Dec 042007

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The friend of mine had been presented to me a webcam recently. On the box of Logitech QuickCam, there were logo of an alternative operation system, but in Debian configuration of a webcam is as easy as 1-2-3. Here are tips for configuration of a webcam.


Some preparing words -- if you didn't compile your own kernel, this section can be omitted.
Webcam interface in kernel is almost like TV tuner -- it is ordinary video device with /dev/video0 output. That`s why all articles about TV tuner configuration can help you as well. So, in kernel must be turned on:

  • v4l and all of it protocols (v4l monolithically, protocols -- as modules)
  • i2c and it protocols (as well as during TV tuner configuration)

If it is enabled in kernel, you shouldn't get any problems.


In the camera`s box was wrote: installation as simple as 1-2-3. So, I get pretty the same:

1. Installing software.

Instead of use tons of proprietary garbage, let`s install from Debian repository:

sudo aptitude install gspca-source camorama

In the /usr/src directory, archive with driver source gspca-source.tar.bz2 will appear. Unpack it and change directory to /usr/src/modules/gspca and execute following:


Module must compile without errors. Next, do this:

sudo make install

This command will install your module in directory, were other kernel modules are placed. Optionally it can be executed:

sudo depmode -a

That`s almost all, our goal is to load module of a webcam:

sudo modprobe gspca

Next step is to plug camera in USB and start the software.

2. Plugging the webcam

After you plug webcam into USB, it turns on green LED and in kernel logs should appear something like this:

usb 4-1: new full speed USB device using uhci_hcd and address 6
usb 4-1: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
/usr/src/modules/gspca/gspca_core.c: USB SPCA5XX camera found.(ZC3XX)
/usr/src/modules/gspca/gspca_core.c: [spca5xx_probe:3887] Camera type JPEG
/usr/src/modules/gspca/Vimicro/zc3xx.h: [zc3xx_config:515] Sensor ID:7
/usr/src/modules/gspca/Vimicro/zc3xx.h: [zc3xx_config:597] Find Sensor HV7131R(c)
/usr/src/modules/gspca/gspca_core.c: [spca5xx_getcapability:1165] maxw 640 maxh 480 minw 176 minh 144
usbcore: registered new interface driver gspca
/usr/src/modules/gspca/gspca_core.c: gspca driver 01.00.04 registered

It looks like the webcam had been recognised. Now the device file /dev/video0 must appear -- this is our camera actually is. After that, webcam soft should be runned:

$ camorama

If all was done correctly, you should see video in a small window of Camorama. It can be something like this:

3. Start using camera

Now you can use your cam in Wengophone for video conference with friends and colleagues. It is need to say that image processing from webcam consumes processor time very moderate, above 4-5% on my Pentium M 1.75 GHz laptop.

Besides video conferences in VoIP, one can turn fantasy on and find many interesting applications to webcam. You may use it as security camera or telemetric device: streamer program can grab pictures from it with defined frequency.

Original post is HERE.


Except that there were mentioned only RedmondOS, Logitech QuickCam Messanger webcam works great in Linux, and configured in same three steps minus tons of useless proprietaty garbage.

During the tweaking I used this great guidelines because of my custom-made kernel. Those who use distribution kernel, this guide may be helpful.

I am very thankful to my friend Igor Chernjavsky for presented webcam -- thanks a lot!

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 Posted by at 3:58 pm

  14 Responses to “How to configure webcam in Debian Linux”

  1. sudo depmode -a

    The correct command sintaxis is:

    sudo depmod -a

    This HOW-TO is very helpful. Thanks a lot.

  2. When i try to execute “make” (where there is supposed to be no errors) it gives me this one:
    make -C /lib/modules/`uname -r`/build SUBDIRS=/usr/src/modules/gspca CC=cc modules
    make: *** /lib/modules/2.6.24-1-amd64/build: No such file or directory. Stop.
    make: *** [default] Error 2

    why is this? i tried doing an ls /lib/modules to see if 2.6.24-1-amd64 existed and it does but not the build folder or whatever it is…:S, so why is this happening??? I tried this same tutorial on my other computer and it worked perfectly :S
    By the way..i am kind of a newb at all this 😛

  3. I can’t move or extract to src. I get the following message:

    “You don’t have the right permissions to extract archives in the folder “/usr/src”

  4. I still can not run my web cam, modprobe syntax not permanently execute, after manual probing, the camorama still got an error because /dev/video0 not found, how to fixed this?

  5. Works like a charm!!


  6. Great how to. Worked like a charm on a Creative Webcam NX. El cheapo camera. But a great validation how-to before diving into Zoneminder software.


  7. Thanks for the guide everything was going really well until

    [email protected]:~$ camorama
    Gtk-Message: Failed to load module “gnomebreakpad”: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory
    [email protected]:~$

    complete noob… tried searching on the error but didn’t understand any of the posts..

  8. @LordLuPach. Try it this way:

    sudo aptitude install gspca-source
    cd /usr/src
    sudo tar -jxvf gspca.tar.bz2
    cd /usr/src/modules/gspca/
    sudo m-a prepare
    sudo m-a a-i gspca
    sudo modprobe gspca

    @Aran-P: either su or use sudo (like in my post to LordLuPach)

  9. make -C /lib/modules/`uname -r`/build SUBDIRS=/usr/src/modules/gspca CC=cc modules
    make[1]: Entering directory `/usr/src/linux-′
    scripts/ *** CFLAGS was changed in “/usr/src/modules/gspca/Makefile”. Fix it to use EXTRA_CFLAGS. Stop.
    make[1]: *** [_module_/usr/src/modules/gspca] Error 2
    make[1]: Leaving directory `/usr/src/linux-′
    make: *** [default] Error 2

  10. VERY GOOD!! 18/07/2009
    I USE A WEB CAM GOTEC ( LEADERSHIP ) – DEBIAN LENNY 5.0.2 Kernel : 2.6.26-2-686

    $ sudo apt-get install linux-headers-2.6.26-2-686 module-assistant build-essential gcc-4.1-locales gcc-4.1-multilib libmudflap0-dev kernel-package

    $ sudo aptitude install gspca-source camorama

    $ cd /usr/src
    $ sudo tar -jxvf gspca.tar.bz2
    $ cd /usr/src/modules/gspca/
    $ sudo make
    $ sudo make install
    $ sudo depmod -a
    $ sudo modprobe gspca
    $ camorama

  11. i want to download tvtuner for linux (debian)

  12. Nowadays a lot of webcams work “out of the box” with ubuntu or other linux versions.

  13. Hello,
    I have a A4TECH PK-635M webcam.

    $ sudo apt-get install linux-headers-2.6.26-2-686 module-assistant build-essential gcc-4.1-locales gcc-4.1-multilib libmudflap0-dev kernel-package

    $ sudo aptitude install gspca-source camorama

    $ cd /usr/src
    $ sudo tar -jxvf gspca.tar.bz2
    $ cd /usr/src/modules/gspca/
    $ sudo make
    $ sudo make install
    $ sudo depmod -a
    $ sudo modprobe gspca
    $ camorama

    (camorama:2971): Gtk-WARNING **: cannot open display:

    Any ideas ?

  14. This isn’t about ubuntu or other linux versions, this is about kernel level webcam module installation, configuration and use on a -debian- installation which has it’s own methods and it’s users are totally aware of this so we dont need to hear about your success story regarding device-x with linux-x.

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