I’ve done the research and finally I found a negative film scanner which works with gnu/Linux (ubuntu). Its the Maplins Film and Slide Digital Scanner. It works exactly how I would expect it to. You scan the slides into the memory of the machine or even on to a SD card then you connect the whole device to a pc via usb port to transfer the images out of the device.
The only issue I’ve seen is, you can’t scan while the device is connected to a pc, which is a pain because it charges/powers over USB (even ejecting the device doesn’t help). The device has a total of 30meg of on board storage is pretty shocking specially when your scanning photos at 5 mega pixel. Of course adding the SD card (it doesn’t support SDHC either) you can get loads more space.
The device is great, it did cost £50 but you can pretty much do most of the scanning while sitting on the sofa. Now if only there was a quicker way to scan through my long history of camera negatives. I got about 60 negatives to go.