Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Could Better Support Scanners Compliant With Apple AirScan
Written by Michael Larabel in Ubuntu on 8 January 2020 at 01:33 PM EST. 3 Comments
Apple AirScan is akin to their AirPrint technology for supporting various printers from Apple devices without the need for specialized drivers. Multi-function printers compliant with AirPrint also need to implement AirScan for scanner functionality, thus opening up most of today's multi-function printers to supporting this scanning standard. Ubuntu 20.04 LTS could end up supporting AirScan nicely thanks to new SANE back-ends.

Till Kamppeter who is manager of OpenPrinting and has been working under contract for Canonical on Ubuntu printer/scanner functionality appears to be aiming for enabling this AirScan support. In this week's desktop update for Ubuntu, Kamppeter wrote:
driverless (or standard-based?) scannning: Tested new SANE backends (“airscan” and “escl”) for scanning on multi-function devices which do Apple AirPrint, as they then also do Apple AirScan. Did many tests for the authors to debug the backends so that my HP DeskJet 2540 scans this way. This will enable scanning on most modern printer/scanner multi-function devices and also allows USB scanning via ippusbxd. Note that this is not PWG’s IPP Scan standard.

SANE-airscan is an independent AirScan driver for the Linux SANE (Scanner Access Now Easy) interface. SANE-escl is similar in supporting the eSCL protocol for AirScan/eSCL multi-function printers / scanners.

Among the many multi-function devices this AirScan open-source support enables for scanner support out-of-the-box are the HP Envy 4500, HP DeskJet 2540, Canon D570, Brother MFC-J890DW, Canon TS3150, Epson ET-4750, Xerox Versalink C7020, and many others. On the printing side, Ubuntu has already shipped with AirPrint for a few years and earlier versions back to 2011.

Assuming this testing goes well and the support gets integrated timely into Ubuntu, enabling easier scanner support thanks to AirScan would be another useful feature for the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS release due out in April. But for now these SANE back-ends can be built from source using the links above for Ubuntu and other distributions.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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