SANE is an application programming interface (API) that provides standardized access to any raster image scanner hardware. The standardized interface allows to write just one driver for each scanner device instead of one driver for each scanner and application. The reduction in the number of required drivers provides significant savings in development time. More importantly, SANE raises the level at which applications can work. As such, it will enable applications that were previously unheard of in the UNIX world. While SANE is primarily targeted at a UNIX environment, the standard has been carefully designed to make it possible to implement the API on virtually any hardware or operating system.
SANE is an acronym for “Scanner Access Now Easy.” Also, the hope is that SANE is sane in the sense that it will allow easy implementation of the API while accommodating all features required by today’s scanner hardware and applications. Specifically, SANE should be broad enough to accommodate devices such as scanners, digital still and video cameras, as well as virtual devices like image file filters.
An application that uses the SANE interface is called a SANE frontend. A driver that implements the SANE interface is called a SANE backend. A meta backend provides some means to manage one or more other backends.