Setup Skype Video

Keywords: ov511 patch winney the pooh webcam driver survey skype linux

Skype 2.0 Beta for Linux is out, and with it comes the much sought after video support.

I tried getting Skype working with my old Creative webcam (ov511 chipset), which proved to be a bit tricky.

For some reason, these cameras don't work with Skype unless you force the device driver to do a blocking call, regardless of the request made.

Patching the ov51x-jpeg driver

m-a prepare
m-a build -O ov51x-jpeg
m-a install

Note the -O flag to m-a build. Without it, m-a will extract the archive again, thereby overriding your patched version.

I also patched the ov511 driver by hand, but couldn't get it to pick the camera.

Load the patched driver using

modprobe -r ov511
modprobe -r ov51x-jpeg
modprobe ov51x-jpeg forceblock=1

After performing this step, Skype picked up the camera. Unfortunately, everything was green and strange looking. I have another video capture device — a bt878-type TV receiver. I noticed that gqcam displayed the TV-input incorrectly (green) and the ov511-input properly. Skype did it just the other way around. This made me wonder whether Skype was reading the correct device info — maybe it became confused by having two devices? I therefore removed the bt878 and bttv drivers, and thereafter Skype wouldn't read from the camera at all. Aargh. So I added back the TV card, but this time it appeared as the second capture device.

Confusingly, Skype now proceeded to work as advertised. I think it is safe to say that your mileage may vary.

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