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I have Kodak i1120 document scanner. Driver is available for windows only. But an application named Vuescan managed to run it on Linux ( tried on Ubuntu 11.10 and 10.04 ).

How they had managed to do so ? Is it possible to use Windows scanner driver on Linux ?

Same as that of ndiswrapper for wireless media

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VueScan contains its own scanner driver code, written by the program's author, Ed Hamrick. It isn't somehow using Windows drivers on Linux. It takes a lot of work to reverse engineer and maintain the protocol drivers in VueScan, which is why the product is worth what Ed is asking.

If you must use a Windows scanner driver for some reason, the best bridge I know of is SaneTwain. It is not like ndiswrapper, letting you use the drivers directly. If such a thing existed, I rather suspect it would require WINE as a dependency, since the Windows TWAIN scanner model seems to assume that the TWAIN driver provide a UI for the scanner, too. Instead, you run SaneTwain on a Windows machine, and it provides a network interface that SANE on a Linux box can talk to. You can do this within a single machine by setting up a Windows VM and attaching the scanner to it.

In the end, I think buying a VueScan license makes more sense.

VueScan has another advantage you might not realize. Several times now, VueScan has saved me from having to buy a new scanner. It's sadly common that a scanner manufacturer will refuse to issue updated drivers when a new OS comes out. Unless you have been buying really cheap scanners, it's usually cheaper to buy a VueScan license, which will still talk to that old scanner as long as it can talk to the raw I/O port the scanner uses. I'm still using a $1000+ film scanner I bought way back when film still made sense, moving it from machine to machine as I've upgraded. The other times I've seen VueScan solve essentially the same issue, it was relatives who had upgraded thir PC since they bought their last scanner and were trying to get the old scanner to work with the new machine.

Disclaimer: I'm the guy who convinced Ed to port VueScan to Linux. I'm a long-time VueScan user, from the days when it was Windows-only.

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