Skanning with Kooka

Torsten Rahn is ebullient about a
KDE program for scanning using
SANE called
"This is a real
nice productivity-app proving that it's easy to create extremely useful
apps for KDE 2 with relatively little work."

Details below.


Kooka is a raster image scan program for the KDE2 system.

Using kooka may damage your hardware !

It uses the SANE libraries and
the the KScan library,
which is a KDE 2 module providing scanner access.

KScan and Kooka are under construction. Don't expect everything to work
fine. If you want to help, send patches to [email protected].


The best way to describe an app is often with screenshots:


Kookas main features are:

  • SANE
    • Scanner support using SANE. Kooka does not support all
      features that SANE and its backends offer. It takes a small subset of the
      available options.
    • Kooka offers a GUI to change the most important scanner options like
      resolution, mode, threshold etc. These options are generated on the fly,
      depending on the scanner capabilities.
    • Kooka offers a preview-function and the user can select the scan area
  • Image storage
    • Kooka provides an assitant to save your acquired images.
    • Filenames are generated automatically to support multiple scans.
    • Kooka manages the scanned images in a tree view where the user can
      delete and export images.
  • Image Viewing
    • Scanned images can be viewed by clicking them in the tree view.
    • The viewer has a zoom function.
  • OCR: Kooka supports Joerg Schulenburg's
    gocr, an open source
    program for optical character recognition. Kooka starts the OCR program
    and displays its output. Best results with bw-images scanned with ~150 dpi.

Kooka is being maintained by Klaas
and can be found in kdenonbeta together with KScan.

Dot Categories: 


by Ash (not verified)

Cool, now if only I didn't have a paralell scanner : (

by Andrea Cascio (not verified)

But some parallel scanners are supported by SANE, so they shoud work with Kooka Have a look at

by Tom Philpot (not verified)

Looks great! Will it be integrated into the KParts framework? How cool would it be to be in KWord and have a button to scan in a document and have it OCR'd and then opened in KWord for correction and editing? All without leaving KWord!

Keep up the great work! I look forward to hearing more about this project... Now, maybe if I could just find the $ to get a scanner :)

by KDEer (not verified)

How about a system in kio?
scanner://1 would result in a directory with two files
(for the scanner #1)

  • A file containing the scanned file as a graphic
  • A file containing the scanned file as ASCII text
    That way you could open it with ANY kde app!

    Also, how about OCR support in other
    places. Say, download an image online, run it
    through a KDE prog, and get text.

by Klaas Freitag (not verified)

There were discussions about that already. I dont like the idea to have just one image in a directory scanner:/1, because one image is not enough. Should it always be the last scanned image or should it be scanned on the fly ?
You mostly need more than one try to get a cool scan result. Thats why I favour a scan application more than a kind of filesystem.

Kooka saves your scan results automatically into a 'special' directory. Future releases will be able to save descriptions like date, caption etc. beside the images.

I would like the idea that scanner:/1 leads you to that directory where you are able to manage your image pool. And that's hopefully fairly easy, because that should only be just a symlink to Kooka's image save dir or a bookmark ;-)

by Christian Naeger (not verified)

Hi. Looks really cool, I like it. 2 hours ago, I just finished my university project on Handwriting OCR. As far as I have seen on the web page, gocr, the OCR engine, does not use neural networks but a more classic approach. I would like to dig into the source but I just started my thesis -- so little time :-(

by Bernhard Vornefeld (not verified)

This description sounds indeed very promising.
A special point of interest for me lies in image storage. Kooka seems to be prepared to handle extensive scan jobs. (By the way: are automatic document feeders supported?).

Automatic generation of file names can be a good aid, but another option would make it even better:
Semi-automatic embedding of metadata. There are a few approaches of handling metadata availabe right now:

It would be really a relief for document storage and retrieval, if the handlig of metadata would available in KDE-Applications. Kooka could mark the start, pixie, konqueror etc. to follow.

by Klaas Freitag (not verified)

Thank you very much for the links.

Yes, I tried to design kooka to handle mass scanning with approbiate scanners. SANE offers drivers for Fujitsu and Bell and Howell by now, maybe that improves ?

ADF-Support depends on SANE. If a SANE driver supports ADF, kooka also should. There is already something coded (see massscandialog.cpp), but not yet finished and tested, because I do not have an ADF (yet).

Automatic file name generation is just a starting point. The interface to the object, which stores the images, was designed as 'slim' as possible to allow the implementation of storage objects as required: Handling XML, database connections or whatever. Barcode and/or form recoginition for metadata generation should also be possible.

by Hannes Kruger (not verified)

I have been looking for this for a while. Thanks.
Any chance that you may include an interface to the HANDWRITTEN recognition system from NIST.

by Klaas Freitag (not verified)

Hannes, I dont know what NIST is, but handwriting recognition sounds very interesting to me. Is there any open source software existing already?

by Christian Naeger (not verified)

The NIST Public Domain OCR System Release 2.1 is at:

It recognizes handprint characters only (in german: Druckbuchstaben). Perhaps it can be included in the Recognition engine. Chris

by Jay Austad (not verified)

This is just what I'm waiting for. I'm writing a little KDE app that requires scanner support. Will Kooka work as a Kparts plugin type thing? I need to be able to call it to import the image into my app.

Does Kooka have auto selection of the media being scanned? (if you insert a 4x5 picture, will it autoselect the picture at the edges, or do you have to do that manually?)

by Chris (not verified)

I was just wondering about why the ability to save as a tif file hasn't been included in kooka ?
You can scan in binary/b&w mode but what format can it be saved in as a b&w image file ?

The scanimage command has the option to output as tif.

A great job has been done on the app, with a lot of progress.

G4 compressed tif files are small and can be at 600dpi, quite easily. I
used to work for a company supporting professional printing packages that work
with the G4 tifs so because of size and quality. A 600dpi uncompressed
binary tif, can be 4.2M, a greyscale tif is 34M so when a G4 compressed tif
is around 90K, it is a huge difference in size. G3 compression reduces it
to about 200K. A 600dpi pnm file is also 34M, binary is 4.1M, Jpeg greyscale
is 3.2M, binary is about 1.3M. A long way from 90K, so unless for license
restrictions, it seems silly to me, not to be able to save as a G4
compressed tif from xscanimage or kooka, hence the script.

I found a way for this script to work with whichever sane scan device you
may have, though not perhaps the most beautiful, it works and I adapted it
to output to G4 compressed pdf to. 2 scripts which I saved to my /usr/bin



echo "Usage: tifscan {nameofimage.tif}"

#test to see if a filename has been entered
if [ $# -lt 1 ] ; then usage ; exit 1 ; fi

#Read output of help command to get scanner device name
scanner=`scanimage --help | tail --lines=1 `

echo Now scanning your A4 document on $scanner

#scan the A4 binary(b&w) file uncompressed at 300dpi to temporary file
scanimage -d $scanner --mode binary --resolution 300 --quick-format A4
--format tiff >temp-$name

#Use tif utility to convert the temporary binary tif to a G4 compressed tif
and then delete the temporary file
tiffcp -c g4 temp-$name $name
rm -f temp-$name

# display resulting G4 tiff file
kfax $name



echo "Usage: pdfscan {nameofimage.pdf}"

#test to see if a filename has been entered
if [ $# -lt 1 ] ; then usage ; exit 1 ; fi

#Read output of help command to get scanner device name
scanner=`scanimage --help | tail --lines=1 `

echo Now scanning your A4 document on $scanner

#scan the A4 binary(b&w) file uncompressed at 300dpi to temporary file
scanimage -d $scanner --mode binary --resolution 300 --quick-format A4
--format tiff >temp-$name.tif

#convert to pdf with G4 compression
tiff2pdf temp-$name.tif -p A4 -q G4 -o $name

#display pdf
kghostview $name


by Christopher Booth (not verified)

The script didn't work with the 2.4 kernel, because of the way USB detects the scanner.
In 2.4 kernel 3 devices are listed for my 1 scanner

epson:/dev/usb/scanner0 epson:/dev/usbscanner0 epson:/dev/usbscanner

whereas under 2.6 only one scanner is listed.


So swap the line which says :
scanner=`scanimage --help | tail --lines=1 `


scanner=`scanimage --help | sed -e 's/ /\n/g' | tail --lines=1 `

or even better

scanner='scanimage -f %d | sed -e 's/0/\n/g' | tail --lines=1 '

which should work on 2.4 or 2.6 kernel, plus hopefully others



by Dr.V.shivakumar... (not verified)

Respected Sir,
I am Dr.V.Shivakumar Sharma writing to you from India, Karnataka State, Mysore City. I saw your site, found it highly intersting and valuable information also.
Please furnish me some details for my personal usage:
1. I need a software to compress my researched pdf results, they are occupying a lot of
2. I am facing a lot of problems for keeping my pictures in the tiff formats also. they are also occupying a huge amount of space.

Can u please let me know the solution for the above problems and hence the reduce the size for the pdfs and the tiffs and help me Sir.

Hope to do a healthy and longstanding longstanding business relationship with Professionals lilke You Sir.

Dr.V.shivakumar Sharma
Direct: +919845120010

by Danny Staple (not verified)

Okay - I have built some improvements on this script, turning it into a small bit of perl.

# pdfscan, adapted from post by Christopher Booth, 2004
# Adapted by Danny Staple, 2006
use Term::ReadKey;

sub usage()
print <temp-$outputname-$count.tiff`;
$cpargs = "$cpargs temp-$outputname-$count.tiff"

} while(user_has_more() == 1);

print "stitching...\n";
`tiffcp $cpargs temp-$outputname-all.tiff`;

#Look at multiple page scans - either from a preset parameter, or an interactive prompt, using the tiffcp command

#Convert to a B&W tiff as well, and pass through ocr. Filter out non-dictionary

print "outputting\n";
#convert to pdf with jpeg compression - pass in our image stream
print `tiff2pdf temp-$outputname-all.tiff -j -p A4 -o $outputname`;

for my $i (1..$count) {
unlink("temp-$outputname-all.tiff") or print ("Failed to remove output file\n");
#display pdf
#kghostview $name
I am sure it could still be done in sh, and there are comments with stuff I may do later. If there is no objection from Chris, I may pop this onto berlios as an open source project. I have planss for this - meanwhile, it is now the core of my document scanning.


by Danny Staple (not verified)

How annoying - the posting system removed all my indenting. And there was me thinking posters just neglected it...

There is a bug there - the $temp on the unlink in the loop should actually just be temp, no dollar sign.