Iscan and Slackware 15.0

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Iscan and Slackware 15.0

Slackware Linux 15.0 was officially released the 3rd February 2022 concluding a 5 year long development cycle. A long incubation period resulting in the introduction of a lot of improvements and some differences from the previous 14.2 release. Many system libraries were subject to an upgrade to newer versions, many other introduced ex novo ad some removed for good due to their old age. Graphic libraries were no exception, the whole graphic stack was subject to renewal and modernization. All of this will sadly present as a problem for every user who, like me, still uses perfectly functioning but somewhat old hardware and devices: an Epson V200 Photo scanner for example.

In the past I used both Iscan, short for Image Scan, an image scan suite provided by Epson, and Sane / Xsane, the scan software included in many Linux distributions and other versions of UNIX. I therefore thought I would go on with the very same software, maybe updating it to the latest available release, with Slackware 15.0 too after upgrading. In the following article I'll review my experience and the issues I had to solve in order to make my Epson V200 Photo scanner work with the 64 bit version of Slackware 15.0.

Slackware 15.0

The current Linux distribution includes:

  • sane-1.0.32.
  • xsane-0.999.

While the previous stable release 14.2, included:

  • sane-1.0.25.
  • xsane-0.999.

these are evidently small differences and I was therefore confident that the transition would be pretty painless, requiring just a little time needed to build Iscan and the scanner required plug-in. I was due for a scorching disappointment resulting in several days of failed attempts and compilation work.

The SlackBuild Scripts

To scan images many Epson devices require proper software, proprietary firmware and libraries to load it into the scanner, when the device is recognized by the operating system. I've been maintaining build scripts for all three parts:

  • Iscan-data.
  • Iscan.
  • Plug-in.

for the past years. To speed up the installation, in order to test the device as soon as possible, however, I choose to use the build scripts available in the repository because they are up to date and include some patches needed to successfully tie Iscan to modern versions of the JPEG and PNG libraries. I was in for the first bad surprise: the scripts build the software just fine, but the resulting packages do not include the configuration files required for the components to communicate with one another. The second bad surprise is the absence of a common script for plug-ins. Not one, but two scripts are provided: one for the firmware and a second one for the libraries required to load it. The scripts are useful to adapt the source code to modern libraries included in Slackware 15.0, but the resulting packages are useless. Ultimately the scanner is not detected neither by Iscan nor by Sane.

My Version of the SlackBuild Scripts

Taking advantage of what I learnt from the previously mentioned scripts, I updated my set adapting them to Slackware 15.0 and integrating the patches available in the Arch portal, another great Linux distribution with a huge repository filled with optional packages. The resulting packages gain the required configuration files and scripts to fill them in during the installation. Sadly, once installed, the scan software cannot connect to the scanner. The same goes for Sane, that detects no USB scanner. Apparently the problem is not related to the build scripts, but arises from one of the compiled components. Unfortunately, after some days spent in testing and unsuccessful attempts, I'm still unable to diagnose the issue. Luckily I found a workaround.


In order to study what changed between Slackware 14.2 and 15.0, I installed the package set of the former on the latter and the scanner started working right away. It seems the problem, whatever it might be, arises while building and is restricted to the latest Slackware Linux release. I'll try to provide more details when they will be available. For now I can only suggest whoever is experiencing issues having his/her Epson scanner detected by Slackware Linux 15.0 to install and test the packages linked in the page " Iscan and Slackware 14.2" of this web site. Plug-ins are available from the Epson support center download page, or the Arch Linux repository. The former requires extracting the rpm from a tar.gz archive, containing some other pretty useless software, then converting it using the script linked here, while the latter provides some deb packages requiring a manual conversion to the Slackware package format.


I'm still at work on more tests, but for the time being the only tip I can offer to use Iscan with Slackware Linux consists of installing the package set built for the old 14.2 release, they work for me. If and when I'll figure out how to solve the issue, I'm going to post the solution and the related details in this same page.

For any feedback, questions, errors and such, please e-mail me at studiosg [at] giustetti [dot] net

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Languages: English - Italiano