[sane-devel] Current project status

Paul Menzel paulepanter at users.sourceforge.net
Thu Feb 7 12:23:17 UTC 2013

Dear SANE folks,

a German saying is »Aller guten Dinge sind drei.« (All good things com
in threes.) [1], which I use to justify spamming you with messages
today. And I promise that this is the last thread starting message for
this Thursday.

TLDR: Sorry for spamming you when just having subscribed.

Trying to investigate a segmentation fault of Simple Scan [2], I ran it
under Valgrind and to my surprise several memory leaks were reported
also in SANE 1.0.22 (Debian Sid/unstable).

Thinking of SANE as one of the crucial projects for the FOSS desktop and
all users depend on it for scanning and its age, I would have expected
it to nearly being bug free after all the testing it is getting.

Then looking at the bug tracker a lot of bugs are open and then I looked
at bug

    [#313848] Cppcheck full report

and the Debian Cppcheck project [4] and a lot of possible errors are
reported by the static code analyzer. Valgrind would probably even find

Not to talk only negatively, for most users SANE seems to do the job.
But it looks like there are still some users with problems and
unfortunately that are the reports which people remember when they say,
Microsoft Windows or Apple stuff works better than GNU/Linux desktops.

I guess the answer to why these issues are not dealt with are easy: lack
of developers/contributors. In the end people have to think about their
real life and do not have time anymore. Especially this is hard when the
team is not big.

Other indicators for me as an outsider are only one release per year for
example. As a Debian user I also noticed that Julien Blache does not
seem to have time anymore to maintain the Debian package.

Also looking at the Git commit messages they are very short which is
especially bad for outsiders trying to investigate bugs. The Linux
kernel, the Git project or for example – shameless plug – coreboot [5]
require much more elaborate commit messages and at least Linux has a big

I will stop here and come to the topic.

Seeing SANE as a crucial project, should not Canonical (Ubuntu), Suse or
RedHat pay one or several developers to take care about this and to deal
with the reports and developments.

At least infrastructure for continuous integration (build tests) and
static code checks could be provided by them.

My point in the last years a lot of tools have become available for FOSS
projects (or have been improved) so that quality assurance can be done
by machines, so that developers/contributors can focus their time on

Did somebody offer such a service to the SANE project already?

Or do I talk complete nonsense and everything is fine?



[1] http://de.wiktionary.org/wiki/Aller_guten_Dinge_sind_drei
[2] https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/1053616
[3] https://alioth.debian.org/tracker/index.php?func=detail&aid=313848&group_id=30186&atid=410366
[4] http://qa.debian.org/daca/cppcheck/sid/sane-backends_1.0.22-2.html
[5] http://www.coreboot.org/
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