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The site where I downloaded the firmware from, hasn't been updated since 2007, and is no longer maintained.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).

  • Because drivers
    – Falmarri
    Oct 15, 2010 at 17:28
  • 3
    Could you rephrase your question a bit so it is clearer how to answer it? Like it is now, I don't see a more reasonable answer than "Life sucks".
    – fschmitt
    Oct 15, 2010 at 17:51
  • 2
    Because some vendors are f***ers?! Seriously, a lot of scanners just works under linux, i.e.\ just plug-in, start gimp and the xsane dialog automatically finds and supports the scanner. Oct 16, 2010 at 11:31
  • Truthfully, If you found that firmware in that SANE page, the rights to redistribute was granted by the vendor. It was stated in that page, but it would be better if some effort was made to get those files in a package somewhere. At least then they wouldn't disappear forever. Feb 5, 2012 at 1:51

3 Answers 3


One reason why some firmwares aren't packaged/included is that sometimes there is no license that allows that, or there is a license that doesn't allow that.

It seems like in this case, the author of the driver has permission to distribute those files, but there is no info about redistribution (so somebody should ask Mustek for a license that clearly states that is allowed).

  • I'll accept that as answer, since it gives the best statement to the question. However, the issue with USB-Scanners is horrible, and one of a kind.
    – polemon
    Mar 11, 2011 at 16:42

In most cases, its the variety of drivers that aren't around. And unlike graphics cards, wireless cards (nowadays) and printers, scanners aren't used by the majority of users, so there isn't as much effort put into them.

  • and even those of us who have them, haven't used them in years. I don't even know if mine still works, or where it is to be honest. worked fine on linux ~6 years ago. Jan 10, 2011 at 14:30

You could always keep an old version of your favourite OS for this task with the old drivers, running in a VM (e.g. VirtualBox).

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