webcams in Linux

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Introduction

Webcam support under Linux appears to be iffy at this point (2005-10-30). There was substantial support for hardware from Philips, but it has been discontinued due to a number of factors (see Philips Drivers below).

EZonics/IC-Media

Logitech Webcams

http://www.seismo.ethz.ch/linux/webcam.html

Philips Webcams

PWC is a (the only?) open-source Linux driver for Philips webcams, but the author has discontinued support.

Apparently the author of PWC (who had obtained the necessary specs from Philips under a NDA) felt it necessary to have a hook installed in the Linux kernel in order to properly support PWCX, a binary-only driver which allowed the PWC driver to work better (the technical reasons for doing so may have been good, but I have not been able to find any description or discussion on this). The code in PWCX is apparently proprietary and thus could not be included in Linux distributions due to license conflict.

Although PWC, complete with hook, had been part of the Linux kernel for over 3 years, apparently the maintainers of the kernel ultimately decided they no longer wanted "to allow any kind of hook or function or mechanism, specifically written to make it possible to load a binary-only module", so they removed the hook code from PWC but left it otherwise unaltered &ndsah; unfortunately removing the ability to use PWCX and therefore also removing the enhanced support.

Source: http://www.smcc.demon.nl/webcam/