Scanner Access Now Easy

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Basic data

Publishing year November 27, 1996
Current  version 1.0.30
( May 17, 2020 )
operating system Unix derivatives
programming language C.
category Graphics software
License GNU General Public License & public domain
German speaking Yes

Scanner Access Now Easy , SANE for short, is a free programming interface (API) for accessing imaging devices such as scanners , digital cameras , video cameras and others via various interfaces ( USB , SCSI etc.). It is mainly used under Linux , with portings to OS / 2 or eComStation , macOS and Windows . It is an alternative to TWAIN as a programming interface.

The application and utility programs belonging to the distribution are under the GNU GPL , but the interface description itself is in the public domain .


In contrast to TWAIN, the functionalities of the front-end and back-end are strictly separated with SANE .

The task of the backends is to communicate with the respective image capture device via one of the numerous supported interfaces ( USB , FireWire , SCSI , parallel interface or serial interface ). There are also backends without a physical image source, e.g. B. to generate white noise or any other image data from a process or an image file. There is also the special net backend (see below). Regardless of their implementation, all backends provide a uniform interface for addressing the sources they support, which forms the core of the SANE definition.

The front ends represent the part of the workflow directed towards the user and are usually integrated into an application program. Thanks to the standardized interface, all front-ends can be used with all back-ends without problems; the options available are only limited by the actual capabilities of the image source (resolution, color depth, with or without single sheet feeder, slide changer, etc.). The saned belonging to the project is a special form of a front end (see below). The SANE distribution already contains some ready-made front ends, such as B. the program scanimage , with which images can be automatically read in a script without the need for a graphical user interface.

Examples of front ends

Frontends can be limited to the simple reading in of images as well as offer more extensive functions.

  • scanimage is a simple command line program
  • xscanimage is the X11 version of it and serves as a scan plug-in for the GIMP
  • Xsane is a GTK + -based program, of which there is also a port for Windows.
  • Kooka is a KDE 4 - offers program for scanning, the integrated support for different OCR programs
  • gscan2pdf is a Gnome program that can scan very easily and generate PDF files directly from the collected images.
  • In addition to cameras, Digikam also supports the SANE interface.
  • Simple Scan is a simple program for scanning under GNOME
  • skanlite is a simple program for scanning under KDE Plasma 5 .
  • Tame is the front end for OS / 2 and eComStation .
  • WIASANE is a WIA driver for Windows , which enables and requires the use of a SANE network service.

Network scanner

The division of tasks between the backend and the frontend makes it relatively easy to operate a scanner available in the network via SANE. The supplied daemon saned accesses the scanner's backend as a special frontend and provides its services via TCP / IP (on port 6566). At the other end of the network, the net backend acts on the local front end and takes care of forwarding all data to the daemon. The result is that all other front ends and thus also application programs do not need any adjustments in order to use one (or more) network scanners.

SANE does not offer any protection for access to the scanner, there is no authentication or authorization, all data is transmitted unencrypted. Use can be limited using TCP wrappers or through a secure tunnel via SSH . Thanks to the net backend, only changes to its configuration are necessary, not the programs used.

Auxiliary programs & additional information

  • a video source project similar to SANE is Video4Linux
  • The gPhoto project also exists specifically for access to digital cameras
  • sane-find-scanner can search for locally connected scanners, even if they are not (yet) configured correctly
  • scanadf for the command line
  • flscan (Fast Light Scan)

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. .
  2. SANE Backends 1.0.30 security bug fix release . May 17, 2020 (accessed May 25, 2020).
  3. ^ The sane Open Source Project on Open Hub: Languages ​​Page . In: Open Hub . (accessed on October 19, 2018).
  4. Information about the program gscan2pdf on