Webcams, linux, and VOIP

Up to a few weeks ago I didn’t own a webcam at all. I bought one, together with a set of headphones and mike, at the lowest price I could find in my local mall. I chosen to do that because the microphone integrated in my laptop isn’t the best quality, and I happen to speak through Skype from time to time, for work too.

The webcam is using a Microdia chip, and seems to be of the worse quality, but the headphones are nice, and they were worth alone the price I paid. The chip on that webcam is currently not supported by the gspca driver that you can find in Portage, but is supported by the development version, hopefully even in the one that has been merged in for 2.6.27.

It wasn’t easy to find it, but I could find the development repository of that version, and built the driver myself. I didn’t find a decent software to try it out. I wanted to try with Skype itself, but the ioctl translation for 32-bit compatibility didn’t work properly yet. Hopefully it will work in the future.

I still haven’t found a good SIP client for Linux though. Not like I’m much interested in that myself, as while I’m at home I have the cordless providing me with up to seven SIP accounts connectivity, and on the go I have the Nokia E61 (until I replace it), but itw ould be nice to be able to suggest a client to someone.

I started trying Empathy too, when I noticed it supports Google Talk’s Jingle extension to XMPP, but there are still a few rough points with XMPP support, maybe I should try to help out with them, if I have some free time.

Ekiga I don’t even want to try, I can understand LDAP integration, but mandatory LDAP integration sounds, to me, just plainly silly.

Maybe now that the kernel is getting a much better support for webcams there will be better support for it in userland, too?