A New Scanner for Linux

Posted on Tuesday 16 December 2008

So, I have been working in Ubuntu for a while now and I have to admit – I’m liking it more and more. Which is really no surprise with my work background being in Unix. But I have to admit it’s rather nice not to come into the office and not find the computer rebooted or needing a reboot because it is crawling to a stop.

My biggest challenge of late has been scanning. To date, it hasn’t been possible in Linux and the main reason for this is because my scanner wasn’t supported ( no one wrote the programs necessary for it to talk with the computer in Linux. ) For those who are interested it was an LiDE 80 from Canon. It’s a great scanner and will even do slides and negatives, just not in Linux though.

While there had been several promising efforts towards getting something “sometime soon” the main developer of that particular software eventually pulled the plug on it. Canon’s scanners, as well as several other manufacturers, are almost unique in every version and writing code for one scanner, is no guarantee that it will work with the next…

So I went shopping for a new scanner and looked at various options, but researched in advance as to which scanners would or would not work with Linux ( have software already written for it.. ) I eventually settled for an HP multiprinter with built in scanner, the HP C4880. With the expectation that it would eventually replace my aging HP Deskjet color printer and scanner at the same time – and save me a bit of desk-space at the same time.

I’ve always been a big fan of HP, they know what they are doing when it comes to printers and they seem to go out of their way to ensure that their hardware works with most Unix/Linux versions. And so it was that the printer connected and worked almost immediately, and with a small manual upgrade of HP’s great HPLIP program ( the latest version of which also supports their scanners ) the scanner also worked flawlessly as well.

For those looking for more detail on how this can be done, I recommend Ubuntu’s own Forum where they discuss this very thing – ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=870293

So now I have a scanner and two color printers as well as a laser printer that all work perfectly… With every step I become more and more independent of Microsoft and I have to admit it’s kind of liberating.

Can’t wait to see what happens next.

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