Webcams in Linux


Gone are the days when getting webcams to work under Linux was a distant dream. Until recently I was myself under the illusion that //very few// (if any) webcams work under Linux and even if they do, what good would they be since I wouldn’t be able to use them with Yahoo or MSN or NetMeeting.

Take a look at the [[http://mxhaard.free.fr/spca5xx.html|list of supported webcams]] here. And this is just using **one** driver. Several Philips and Logitech webcams are supported using the [[http://www.saillard.org/linux/pwc/|pwc]] and [[http://www.ee.oulu.fi/~tuukkat/quickcam/quickcam.html|qc]] ([[http://qce-ga.sourceforge.net/|alternative]]) drivers. I just noticed yesterday that my two years old Creative Webcam NX-Pro was also supported by the spca5xx driver. Excited, I got home and plugged the webcam in and voila! //It just worked ™!//

I then went on the test the webcam with [[http://camorama.fixedgear.org/|camorama]], [[http://ekiga.org|Ekiga]], [[http://openwengo.com|Wengophone-NG]] and of course, my beloved [[http://kopete.kde.org|Kopete]]. Infact, I was even able to broadcast my webcam on Yahoo using Kopete! Suh-weet!

Readers who are going “so whats the big deal, we’ve been doing this in Windows for years” must realize that all this has happen **without any** (or little) cooperation from the vendors and manufacturers. This is reverse engineering at its best. Imagine how good desktop linux can be once vendors start endoring and supporting products the way they release drivers for PC and Mac.

So if you have a webcam lying around and you wished it worked on Linux, give it a spin. In all probability, it just will :-)

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