Webcam setup

From ArchWiki
Revision as of 12:37, 2 January 2013 by Fengchao (talk | contribs) (Webcam configuration: Moved from AUR to community.)
Jump to: navigation, search

zh-CN:Webcam Setup This is a guide to setting up your webcam in Arch Linux.

Linux webcam support

Most probably your webcam will work out of the box. In that case you may skip to section Webcam_Setup#Webcam configuration if you want to configure color, brightness and other parameters. Otherwise follow the steps below.

Identify your webcam

Identify the name of your webcam (using, for example, lsusb) and find a proper driver. Below is a list of webcams, and what drivers they work with. Click on the link to the right of the device name for information on compiling modules and other information. If you get your webcam to work, add the name of the webcam and the driver you used to the list!


  • Creative Labs Webcam Pro Ex
  • Logitech QuickCam Notebook Pro (only the "Pro" models)
  • Logitech Quickcam Pro 4000
  • Philips ToUCams (not confirmed at the moment, but it is using the pwc driver if I remember correctly)
  • Philips SPC900NC


  • Dexxa Webcam
  • Labtec Webcam (old model)
  • LegoCam
  • Logitech Quickcam Express (old model)
  • Logitech QuickCam Notebook (not the "Pro" models)
  • Logitech Quickcam Web


  • Logitech Quickcam Messenger
  • Logitech Quickcam Communicate (for Communicate MP/S5500 or "for Business" see the linux-uvc section below)

It is now in the community repo.

Note: If qc-usb-messenger does not work use the gspca module, by installing the gspcav1 package.
Note: Now this driver is a module included in kernel 2.6.27


This driver can be used for many webcams like:

  • Aiptek PocketDV 3300
  • Creative PC-CAM 880
  • Konica Revio 2
  • Genius Digital Camera
  • Maxell Maxcam PRO DV3

You can find the full list of supported devices here. You can find a PKGBUILD for this driver in the AUR.


  • Trust Spacecam series
  • Maxell Smartcam (for notebooks): 352x288 max. resolution @ 3fps


An extensive list of supported webcams is available [1].

Note: This driver does not have V4L1 support.


Many cheap no-name cameras that came out Asia in the last couple of years use the stv680 chipset. Most of these cameras were novelty items (i.e. Pencam, SpyC@m and LegoCam).

  • Aiptek PenCam series
  • Digitaldream series
  • Dolphin Peripherals series
  • Lego LegoCam
  • Trust SpyC@m series
  • Welback Coolcam

A more-complete list of webcams that use the stv680 chipset is available here.


  • Genius iLook 1321
  • Logitech Webcam C250
  • Logitech Webcam C270
  • Logitech Webcam C600
  • Logitech Quickcam Pro 5000
  • Logitech Quickcam Pro 9000
  • Logitech Quickcam Orbit AF
  • Logitech Quickcam Orbit MP
  • Logitech Quickcam S5500
  • Microdia Pavilion Webcam (on MSI PR200)
  • Logitech Quickcam Communicate MP/S5500 or "for Business"
  • Chicony Electronics CNF7051

You can find a full list of supported UVC devices here.

As of kernel 2.6.26 linux-uvc is part of the kernel. Just load the uvcvideo module.

Note: This driver does not have V4L1 support.
Note: With WebCam SCB-0385N (usb ID 2232:1005), WebCam SC-0311139N (usb ID 2232:1020) and WebCam SC-03FFL11939N (usb ID 2232:1028), you might need to add some configuration to the module if the usage of the camera makes the system freeze :
options uvcvideo nodrop=1


  • Sony EyeToy
  • Chicony DC-2120
  • Chicony DC-2120 pro
  • Trust Spacecam 320
  • Hercules Webcam Deluxe
  • Hercules Webcam Classic
  • Creative Live! Cam Notebook Pro VF0400
  • Creative Live! Cam Vista IM
  • Creative Live! Cam Vista IM VF0420
  • Creative Vista Webcam VF0330
  • ASUS webcam Model?
  • Philips PCVC820K/00
  • NGS showtime plus
  • HP VGA Webcam with Integrated Microphone

This is a kernel module found in the AUR with some additions to the original driver that provide jpeg decompression.

For me to get my "Creative Live! Cam Vista IM" working with Skype, I had to add this line to /etc/modprobe.d/modprobe.conf:

options ov51x-jpeg forceblock=1

r5u870 (Ricoh)

  • HP Pavilion Webcam
  • HP Webcam 1000
  • Sony VAIO VGP-VCCx

The Ricoh webcam is built into most new Sony laptops.

Install r5u87x-hgAUR (provides firmware too) and run the loader command.

stk11xx (Syntek)

  • Integrated camera in lot of Asus laptops
  • Asus A8J, F3S, F5R, F5GL, F9E, VX2S, V1S, A6T

Just install the stk11xxAUR AUR package. It contains the right kernel module.

Make sure the module is loaded for your webcam

Add your webcam's module in /etc/modules-load.d/webcam.conf so it will be loaded into the kernel during init stage bootstrapping.

Note: If your webcam is USB, the kernel should automatically load the proper driver. If this is the case, check dmesg after you plug your webcam in. You should see something like this:

$ dmesg|tail
sn9c102: V4L2 driver for SN9C10x PC Camera Controllers v1:1.24a
usb 1-1: SN9C10[12] PC Camera Controller detected (vid/pid 0x0C45/0x600D)
usb 1-1: PAS106B image sensor detected
usb 1-1: Initialization succeeded
usb 1-1: V4L2 device registered as /dev/video0
usb 1-1: Optional device control through 'sysfs' interface ready
usbcore: registered new driver sn9c102


In order to use your webcam, you need to have permission to use /dev/video0.


If you use udev, you only need to be in the group video. You can check it with:

$ groups

To add a user to the group run under root:

# gpasswd -a <username> video

Note the next two steps may not be required as they should already be set by udev

Set group of device to video:

# chgrp video /dev/video0

Set permissions of the device:

# chmod 660 /dev/video0


Add the following to your /etc/devfsd.conf. This will give normal users permission to use /dev/video0 (your webcam).

# Give normal users access to webcam
REGISTER        video0       PERMISSIONS     root.users 0660

Webcam configuration

If you want to configure brightness, color and other webcam parameters (e.g. in the case when out-of-the-box colors are too bluish/reddish/greenish) you may use GTK+ UVC Viewer available in the Official Repositories as package guvcview. Just install it and launch, and it will present you a list of configurable settings. Changing these settings will affect all applications (e.g. Skype).

Get software to use your webcam

Version 2.6.27 of the Linux kernel supports many new webcam drivers. Legacy Video4Linux API has been dropped, and these drivers now only support Video4Linux version 2. Pixel format decoding has been pushed to user space, since Video4Linux version 2 does not support kernel space decoding. The libv4l library provides userland applications with pixel decoding services and will be used by most programs. Other compatibility layers are also available.

If your device is created but your image looks strange (mine was nearly completely green), you probably need this.

If the application has V4L2 support but no pixelformat support (eg: cheese) then use the following command:

LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib/libv4l/ cheese

If the application only supports the older version of V4L (Skype is the most popular of this kind of software) then use this command:

LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib/libv4l/ skype
Tip: You also might want to put a line like the following into /etc/profile or xprofile so you do not have to type that long command all the time:
export LD_PRELOAD=/usr/'$LIB'/libv4l/


export LD_PRELOAD=/usr/'$LIB'/libv4l/

For 32-bit applications (e.g. Skype) within Arch64, install the lib32-v4l-utils package.

If the webcam works fine on guvcview, but it does not work in Skype, you may also need to set


before starting it.


Cheese is the GNOME photo/video taking client. It is similar to Photo Booth in Mac OS X. It is in the official repositories.

GTK+ UVC Viewer (guvcview)

In addition to being a convenient way to configure your webcam, guvcview also allows capturing (with sound!) and viewing video from devices supported by the Linux UVC driver. Available in the AUR: guvcviewAUR.


Kopete is the KDE instant messaging (IM) client. As of KDE 3.5, it has support for MSN and Yahoo! webcams, but not every cam works yet. It is included in the kdenetwork package.


Application to take pictures and videos out of your webcam for KDE. Available in the AUR: kamosoAUR.


This is a basic v4l device viewer, and although it is intended for use with TV tuner cards, it works well with webcams. It will display what your webcam sees in a window. Install it using

# pacman -S xawtv

Run it with

$ xawtv -c /dev/video0

If you are using an nVidia graphic card, and you get an error like

X Error of failed request:  XF86DGANoDirectVideoMode
 Major opcode of failed request:  139 (XFree86-DGA)
 Minor opcode of failed request:  1 (XF86DGAGetVideoLL)
 Serial number of failed request:  69
 Current serial number in output stream:  69

you should instead run it as:

$ xawtv -nodga

google talk


VLC can also be used to view and record your webcam. In VLC's file menu, open the 'Capture Device...' dialog and enter the video and audio device files. Or from the command line, do:

$ vlc v4l:// :v4l-vdev="/dev/video0" :v4l-adev="/dev/audio2"

This will make VLC mirror your webcam. To take stills, simply choose 'Snapshot' in the 'Video' menu. To record the stream, you add a --sout argument, e.g.

$ vlc v4l:// :v4l-vdev="/dev/video0" :v4l-adev="/dev/audio2" \ 
  --sout "#transcode{vcodec=mp1v,vb=1024,scale=1,acodec=mpga,ab=192,channels=2}:duplicate{dst=std{access=file,mux=mpeg1,dst=/tmp/test.mpg}}"

(Obviously a bit overkill with regard to the bit rates but it is fine for testing purposes.) Notice that this will not produce a mirror on the display - in order to see what you are recording, you would need to add the display as a destination to the argument:

... :duplicate{dst=display,dst=std{access= ....

(Though this can tax older hardware somewhat...)


To use MPlayer to take snapshots from your webcam run this command from the terminal:

$ mplayer tv:// -tv driver=v4l2:width=640:height=480:device=/dev/video0 -fps 15 -vf screenshot

From here you have to press Template:Keypress to take the snapshot. The snapshot will be saved in your current folder as shotXXXX.png. If you want to record continuous video:

$ mencoder tv:// -tv driver=v4l2:width=640:height=480:device=/dev/video0:forceaudio:adevice=/dev/dsp -ovc lavc -oac mp3lame -lameopts cbr:br=64:mode=3 -o <filename>.avi

Press Ctrl+C to end the recording.


See FFmpeg#Recording webcam.


This is very similar to Microsoft NetMeeting. Install the ekiga package from the official repositories. The configuration druid will set everything up for you.


Sonic-snap [2] is a viewer/grabber for sn9c102-based webcams only. sonic-snapAUR is available in the AUR.


The newest version of Skype has video support. Check Video Devices in the options for a test image which you can double-click to make full screen. Install the skype package. If you get green/disorted picture with skype read the section Webcam_Setup#Get software to use your webcam above.

If your running x86-64 you might actually need to

# pacman -S multilib/lib32-v4l-utils

and then run skype with

LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib32/libv4l/ skype

You can either set an alias for skype, or rename the original skype binary in /usr/bin and create a text file containing the above option, or you can simply adjust the Command line in the options for the Skype icon in your favourite desktop environment.