I compiled a new kernel (2.4.18) with USB support. I grabbed the latest stable SANE (1.0.7) and built it.
Got through all the suggestions in the notes on the Epson 1640, which is the new scanner sitting on my desk... yeah, the modules Do The Right Thing, etc etc. i did the right thing to dll.conf and epson.conf. yep, it's there in /proc/bus/usb, in fact sane-find-scanners says:
sane-find-scanner: found USB scanner (vendor = 0x04b8, product = 0x010a) at device /dev/usb/scanner0
Apparently scanner.c has a buncha errors before that that seem to be due to its probing my other SCSI device as a scanner. they just go to log tho.
xsane says "no devices available"
[xscanimage] No scanners were identified. If you were expecting something
different, check that the scanner is plugged in, turned on and
detected by sane-find-scanner (if appropriate). Please read
the documentation which came with this software (README, FAQ,
ugh. maybe i'll have better luck with the scsi drivers? i just need a cable. and i guess to start over. but of course the notes i have didn't talk about that. Or am I just forgetting something stupid?