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Kooka, a KDE Scanning/OCR Application

Kooka has been removed from the kdegraphics module for KDE4 (since mid-2007), this is because it had had little active development or maintenance for some time before that. But there is still interest from users, see for example 17 Jun 07 and 1 Feb 2008.

Now would be a good time to introduce myself: Jonathan Marten, the current Kooka maintainer. I was motivated to volunteer for this after having got a new networked scanner (an HP OfficeJet all-in-one) and finding that it didn't work with Kooka, although it did with Sane. Getting it to work with Kooka was a fairly simple fix, but it was obvious that there was a lot more in the application that could be improved.

Don't panic! Although Kooka is no longer present in KDE4, scanning is still available via the kolorpaint and KOffice applications among others. These use the libkscan library which is still present in kdegraphics.

Current Status

There is still a lot of documentation and other information on the original Kooka web pages. My intention is that content will eventually migrate to these TechBase wiki-based pages. For the moment this page provides information on the current state of Kooka, and instructions for downloading and building the development (SVN) version.

Future Plans

A new KDE scanning application Glimpse is being developed by Kåre Särs. This includes a new library libksane which has a number of advantages over libkscan, including access to all scanner options and 16-bit scanner support. In the long run my aim is to convert Kooka to use this new library.

In addition to that, obviously, the application needs to be ported to KDE4. The dock widget user interface that it currently uses is not supported in KDE4, as well as being rather clumsy and unreliable (see bug #71252 and its many duplicates). I'm currently considering changing the user interface to a task oriented system for the three main tasks ("Scan", "OCR" and "Gallery"), with a tab for each task. The panes used for each task will be arranged using splitters. All of the sizes and arrangements will be fully configurable, of course.

libksane is for KDE4 only, so the port will have to be done before the conversion to that library.

Having done all of these changes and ported to KDE4, Kooka may appear in extragear - or even an official KDE release - one day!

Running the Development Version

If you want to try running the latest development version of Kooka, it is available from KDE SVN. If you are not familiar with SVN then instructions are below; you do not need an SVN account unless you will be contributing code yourself, although you should be familiar with compiling and installing from source. See the TechBase articles Anonymous SVN Quickstart Guide and Using Subversion with KDE for more information on SVN.

The development version is at branches/work/kooka-kde3, if you just want to browse the files you can do so using the KDE WebSVN. To check out a copy of the current sources, do the following:

 cd [to a suitable place, e.g. your home directory]
 svn co svn://

This will download the current sources to a subdirectory kooka-kde3. To compile and install them, do the following:

 cd kooka-kde3
 make -f Makefile.cvs
 ./configure [with any options needed, you should not need to use any]

If this is all successful, you can install the Kooka application and libkscan library by doing:

 su root -c 'make install'

This will overwrite your existing Kooka application, its UI file and icons. However, it will not overwrite the original version of the libkscan library so as not to break any other applications which may use it. The new libkscan library will get installed with a new version number. After doing the install, you can run the new Kooka application with the command:


or from the desktop or K-menu in the usual way.

You may need to install some additional software or packages (your distro may call them "development" packages) to obtain SVN, and the autoconf/automake framework that Makefile.cvs uses.

Reporting Bugs Or Problems

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