The Webcam HOWTO

Howard Shane

Revision History
Revision 1.612005-02-21Revised by: jhs
Update on revived Philips Webcam driver development
Revision 1.62005-01-02Revised by: jhs
Errata fixed, some rewrites for readability, new chipsets and updates
Revision 1.12004-01-12Revised by: jhs
Update for 2.6 series kernel release and info on NW802-based webcams
Revision 1.02003-12-04Revised by: JP
Initial Release / Reviewed by TLDP
Revision 0.52003-11-07Revised by: jhs
Final revision after v4l mailing list feedback
Revision 0.12003-10-12Revised by: jhs
Initial draft posted

This document was written to assist the reader in the steps necessary to configure and use a webcam within the Linux operating system.

Table of Contents
1. Introduction
1.1. Copyright Information
1.2. Disclaimer
1.3. New Versions
1.4. Credits
1.5. Feedback
1.6. Conventions Used in this Document
2. Enabling Support for Your (Webcam) Hardware in Linux
2.1. Drivers and Modules
2.2. Supporting the Connection Type
2.3. Specific Webcam Models
3. Accessing the Video Device
3.1. The Video Devices Node
3.2. Groups and Permissions
4. Framegrabbing Applications
4.1. Command Line Programs
4.2. GUI(Grapical User Interface)-Based Programs
5. Troubleshooting
5.1. Help, I have a USB webcam and don't know exactly what model it is and/or who the manufacturer is. What do I do?
5.2. Help, I can't find the camera device in /dev!
5.3. Help, I can see the camera device (both in person and as a device node in /dev), but I can't access it!
5.4. Help, my camera has a driver that is source-only, i.e., has to be built by me! Where do I start?
5.5. I am using Debian GNU/Linux. Is there an easier way to go through all this kernel compiling stuff and building of source modules?
5.6. Help, my camera is supported by a driver that has to be patched into my kernel! What do I do?
5.7. Help--as in, where can I get more of it?
5.8. Help, I want to contribute to Video4Linux support in Linux! Who do I get in touch with?
A. Gnu Free Documentation License