Using scanner buttons on Ubuntu with scanbd (part 2/2)


Successfully tested on Ubuntu Server 10.04 LTS 64-bit

Few days ago, I described how to build and install scanbd. Now, it needs to be configured to perfectly suit the scanner it’s used with. As you’ll see, you have some very interesting possibilities with a four buttons scanner such as the EPSON Perfection V200 Photo.

First, install xinetd which will allow to use scanbd as a wrapper:

apt-get install xinetd

Create a sane-port service configuration file /etc/xinetd.d/sane-port with the following content:

service sane-port
socket_type = stream
server = /usr/local/bin/scanbd
server_args = -m -c /usr/local/etc/scanbd/scanbd.conf
protocol = tcp
user = saned
group = saned
wait = no
disable = no

Stop saned service

service saned stop

and disable it as it will now be launched through xinetd/scanbd. Just modify /etc/default/saned as follows:


Now, restart xinetd:

service xinetd restart

It should return:

 * Stopping internet superserver xinetd                             [ OK ]
 * Starting internet superserver xinetd                             [ OK ]

Next, create your own /usr/local/etc/scanbd/scanbd.conf file (keep the original file, just in case…) to describe the available actions (buttons) on your scanner model. The configuration file I created for the EPSON Perfection V200 Photo is available here.
Copy the scanbd.debian initialisation script located in scanbd source directory to /etc/init.d/scanbd and install its link using the following command:

update-rc.d scanbd defaults

Make sure all the backends except the SANE network backend are commented out in /etc/sane.d/dll.conf:


Uncomment the following line at the end of /etc/sane.d/net.conf:


Comment out the SANE backend for EPSON scanners in /etc/sane.d/dll.d/iscan:


Create a /usr/local/etc/scanbd/dll.conf file including the following line:


Copy (don’t move!) /etc/sane.d/epkowa.conf to /usr/local/etc/scanbd/epkowa.conf.

Copy /etc/sane.d/saned.conf to /usr/local/etc/scanbd/saned.conf.

Then, verify that you have no access list entry configured in /etc/sane.d/saned.conf and add one in /usr/local/etc/scanbd/saned.conf to restrict access to local subnet hosts only (adapt to your own network configuration):

Now that scanbd is configured for both local and LAN hosts access, let’s continue with the most interesting part of the configuration: The script executed when each button is pressed. You’ll find here the one I use to manage the 4 buttons “Start”, “Copy”, “Email” and “Pdf” available on the EPSON Perfection V200 Photo. Save it as /usr/local/etc/scanbd/ and make it executable with a chmod 755 command.

In association with my scanner model, this script offers the following functions:
– Single page scan to JPEG
– Instant copy (scan to printer)
– Email creation with JPEG or multi-page PDF attachment
Multi-page PDF creation
All this using only the scanner front buttons!

The buttons usage is explained at the beginning of the script file, along with some variables (such as SCANDIR and PRINTER) you’ll have to modify according to your needs. Also make sure to have imagemagick and mpack packages installed. If not, install them:

apt-get install imagemagick mpack

Scanbd setup is complete now but I added a last refinement. Having xinetd always running on the server, just because of the scanner buttons, bothered me (I don’t have any other service depending on xinetd). I updated the existing udev rule (previously added to assign the scanner to the saned group) to automatically start/stop the internet superserver when turning on/off the scanner, respectively. All you have to do is to replace your existing “scanner” udev rule (mine was /etc/udev/rules.d/40-saned.rules) with the following file and disable xinetd, scanbd and saned startup scripts using the following three commands:

update-rc.d xinetd disable
update-rc.d scanbd disable
update-rc.d saned disable

If ever you have other services depending on xinetd and only want to stop the scanbd service, take a look at the chkconfig package.

That’s all Folks!

(Thanks for the help, bro. You’re da man!)

For further reading, see scanbd website and Gentoo udev Guide.

Using scanner buttons on Ubuntu with scanbd (part 1/2)

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Successfully tested on Ubuntu Server 10.04 LTS 64-bit

After the successful installation of my scanner, I discovered with frustration that the four hard buttons of the device were not supported by the default backend. Few days later, after thorough searches, I installed an old scanner buttons polling daemon called scanbuttond and found out it was conflicting with saned, the daemon used to share the scanner over the network.

I was about to give up when I came across the scanbd project. This clever daemon opens, polls, locks the scanner and then acts as a kind of proxy which manages all further access to the device by any other application, thus avoiding possible conflicts.

I had a hard time installing and configuring scanbd but it was worth it. I’ll describe the steps I followed in two separate posts. Today’s post will explain how to compile scanbd with EPSON Perfection V200 Photo support and my next post will be about its complete configuration, including a nice script which perfectly manages the scanner four buttons.
So, let’s start by downloading the latest source code from scanbd project website:

wget link_to_latest_scanbd_source_code

Make sure the /usr/local/src directory exists and is writable by your primary user account. Then, unpack the file:

tar xf scanbd_source.tgz -C /usr/local/src

Scanbd can use SANE or scanbuttond backends. Unfortunately, the epkowa (SANE) backend which is used to control the EPSON Perfection V200 Photo does not fully support the front buttons. Therefore, I had to look for a compatible backend… and I found one, thanks to

To patch scanbd to use this specific backend, cd to the directory where you extracted scanbd source code and modify scanbuttond/backends/Makefile by adding references to epson_vphoto as follows:

all: ... epson_vphoto.c epson_vphoto.h

Then, download the epson_vphoto backend and extract it to the same current scanbuttond/backends directory.

Finally, add the following line at the end of scanbuttond/backends/meta.conf:


OK, we’re almost ready to compile but, as Ubuntu does not come by default with the compilation tools required, we’ll need to install them first:

apt-get install build-essential checkinstall

And while we’re at it, let’s also install some specific packages needed to compile or use scanbd:

apt-get install libconfuse-dev libusb-dev libudev-dev libdbus-1-dev dbus

Now, build

USE_SCANBUTTOND=yes make -e clean all

and install:

USE_SCANBUTTOND=yes checkinstall --deldesc=yes

When asked for, you can enter the following packaging informations (modify according to your version):

This package will be built according to these values:

0 -  Maintainer: [ Wilhelm Meier <> ]
1 -  Summary: [ Scanner button daemon ]
2 -  Name:    [ scanbd ]
3 -  Version: [ 1.2 ]
4 -  Release: [ 1 ]
5 -  License: [ GPL ]
6 -  Group:   [ Misc ]
7 -  Architecture: [ amd64 ]
8 -  Source location: [ scanbd-1.2 ]
9 -  Alternate source location: [  ]
10 - Requires: [  ]
11 - Provides: [ scanbd ]

Enter a number to change any of them or press ENTER to continue:

VoilĂ ! Package is built and install is done. We’ll take care of the complete configuration in part 2.

That’s all Folks!

For further reading, see scanbd website and CompilingEasyHowTo of the Community Ubuntu Documentation.

Sharing a scanner over the network with Linux

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Successfully tested on Ubuntu Server 10.04 LTS 64-bit

A scanner installed on the server and only accessible locally through the command-line is not very user-friendly. Sharing it over the network to use it from Linux with GUI, Windows or Mac OS X clients would be a great step forward. That’s what we’ll do today.

First, make sure sane-utils is installed by issuing:

apt-show-versions -a sane-utils

If not, install it with the apt-get install command.

Then, configure saned, the daemon used to allow remote clients to access the scanner over the network. Modify /etc/default/saned to enable it:


Edit /etc/sane.d/saned.conf and add the following line to restrict access to local subnet hosts only (adapt to your own network configuration):

Restart the daemon

service saned restart

and make sure it will start automatically at boot up:

update-rc.d saned defaults

Now you should be able to remotely access the scanner on the local network using, for example, SaneTwain on a Windows client. Download and install it following the instructions on the website and you’ll quickly hear the carriage moving and see your first preview image on the screen.

That’s all Folks!

For further reading, see XSane website. It’s an open source graphical scanning frontend which can be installed on multiple platforms and perfectly works with saned.

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