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Re: EPSON appreciates your feedback by June 30, '03 - Debian

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"Farideh Sherbaf" <Farideh@eitc.epson.com> wrote:

> Dear Linux Developer and Distributor,


> Please allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Farideh Sherbaf and
> I am your contact for EPSON Worldwide Developer Relations for scanners
> and All-In-One (Multifunction) products.   The EPSON Developer
> Relations Group would like to obtain your feedback on your support of
> scanners in the Linux environment.

I am the maintainer of the SANE packages in the Debian distribution ;
nice to see some communication from Epson Kowa !

<SANE maintainer hat on>

> Your prompt answers to the following questions are appreciated
> (Yes/No):
> 1. Do you include the SANE backend (scanner driver) within your
>    Linux distribution package?  

Yes. This is a must-have for any Linux distribution that wants to be
used on the desktop.

> 2. Which SANE frontends  (applications) do you include within your
>    Linux distribution package?

The standard frontends from the SANE project are available (scanimage,
scanadf, xscanimage, xcam, saned), along with XSane, QuiteInsane and

> 3. Do you include Epson's Image Scan! for Linux?  (Image Scan! for
>    Linux is a graphical frontend for Epson scanners.)


Although further explanation does not seem to be requested by your
survey, let me explain why the Epson Kowa backend and frontend aren't
included in Debian.

To be included in the Debian distribution, a software basically needs
to fulfill 2 conditions :
 - its license must be considered Free by Debian (see [1] for details)
 - somebody has to volunteer to maintain the packages

The latter would probably be no problem for the Epson Kowa softwares
if the former point was fulfilled.

The Epson Kowa Public License that covers the distribution of the
Epson Kowa softwares isn't Free ; it forbids reverse-engineering or
any form of analysis of the binary-only modules that ship with the
software. This is the first showstopper.

The second one is that the source distribution ships binary-only
modules, which makes it impossible to build the softwares for anything
else than Linux/x86 ; in its latest release, Debian supports 11
hardware architectures, and portability is something very important
for us.

We have a special section in our archive for softwares that do not
meet our requirements in terms of license, but are nonetheless freely
redistributable and potentially useful to our users ; it's the
non-free section. Should somebody be willing to maintain packages of
the Epson Kowa softwares, they could be included in the non-free
section. However, note that the non-free section isn't distributed on
the release CDs.

Now, apart from this, looking at my 6-months-old notes on the subject,
it seems that the scanners supported by the Epson Kowa backend are
already supported (to some point) by the regular SANE backends. The
same applies to the frontend, with the powerful frontends already

Again, my notes are somewhat dated by now, so feel free to correct me
if I'm wrong on this point.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.



[1] <http://www.debian.org/doc/debian-policy/ch-archive.html#s2.1.1>

 Julien BLACHE - Debian & GNU/Linux Developer - <jblache@debian.org> 
 Public key available on <http://www.jblache.org> - KeyID: F5D6 5169 
 GPG Fingerprint : 935A 79F1 C8B3 3521 FD62 7CC7 CD61 4FD7 F5D6 5169 

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