If you use an old USB scanner with a Mac, you’re probably unhappy with the out-of-date drivers offered by the manufacturer. (Chances are it runs in the “Classic” interface, famously replete with Chicago typeface.) Luckily, the opensource community is developing a solution: the TWAIN SANE interface for MacOS X.

SANE logo“SANE” stands for”Scanner Access Now Easy.” (Looks like someone put the acronym before the horse, if you catch my meaning.) I’ve installed it myself, and it works well enough. I have two major gripes, however: (1) the preview image does not automatically update as I adjust contrast and gamma, requiring me to sit through a “Preview” each time I nudge the settings; and (2) the gamma table interface is so geeked out that it displays the mathematical formulas of the curves instead of a human-readable legend.

Here’s a quick installation guide:

  1. download and install libusb
  2. after installation, libusb will unpack sane-backends.pkg; install it
  3. install TWAIN SANE Interface

SANE should now appear in whatever program you normally use to scan your junk. In Photoshop, you can find it under File » Import » SANE....

Read more about SANE project SANE-project.org.