Dear HP,

I bought a ScanJet N6350 a few years back, in the belief that it would work. After all, you write free Linux drivers for all your printers, and when those printers are multifunctional printers with scanners, you do make sure the scanner bits of those printers work too. So it shouldn't be too hard to write a Linux driver for that scanner too, right?

Apparently it is. For some reason that I can't imagine, you decided that my money is worth more than my stress levels.

  • The HP ScanJet N6350 is a combination USB/network scanner. That's great; I don't need it to be right next to my laptop all the time. Having the ability to get it sent to me by email (as your product page claims it can do) reduces my workload. Unfortunately, what you didn't mention on the product page is that the scanner is pretty dumb; it does network, yes, but the only way in which it can send emails is by using some application running on a system on the other end of the network connection. That's pretty silly. It wouldn't be so bad, however, except...
  • ... the system on the other end of the network connection has to be running Windows. That's right, you didn't write a Linux driver for some reason. You also didn't publish the network protocol, and even the USB connection seems undocumented. So I can't use Linux to scan my documents. It wouldn't be so bad, however, since I already have a Windows XP virtual machine lying around somewhere, mainly because there's this satellite navigation system builtin to my car that also requires it; I just installed your scanners oftware on that machine, and I can scan. Except...
  • ... whenever an error occurs in the scanning process, the UI locks up completely. I can't retry the last page that I was trying to scan, and often I can't even save the document anymore, either; I have to rescan the whole document. That wouldn't be so bad, except...
  • ... the ADF is total crap. If I put more than a few pages on the feeder, and they've got some horizontal folds in them (as is likely with snail mail that came out of an envelope), I'm very likely to end up with a paper jam, or with multiple pages sucked into the feeder at once, causing an error and a loss of my scanned document. That wouldn't be so bad, except...
  • ... the process for finishing one scan and starting the next involves stopping and starting your whole scanning software, which takes a rather long time. As such, I'd prefer to just scan a whole stack of incoming snail mail in one go, and then use pdfsam to split up the PDF file. But then I have to babysit the scanning process so that I don't get any errors; but I fail at that about as often as I succeed, meaning, it usually takes a long time to get through the stack.

Dear HP, you suck. I fail to understand how the basic loss of functionality after a failed scan managed to get through your testing. I fail to understand why you think Linux users should be able to print, but not scan. And I especially fail to understand why I should waste my time with such an expensive device that can't even perform its basic functionality with more than 10% success rate.

On another HP scanner
At work, I have a HP LaserJet 3050 MFU. Under linux, it works as it should, even with network connection. However, Windows guys hate it. HP didn't produce a 64-bit Windows 7 compatible scanner driver that can talk to this thing over the network. So you are not alone.
Comment by Alexander E. Patrakov Tue Apr 9 18:58:38 2013
Brother

My Brother DCP-9010cn works quite well from my Debian machine. Brother supply (unfortunately closed source, as far as I know) a .deb with the sane drivers.

They did the same thing with the e-mail, but I can actually scan via the network. The ADF also mostly works.

Printing is just a matter of shooting postscript at it, which only requires the usual magical incantation in /etc/printcap.

Comment by Kristof Provost (kristof@sigsegv.be) Tue Apr 9 21:14:40 2013
reverse engineering
Please spend some time reverse engineering the protocols so that future users of these devices (that run proprietary operating systems) can use them easily.
Comment by foo (foo@bar.commm) Wed Apr 10 02:13:03 2013
Check with gscan2pdf

Hi,

I recently checked on the gscan2pdf mailing list, which vendors do provide scanners with good linux support (i.e. open source drivers):

"One of the admins for the SANE project seems to do a great deal of work on Fujitsu devices - they are a probably a good bet."

http://sourceforge.net/mailarchive/forum.php?thread_name=CACg2wbxY9te4UROfba-AoS2wm2aP-6p7uX4LpOvekOp4JVbuPQ%40mail.gmail.com&forum_name=gscan2pdf-help

I go for them, though my usecase might not fully match yours.

Rainer

Comment by Rainer Dorsch Sat Apr 13 07:29:17 2013