WebCam on Linux


I have a web camera that had been gathering dust for nearly six months, primarily because I was under the impression that drivers were not available for linux. (So why did I buy it in the first place? I didn't it was a gift).

Since it's very rare for me to find myself on the M$ platform, the camera would have recorded all of 5 minutes of video in it's life time. Since upgrading to the new 2.6.5 kernel I decided to have another go at attempting to install it under linux.

My assumption (or conclusion) about the device driver being unavailable (this is a Creative Web Cam Pro Ex) was wrong, I recently learned that it's compatible with Philips drivers. This obviously call for another compilation of the kernellvideo4linux modules.

After succesfull compilation attempting to run xawtv always gave me /dev/video0 No Such Device error messages. I did know that, though the entry exists in the dev filesystem a node might be reported as missing if the driver wasn't loaded. But even after modprobeing quite a few times I still got the same error.

Such things usually lead to self doubt. So like a newby I went ahead and recreated the nodes (quite silly of me really but don't tell me you have never done anything like that). As expected it had no impact at all on xawtv. In desparation I compiled a few more modueles and did a few more modprobes and all of a sudden the LED on the camera lit up and the /dev/video0 No Such Device message disappeared.

My euphoria however was short lived, no amount of coercion would make xawtv display the images from the lense on my monitor despite the LED blazing away in all it's glory. At least I will be able to make use of the camera as a night light.

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