but is mostly functional.


Categorised as: Geeking Out | Linux | Move your ass to Open Source

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