Penguin Eyes

So, how many of you use webcams under Linux? What webcam makes and models do you use? How easy is it to set up a webcam and on which distributions? How many different Linux APIs, frameworks, or outright hacks exist for reading data from a webcam?

49 Responses to Penguin Eyes

  1. Kyle Brantley says:

    There’s one API for webcam access under linux. It’s aptly named “Video4Linux.”In the kernel config, Device Drivers –> Multimedia Devices –> Video for Linux.It’s good stuff, any webcam or any video input device will use this API, meaning you don’t have to code anything specific per device, just code to the V4L API.

  2. Using a “Best Buy”, “Easy Snap Snake Eye” (officially not supported) and with no drivers it works great at ubuntu. But like Kyle said, it’s the V4L API.

  3. djurban says:

    I am using labtec webcam driver: can work with it via V4L apparently.

  4. Jure Repinc says:

    I’m using some no-name Chineese webcam and it works out of the box in Mandriva Linux 2006. It also uses the Video4Linux from the kernel and I mostly use it in Kopete IM app.

  5. Leo S says:

    I use a Logitech Quickcam 4000. Works using V4L I suppose. It loads the pwc kernel module. Kubuntu Dapper. Shows up fine in camstream, and sometimes kopete, but doesn’t work in amsn.

  6. quintesse says:

    Using an old Philips webcam, it “just works” in Linux.NB: Philips doesn’t support this camera anymore so no drivers for WinXP and installing the Win2000 drivers make it blue-screen, so in this case too I’m very happy with my Linux system πŸ™‚

  7. Crispibits says:

    Using an old Logitech quickcam express on Ubuntu, works perfectly, and uses – guess what? – V4L… I detect a common thread here πŸ™‚ Good luck with the player – no pressure!

  8. Lunarcloud says:

    $20 aiptek pencam works beautifully. Plug-and-play. I don’t have any friends who use gnomermeeting, nor msn webcam… so i dont use it often, but it is there when i wanna use it.

  9. pzz says:

    Actually newer API has been available for couple of years called Video4Linux 2 aka V4L2 and in the future apps should move on to this API.I have Logitech Quickcam 5000 (most fresh table webcam from Logitech) and kernel driver for it (from requires applications to have V4L2 support. KDETV and Gnomemeeting have it at the moment.

  10. Lionel Tricon says:

    I’m using logitech Quickcam 4000 too since it works great with ekiga abd the new pwc driver from seillard homepage. The v4l api is the best way to go.

  11. I use a philips toucam. It works quite well on most distros that have the ov511/v518 drivers pre-installed.Otherwise, a quick google – ./configure&&make&&make install solves it well.V4L/V4L2 support is a must IMO. The JMF java framework supports most models of webcams under linux thanks to V4L.

  12. superstoned says:

    I had to install a package (came with my distribution), spca5xx (google…) to get my webcam to work, a no-name thing. took me a minute google to find out what i needed, and 20 sec to install it…

  13. Brandon Drummond says:

    I’ve been using a logitech quickcam for notebooks. It’s also supported under usb video class driver ( mentioned above. As the previous poster stated it requires V4L2 rather than the antiquated V4L. I believe there is a measure of backward compatibility built into V4L2. If one were considering starting a new project or adding support to an existing project I would certainly suggest using V4L2 rather than V4L. I *believe* (though not certain) there has been talk of deprecating V4L. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

  14. Alan Pater says:

    I have tried 3 different webcams, with mixed results. 2 use V4L, the other uses firewire and only works with Ekiga using libpt-plugins-avc.The Creative branded webcam uses the spca5xx module, updated via EasyCam on Ubuntu. Colours are kind of washed out.The older 3 Com HomeConnect also loads a module (viCam), but it has a lot of trouble even displaying an image. At there is an updated module, which I have not been able to build…

  15. Kai F. Lahmann says:

    good old Quickcam Express – and V4L. I’d say support V4L and V4L2 and don’t even try to work arround some proprietary shit – maybe that helps to force some people to stop inverting the wheel again and again…

  16. We have two logitech QuickCam Express webcams, using the spca5xx V4L driver. They work out of the box with Ubuntu 6.06 Dapper. (Just fire up any V4L enabled program and it works without any configuration.)You should be able to just support V4L and V4L2 and it’ll work with any webcam with linux drivers. I have actually had better success with webcams on Linux than with Windows.MWM

  17. aent says:

    While most webcams use v4l or v4l2, not all do. My opinion on the best way to do this is to use GStreamer’s API. It can take in anything as a source that has a plugin, including both v4l and v4l2 which already have plugins for it, just like for audio/video output. To avoid having to keep up with the v4l, v4l2, and whatever APIs and as other OSes such as BSD support more webcams, it will allow a simple plugin for them to be written for them as well. gaim-vv used GStreamer to support webcams as well. I say GStreamer for both webcam support and for audio output support and don’t worry about anything else. The GStreamer community will write and maintain input and output plugins for all the audio/visual technologies that develop in the open source world.

  18. nonnano says:

    I am not using a webcam with Linux because I’m fed off with the lack of HD features. I’m a quality freak and a lot of software like Ekiga are just plain crippled and the silly 80s standards of picture characteristics are bolted down…

  19. marc says:

    [ OT ] With my respect, a suggestion about the Linux Flash Player port strategy: make a task force with Novell, RedHat, KDE and Gnome people, to get feedback and orientation about technical hurdles and to learn how to meet user needs. Also, concentrate on the corporate user needs, because there will be the entry point for Linux ( i believe the home user needs are secondary here ). And very important: tell Adobe to put $$$$ in this and to take it seriously if they really want to compete with Microsoft in terms of multi-platform support of Adobe products ( learn from Google, don’t be another Corel ). Adobe must hire managers, engineers and developers to assist you in this. I have an impression that you are alone in this huge task.

  20. 1. to detects the webcam, use HAL.HAL will allow you to list all video devices ( webcam, tv cards, … ) which will be accessible through /dev/videoX. You will be able to give a list of the webcam ( with Model Name, Manufacturer ), which is more beautiful than asking to select /dev/video, /dev/videoX, …2. To access the webcam ( or the tv card ), you can use then V4L API ( or V4L2 ).Please see programs like gnomeeting/ekiga and kopete that have webcam support

  21. Concerning HAL support, you should have a fallback solution ( if HAL not available, then use /dev/video ).To avoid to add a hard dependency on HAL ( may not be available on others platforms ), the best way is to use runtime dynamic linking.It means that to compil the application you don’t need HAL ( and so don’t need to add it as a dependency or put it in static ).When the application start, you try to load the library with dlopen, if it fails, then you fall back to /dev/video, Else you use HAL to have the list of webcam, propose the user to select the right one, etc ….more informations about runtime dynamic linking ( with dlopen ) : the API doesn’t change, you will not have issue. You may have to have version support in order to keep track of HAL API change.I forgot previously the link to HAL homepage :

  22. MB says:

    Using Logitech Quickcam messenger, it’s plug and play in ubuntu.

  23. shadows says:

    I’m using a cheap creative model (it doesn’t have the name on the webcam) and I’m using the spca5xx drivers under Ubuntu.

  24. Jon says:

    I use a digital camera that’s hooked upto my TV card (which works plug and play as a V4L device).

  25. Matthew Manning says:

    Does anyone actually need or even use this webcam feature? I think the Linux community as a whole would be tickled pink if there was just a realease that could work with youtube and other basic services without crashing/sync/soundcard issues.

  26. MrEcho says:

    Who the hell even uses the mic/cam in linux?Just give us sound and video!

  27. get real says:

    why would you ask this? who the hell did Adobe hire? google for god sakes. don’t be an idiot.this my friends is why we don’t have a port.Coming up next week:”Dynamic or static linking? and whats the difference between kernels? do I need to code to these .deb and .rpm thingys?”

  28. satempler says:

    The spca5xx driver supports 212 of web cams you can check what ones work here also have the ones that don’t. They all use V4L

  29. florizs says:

    The webcam I use is a Sweex, it works directly via V4L without problems.I’m totally addicted to programming games in flash with webcam-functions. So this feature would be great in my opinion.

  30. Due to the reverse-engineered nature of most v4l/v4l2 drivers under linux, not all grabbers support both v4l and v4l2. Also, note that you may have to handle setups like mine, which has 2 TV tuners and a webcam, all three of which appear as v4l devices, and most programs get a bit confused as to the video input…

  31. Jim says:

    I use a webcam in linux, but I don’t see any point in Flash interacting with my webcam. Even when I was using Windows I didn’t ever have the need for this type of interoperability.Please, don’t make webcam features a priority that will extend the development time of flash 9 for Linux. Every day that goes by there is more and more content that is completely inacessible to Linux users. Like others have stated, right NOW we just need basic functionality to view webpages coded in flash 8/9 without the crashing and audio problems that exist in Flash 7.

  32. Tioneb says:

    I use a Trust 320 sp@cecam. It doesn’t work initially under Linux and v4l. It needs a hack to treat the JPEG format of that webcam. Then it works perfectly

  33. Hi there!I know that this is a little bit off-topic:Right now the Flash Player 9 released for Windows (32 bit). When will you release the same version for Linux? I think that a 64 bit version may require more time than the 32 bit one, but the 32 bit version quite is used more often.Thanks in advance and regardsMarc from Germany

  34. MBro says:

    I use a zstar webcam. Nice little camera, the zc0301. It has a built in mic. In Ubuntu I had to install a new version of the driver but now in Dapper it runs fine off of v4l. It works great plug and play.

  35. Richard John says:

    Logitech Quickcam Zoom – in Windows you have to download some massive bloatware to get it to work, in linux it runs out of the box (Ubuntu and Debian)

  36. TreviΓ±o says:

    I use a Creative Labs Webcam 5, but it needs pwc modules (generally for philips cams)…It’s well supported by V4L e V4l v2 πŸ˜‰

  37. TonyB says:

    I Use an Eyetoy web cam for a PS2. It has an ov519 chip and needs a special hacked ov51x driver to work. also have a bt879 card.Both cards appear to work with v4l and v4l2, although I have been unable to get to make my bt879 work using v4l libs because of some color thing, but I learned v4l programming in C in one weekend (i already knew C though), blissfully unaware of the existance of v4l2. πŸ™‚

  38. n3ldan says:

    I’m using a Logitech Quickcam Zoom (I think) with V4LSurprisingly it worked perfectly out of the box on Ubuntu.

  39. MartinS says:

    All my webcams interface using v4l/v4l2.I agree with previous comments and suggest to move to using GStreamer.That way you “outsource” the hardware/API related work to the GStreamer plugins and can focus on having audio/video in/out within the flash player plugin easily.You won’t have to deal with “Which API to use? What sound system to use?” and you are heading for a linux standard.Everything supported by GStreamer now or at some point in the future will be usable without you having to touch the flash plugin again.

  40. dukeinlondon says:

    I am using a webcam with spca5xx driver. but supporting v4l should be enough. It’s enough for wengo anyway.

  41. Phoenix says:

    Get you god damn priorities straight. No one gives a toss about the webcams

  42. Niomi says:

    I use a Creative Labs Webcam and it ‘just works’ in linux with amsn and camorama, haven’t tried it with anything else. That said, the drivers are much better in windows, and the skype cam feature (not available in linux) is much better than MSN.

  43. Tux says:

    I’m using a Logitech Quickcam IM. It’s 1.3 megapixel, and can capture full on video at 640×480. I got it brand new at Wal-Mart no more than a month ago for a cheap $50. Thanks to Logitech devs, it’s supported in the latest release(s) of the spca5xx driver. It works great in V4L v2. Used it on the following kernels:2.6.15-gentoo-r12.6.16-gentoo-r92.6.16-beyond-r32.6.16-suspend2-r82.6.16-suspend2-r92.6.17-gentoo-r2

  44. Kevin says:

    I use the old Logitech QuickCam, using the driver, the picture ain’t great, but it does work out-of-the-box with FP7.Keep up the good work!Kevin.

  45. Patrick says:

    I have Logitech’s QuickCam IM as well on Ubuntu Dapper. Using the VLC media player V4L capture tab, I am able to record video and audio from it. Unfortunately there’s a synch problem with the video lagging behind the audio. Anyone know what the cause of this might be?

  46. Ste says:

    I use flash 9 beta and it works fine in Ubuntu, Suse and Elive- Elive 0.5.2 comes with it- everything media and web just works in that distro and it is enlightened…Not bothered about my webcam never really use it anymore, the novelty wore off. Video 4 Linux works great with my Quickcam though.

  47. Anonymous says:

    Bus 002 Device 002: ID 0ac8:305b Z-Star Microelectronics Corp.I’m using the spca5xx driver.

  48. Mihai Bazon says:

    Logitech QuickCam for Notebooks Pro. Works with “linux-uvc” driver (for standard USB video devices), even though the driver is in early stage.Add my vote for webcam support in Flash Player for Linux.Can I vote more than once? :-p

  49. macewan says:

    I’m using creative webcam live.