Skype, Ubuntu, and a SN9C102 webcam
koppie Sat, 03/27/2010 - 17:05
Many years ago, my father in law and I bought several very old, cheap webcams so that our extended families could skype with each other. Windows has long since stopped supporting this webcam, and the Taiwanese company that made the webcams have long since stopped supporting the driver. Yelena's new MacBook has a gorgeous built-in webcam and I bought another new webcam for Nathan's Babycam, which I intend to set up again. But I still have these old webcams and don't want to throw them away. What to do?
Linux, of course. Several months ago I got fed up with KDE and switched back to Ubuntu (which doesn't run KDE). Ubuntu has the advantage of not only being the most polished, stable, and user-friendly version of Linux, but also the version with the best hardware support. One result is that my cranky old webcam works out of the box.
Of course, it can't be that simple. The webcam works, but it has trouble talking with skype in particular. The solution: open a terminal and run the following command:
It bugs me that you have to run it from the command line. That's an unnecessarily complex solution, which is still typical of Linux. As long as Linux continues to do this kind of thing to people, it will scare them away. Of course, Linux lets me be frugal and use my old cranky webcam - something Windows stopped doing years ago.
This also means that I'll be available for Skype a lot more often, now that I have it on my own computer. My screen name: koppie1
See you online!
Edit: Added the XLIB_SKIP_ARGB_VISUALS variable. Turns out you need that too.