I bought a used Epson scanner from some guy in the area of Houston, because this scanner has complete support in free (as in ‘libre’) software. Newer scanners tend to require a ‘closed-source’ module, if they have any support at all; I’d rather avoid that, and hopefully the resolution of this scanner will give me enough magnification (of printing, in particular). The scanner arrived with the carriage unlocked but seems to have taken no damage. But damn-it the thing wouldn’t work. Finally in the wee hours I found just the right page, where successful Ubuntu GNU/Linux users of this scanner say that something is wrong with the USB 2.0 in the scanner, and you need to use USB 1.10 hardware, or Firewire. So Kristy and I went to Target to get a Firewire cable. Doesn’t work out of the box, but I discovered that with Firewire the scanner will show up as if it were a SCSI device, and that I needed to build the generic SCSI driver (Gentoo is an OS for people who like to do that sort of thing themselves). Seems to work with both ‘libre’ software and the trial edition of Vuescan.
On my old computer I had an actual SCSI connection to my scanner, so I was familiar with the generic SCSI driver for use with scanners.
This ‘new’ scanner produces much better pictures than my old one, at a given resolution.
Now to start scanning type specimens....
Oh, also I discovered that there is now GNU ocrad for ‘libre’ OCR. There was already GOCR, but in the one case I tried ocrad did a better job. I’m reluctant to start OCR work again, though, because in the past digitizing books has been bad for my hands, due to all the correction and tagging work.
Update: On a different occasion, gocr did better than ocrad did. Trial version of Vuescan did an awful job by comparison, and froze up afterwards.