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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?

Comments 6
  1. i think twinkle is a good sip client… it hasn’t so much features (but makes use of zrtp encryption!) and seems to be quite stable and rfc compliant

  2. i think twinkle is quite good… not so much features, but stable and rfc-compliant, and makes use of zrtp-encryption

  3. I have a Siemens C460 IP, which I swear by (simple but rock solid) but on the software side, Twinkle gets my vote too.

  4. I also want to find a good SIP client.X-Lite is closed-source and too buggy. Ekiga is open-source, supports video, but is too buggy.For now, I’m using Twinkle. I think its interface could be a bit better (a bit smaller, wastes too much space right now), maybe one thing or other could also be better, but at least Twinkle is easy to use and stable.I’ve tried experimental Jingle support in Kopete (from KDE 3.5.x, I’ve not tried 4.x yet), and it simply did not work (and froze Kopete).I think it would be cool to integrate a SIP client into Kopete.

  5. I’m 100% VoIP here. No cell, no monopolist land-line but for the cable Internet. I had used software clients years ago (on MSWormOS), but decided on a hardware device when I went 100%, so I wouldn’t have to keep the computer on… and also because it was easier to find and figure out than a hardware card in the computer.After a bit of research, I went with a Grandstream HT-502 ATA (analog telephone adaptor). I didn’t want a provider-locked device, but needed something that would fit between the computer and the modem, and hook up to a normal phone, since I wanted the flexibility of being able to plug in whatever phone and phone equipment I wanted. On the net it was $57 US, shipped. From reading your blog I’d expect it to be double, there, maybe more, but…At first I had it in a box with the modem but it was apparently getting too hot, and I didn’t really have anywhere else to put it. While the router portion would continue functioning, the phone side would die. I took it apart and drilled out two of the screw holes in opposite corners, then mounted it to the wall. (FWIW I did the same with the modem, thus clearing the shelf space.) It has worked FAR better sense, and actually been quite reliable.I picked up a small UPS at the same time, and have the modem, the ATA, and the (wireless) phones all plugged into it, so they don’t go down if the power does. We had a thunderstorm here the other day while I was talking to my folks, and the power went off, but I was able to continue talking, no problem. Of course if the Internet goes out I lose phone too, but for years I’ve considered the Internet a necessity while phone’s only a luxury I can do without if necessary (and have at times when the budget was tight), so I’m OK with that.Duncan

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