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December 2000

The Free Files

By: Klaus Staedtler von Przyborski © December 2000

PMEURO: http://www.warphouse.de/
PMADRESSEN: http://www.bnro.de/~nolte/os2warp/tools.htm
ASPIROUT.SYS: http://archiv.leo.org/pub/comp/os/os2/leo/drivers/misc/aspir101.zip
ASPIRB2.ZIP: http://home.clara.net/orac/files/os2/aspirb2.zip
EMX: http://archiv.leo.org/pub/comp/os/os2/leo/gnu/emx%2bgcc/emxrt.zip
SANE 1.01: http://hobbes.nmsu.edu/pub/os2/apps/graphics/scan
SANE 1.03 (Paul Floyd): http://paulf.free.fr/software.html
SANE 1.03 (Franz Bakan): http://home.tiscalinet.de/fbakan/index.htm
FESANE: http://hobbes.nmsu.edu/pub/os2/apps/graphics/scan
JSANE: http://hobbes.nmsu.edu/pub/os2/apps/graphics/scan
GBM: http://www.interalpha.net/customer/nyangau/
PGCC-OS2-2.95.3-GCC: http://goof.com/pcg/os2/download.html

With this being the third volume of 'The Free Files' I hope there's no need anymore to explain what it's about. Those who still want to know may read one of the earlier volumes.

At the beginning I've got an addendum regarding Vol. 2 of this series:

PMEURO by Carsten Müller has been released in version 1.6, now offering the ability of updating the exchange rates online. I wonder why such a solution hasn't been there until now. It's simply ingenius. My only wish: even more exchange rates...



Besides this, at last I found a really useful, neat and lean address-database: PMADRESSEN 2.1by Thomas Nolte. It even offers an export function (but unfortunately no import). Non-German users, however, are left standing out in the cold because PMADRESSEN is exclusively available in German, and at this point I recognize that (as a 'foreign' German in Austria one just can't help but recognize this) PMADRESSEN lacks an entry field for countries. There is not even an entry field for the area code. And since I'm already being critical: BeOS icons may be nice, but I prefer those according to the OS/2 guidelines (16x16, 20x20, 32x32 and 40x40 pixels with 16 colors) and the OS/2 style. Now this is enough of my grousing, because according the the Deutsche Bank, which uses OS/2 on a large scale, these are only 'peanuts' [translator's note: a few years ago the Deutsche Bank stated the loss of credits worth 50,000,000 Deutsche Mark through the bankruptcy of a real estate tycoon, was peanuts].

Some of you may have asked yourselves why I'm not writing about OS/2 and all those nice tools available, such as how to optimize the system, etc? Well, what I haven't done so far I might do in the future, but at the same time I think it would be a bit like 'l'art pour l'art'. We already know that OS/2 is the 'best' operating system. Besides, I consider it more important to write about applications. What else do I need a computer for? For messing around with your computer Linux is better by far. Therefore I'll continue with:

Copying and archiving (SOHO, part 2)

When I was involved with a study in social sciences, the female trainees for an office job criticized the monotonous character of their future job because it would mainly be 'copying and archiving'. With OS/2 this is unfortunately neither routine nor monotonous, but rather promises some excitement.

To copy documents or pictures which are not yet available in a computer-readable format, a scanner is needed if you don't want to bother with using additional steps like sending them via FAX. So the whole excitement starts already: which one works with OS/2?

A selective summary can be found at: http://www.warpdoctor.org/lib/info/scanner.html.

After a short look at it one will find out that several models only - or better luckily - work with SANE. However, Scanner Access Now Easy always had a strong by-touch of irony to me. A port to OS/2 of SANE (initially developed for *X) exists and it's a good idea to start with the latest version 1.01 by Yuri Dario. If it doesn't work for you, try using an older version.

One prerequisite to get SANE running is (with a few exceptions) a thoroughly installed SCSI host adaptor which is supported by OS/2. The 'lite' ones you often find bundled with the scanner most often do not work.

Also needed is the ASPIROUT.SYS driver and the EMX runtime library 0.8d by Eberhard Matthes.

The following entries should appear in your Config.sys:

(dependent on the location of ASPIROUT.SYS)
If you really want to be on the safe side add:
SET EMXOPT=-h120 (or higher value)

After a reboot (with your scanner switched on of course, though some SCSI drivers allow the scanner to be switched off after system boot) you're ready to start. With 'find-scanner.exe' you can figure out how to 'talk' to your scanner. The result it delivers (e.g. b1t510) must be written into the corresponding device.conf file (device = brand name of your scanner, e.g. mustek.conf). Those who don't want to delay any longer may now immediatrly do a scan by typing 'scanimage -d device >image.ppm'. It is, however, more convenient to first have the available possibilities (max. scanning size, resolution, options, etc.) written in a file by typing 'scanimage -d device --help >device.txt' which can be viewed by any text editor. Unfortunately you might find results that don't fit your hardware in every respect (my scanner for example doesn't allow gamma correction etc.). Thus your first task will be to try it out. To make this procedure not all that difficult, it's a good idea to write one (or better several) cmd scripts with any text editor, here's an example:


scanimage -d mustek --mode color --gamma-table 5 -l 5 -t 5 -x 35 -y 42 --resolution 300 > D:\OS2SCAN\colour.ppm

The last line also serves as an example of the 'biggest obstacle' when using SANE. Up to version 1.01 SANE exclusively writes its output in pbm, pgm, pnm and ppm format. The only viewer available for OS/2 working flawlessly with these formats is the well-known and highly recommended PMVIEW, that, unfortunately, is not available for free. The freely available Generalized Bitmap Module GBM 1.1 by Andy Key it is true handles ppm etc., but it sometimes failed on the SANE output.

If using cmd files for a longer time is either too burdensome or too simple, you can chose between several frontends for SANE. First is the well-known PMSANE 0.52. For sure this is the most elaborated frontend, but unfortunately it's also the most problematic. Since there is no further development in sight, I can't give any recommendation. Very good and useful are JSANE by Frank Schmittroth (if somebody wants to get in contact with him, despite his German sounding name, he only speaks English), an interesting implementation done in Java, and FESANE 0.02 by Pete Brown.

FESANE offers the additional option to scan into PMVIEW directly, and you can watch the image appearing during scanning process. A little tip: FESANE has an option to adjust the scanning velocity which does not work with most scanners since they can't handle numbers but only 'normal', 'fastest', etc. If this is the case for you, the entry field 'Speed' must be set to 0. The biggest advantage of these frontends however is also their biggest disadvantage: though they work together with most of the scanners supported by SANE, they don't provide an interface to most of the scanner-specific options (e.g. gamma correction, top-light units etc.).

Very brave or desperate people still have the opportunity to use SANE 1.0.3 which is currently available in two beta versions either from Paul Floyd or Franz Bakan. For me, at least the binaries from Frank Bakan work exceptionally well: at long last scanimage quits automatically after scanning, Tiff is supported as a new format (--format tif), that can be viewed even with the OS/2 system viewer... My only complaint is that even fewer options are available for my scanner than with SANE 1.0.1. To get SANE 1.0.3 working, you need the dlls included in PGCC-OS2-2.95.3-GCC.ZIP together with the new Aspirout.sys (ASPIRB2.ZIP) by Paul Ratcliff, which is still in beta.

And more good news: Goran Ivankovics and I are currently developing a new frontend named TAME/2for SANE which already supports the new features of 1.0.3. Using it is fairly easy, thanks to the additional scrollbars for picture size or resolution, and all scanner-specific options will be accessible. In internal tests TAME/2 already works almost no errors and the scanner database with its options is currently being built with the kind support of other users. Dr. Pollack kindly enhanced his FAXVIEW to display, convert, and edit the graphics formats pbm, pgm, pnm und ppm, so that a free viewer will be included. The final completion of a public beta actually depends on my (always too little) spare time, but maybe it now exists with the release of this issue of the V.O.I.C.E. Newsletter.

To be continued (archiving)...

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