An ode to Gnome’s Document Scanner

When working for clients, I encounter a lot of software that is simply painful to use. There are so many poorly designed computer programs out there. That’s why I’ve been wanting to write about Gnome’s Document Scanner for a while. It’s one of the few programs I actually look forward to using. It’s perfect.

Gnome’s Document Scanner application, seen here running in Linux Mint.

Document Scanner is part of Gnome, a Desktop Environment for Linux, that is used by popular distributions like Ubuntu and Mint. It’s GPL-licensed open source software.

At some point, Document Scanner was called “Simple Scan”. There were a couple of other things called that, but the name sums it up pretty well. It allows you to scan documents, and save them. And it does not have tons of complicated settings, or integrated document management solutions. There are other applications that do that. Document Scanner was created to do one job and do it well.

Document Scanner’s settings screen.

What’s most impressive about “GDS” is that is has exactly the correct number of settings. All the basics are there, and nothing else. Good UI design and Open Source don’t always go hand in hand, but when they do the result is glorious.

Scan done.

When I started using Linux, things like setting up printers and scanners used to be complicated, and driver support problematic. That has since been corrected, and setting up my new Brother all-in-one just required me to hook it up. No further steps needed. And with an app like Document Scanner, Linux is now my favorite platform for document scanning.

Roy Tanck
I'm a freelance WordPress developer, designer, consultant, meetup organizer and speaker. In my spare time I love to go out and take pictures of things.

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