External peripherals can be connected through a wide variety of ports, but three of the most widely used and flexible ports are USB, RS-232 serial, and parallel ports. Collectively, these three ports support keyboards, mice, modems, scanners, printers, removable disks, and many other devices. Knowing how to optimize each port type can help you get these peripherals working at their best. As basic input devices, keyboard and mouse configuration are particularly critical to your system's operation. You can adjust factors such as keyboard repeat rate, keyboard layout, and support for wheel mice using a few configuration files and commands. Scanners are just one of many types of external peripherals, but their configuration is often less obvious than that of other devices, such as printers. Fortunately, Linux has good support for scanners in its SANE package. Making a few small changes to configuration files should enable you to scan images in Linux, provided you have a supported scanner.

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