QuickCam Messenger

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You want to set up your webcam with Linux, see a video stream from it and learn which applications you can use with it, right? Then this article is for you. It has been tested with SUSE Linux 11, but should work for other configurations as well.

Tested webcams

The following webcams have been found working with this tutorial:

  • Logitech Quickcam messenger
  • Philips Webcam SPC220NC

A general list of working webcams can be found at http://mxhaard.free.fr/spca5xx.html.

Load the driver

To find out what driver you need, call

hwinfo --usb

In case of the Logitech Quickcam Messenger the answer will be like:

06: USB 00.2: 0000 Unclassified device
  [Created at usb.122]                
  UDI: /org/freedesktop/Hal/devices/usb_device_46d_8da_noserial_if2
  Unique ID: Eopr.vE+cdFBwClB                                      
  Parent ID: uIhY.uOe2OKugI8D                                      
  SysFS ID: /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1a.2/usb3/3-1/3-1:1.2      
  SysFS BusID: 3-1:1.2                                             
  Hardware Class: unknown                                          
  Model: "Logitech QuickCam Messanger"                             
  Hotplug: USB                                                     
  Vendor: usb 0x046d "Logitech, Inc."                              
  Device: usb 0x08da "QuickCam Messanger"                          
  Revision: "1.00"                                                 
  Driver: "snd-usb-audio"                                          
  Driver Modules: "snd_usb_audio"                                  
  Speed: 12 Mbps                                                   
  Module Alias: "usb:v046Dp08DAd0100dc00dsc00dp00ic01isc02ip00"    
  Driver Info #0:                                                  
    Driver Status: quickcam_messenger is active                    
    Driver Activation Cmd: "modprobe quickcam_messenger"
  Driver Info #1:                                                  
    Driver Status: gspca is active                                 
    Driver Activation Cmd: "modprobe gspca"
  Config Status: cfg=new, avail=yes, need=no, active=unknown       
  Attached to: #20 (Hub)

This means you can install and load the webcam driver like this:

yast -i gspcav-kmp-default
modprobe gspca

Now you should see a video device:

ls /dev/video*
/dev/video  /dev/video0

That means you can install and start your webcam-viewer-software. We choose gqcam:

yast -i gqcam

It works. You see a video what from what is going on in front of your webcam.

How to use it

  • to capture video streams, use the software mencoder:
mencoder tv:// -tv driver=v4l:width=320:height=240:device=/dev/video0 -nosound -ovc lavc -o myvideo.avi
  • to do IP phoning, use skype.
  • to watch your camera's input, use gqcam.

Other webcams

If you have another webcam, try the above nevertheless. If it does not work, exchange the driver gspca against uvcvideo:

zast -i uvcvideo_kmp_default
modprobe uvcvideo

and start gqcam again.

See also