I've run into this problem yesterday, after about six months or so, where I used my scanner for the last time. I've installed a new Linux in the meantime.
I have a Mustek BearPaw 1200 CU Plus. It's an old and quite cheap scanner, but it's been working for over six years now, so until it breaks, there's no need to replace it.
In order to make this scanner run, I have to get a
PS1Dfw.usb, which is the Firmware, that needs to be loaded every time before scanning onto the device. After installing sane and the backends, and putting the firmware into
/usr/share/sane/gt68xx/, I could scan the pages I needed.
But why is this such a pain? Printers aren't that hard to connect to Linux, so why's that with scanners? And why aren't the firmware's in a package or something?
The site where I downloaded the firmware from, hasn't been updated since 2007, and is no longer maintained. What if it finally goes offline, do we lose support for all gt68xx based scanners?
Any advice on how to make this simpler is welcomed (I don't use my scanner that often, and I usually do a new installation of the OS in the mean time. Then, when I do need my scanner, it's all looking up how to make that damn thing work all over again).