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Webcam Library and Tools


The webcam-tools package contains the following two components:
- libwebcam    Webcam Library
- uvcdynctrl   Manage dynamic controls in uvcvideo

This README file contains information that is common to all of the above
components. For component specific information please refer to the README
files in the libwebcam/ and uvcdynctrl/ subdirectories.


Note that the latest versions of the Webcam Library, its API documentation, and
the tools can always be found at the following address:

QuickCam Team


The Webcam Tools have the following external dependencies:
- Linux UVC driver (uvcvideo) interface header file or source files
- LibXML 2 development files (usually from the libxml2-dev package)
- gengetopt (optional)
- V4L2 2.6.32 (optional)

Linux UVC driver (uvcvideo) interface header file or source files:

  Unless the USE_UVCVIDEO constant is disabled (it is enabled by default),
  libwebcam needs the uvcvideo.h header file from the Linux UVC driver
  (uvcvideo). If the build system cannot find the required header file the
  following error is shown at build time:

   "Linux UVC Driver include file (linux/uvcvideo.h or uvcvideo.h) not found.
    Try adding -DUVCVIDEO_INCLUDE_PATH=...  to specify its path."

  Starting with kernel 2.6.26 the uvcvideo driver is part of the kernel. You
  can find it in the directory drivers/media/video/uvc. If your kernel is older
  than that you may download a historic stand-alone version from the uvcvideo
  project's home page at or directly from the
  Subversion repository at:

  Starting with kernel 2.6.38 or 2.6.39 (at the time of writing this isn't
  clear yet) the uvcvideo.h header file has been made public and moved to the
  standard include/linux/ directory. Therefore it is no longer necessary to
  obtain the kernel sources. Installing the kernel headers is enough.

  Either way, you need to add the path where uvcvideo.h is located to the CMake
  UVCVIDEO_INCLUDE_PATH variable before calling cmake unless it is already
  located in one of your default include directories:

  # For pre-2.6.38/39 kernels
  cmake -DUVCVIDEO_INCLUDE_PATH=.../linux/drivers/media/video/uvc ..

  # For 2.6.38/39 kernels and newer without the kernel headers installed
  cmake -DUVCVIDEO_INCLUDE_PATH=.../linux/include ..

  The older methods using environment variables and CMAKE_INCLUDE_PATH are no
  longer supported.

gengetopt (optional):

  The uvcdynctrl directory ships with the two files cmdline.[ch]. As long as
  those are present, gnugetopt is not required. If they are missing, the build
  process will try to create them with the help of gnugetopt.

V4L2 2.6.32 (optional):

  (Note that this is an advanced feature that most users won't need and doesn't
  work without a modified uvcvideo driver.)

  To take advantage of the raw/string control support version 2.6.32 of V4L2
  is required. To be more specific: V4L2_CTRL_TYPE_STRING needs to be supported.
  Whether this is the case is determined at build time and if string control
  support is not present in your version of V4L2 the corresponding feature
  in libwebcam is disabled. During the build process one of the following
  messages is displayed indicating the result of the test:

  ** Your V4L2 has V4L2_CTRL_TYPE_STRING support. Enabling raw control support.
  ** Your V4L2 does NOT have V4L2_CTRL_TYPE_STRING support. Compiling WITHOUT
     raw control support.

  Note that the uvcvideo version that comes with 2.6.32 does not yet support
  string controls. At the time of this writing support for it is being added
  to the UVC driver, so future versions should support it, therefore allowing
  V4L2 control values to be more than 4 bytes long.

  If you need to specify the location of the V4L2 header files (videodev2.h)
  explicitly you can use the V4L2_INCLUDE_PATH CMake variable like this:

  cmake -DUVCVIDEO_INCLUDE_PATH=.../linux/include \
    -DV4L2_INCLUDE_PATH=.../linux/include ..


The build system is based on CMake. Because of the way CMake works, Makefiles
do not ship with libwebcam, so you have to have CMake installed. Don't worry,
though, you are likely to have much fewer illegible error messages than with
the previous GNU Automake.

Once you have CMake installed you can build and install it by running the
following commands in the webcam-tools top level source directory:

mkdir build
cd build
cmake ..
make install (as root)

You need at least CMake 2.6, so if you are running Ubuntu 8.04 you need to
enable the hardy-backports repository in /etc/apt/sources.list and update
the 'cmake' package.

CMake defaults to installing binaries and libraries to /usr/local. To use a
different install prefix, you can add a command line parameter to 'cmake' like


If you prefer to leave the prefix alone, you should make sure that
/usr/local/bin is in your path and LD_LIBRARY_PATH contains the /usr/local/lib


Packaging the binaries is a little unusual and doesn't use the normal
'make package' way that CMake suggests. The reason for this is that we want
libwebcam and uvcdynctrl in one build, but the CMake packager can only ever
create one package per build. Because we want separate packages for the
different components packing has to be launched separately for each component.
There are two methods to accomplish this:

Method A: Run CPack manually

The necessary configuration files for running CPack are generated during the
normal build from the CPackConfig.cmake.conf template in the common/build/
directory. You can run cpack by specifying these as follows:

1. Build the package as described above and make sure that the current
   directory is still ./build (from where cmake was run).

2. cpack --config libwebcam/CPackConfig.cmake
   This creates a .tar.bz2 archive and a .deb package for libwebcam.

3. cpack --config uvcdynctrl/CPackConfig.cmake
   This creates a .tar.bz2 archive and a .deb package for uvcdynctrl.

Method B: Run CMake for each component

Instead of creating a 'build' directory at the top level and then running
'cmake ..' you can do the same thing once under the libwebcam/ and once under
the uvcdynctrl/ directory and then launch the packaging process:

mkdir libwebcam/build
cd libwebcam/build
cmake ..
make package

cd ../..
mkdir uvcdynctrl/build
cd uvcdynctrl/build
cmake ..
make package

Questions and feedback

There is a forum for developers and users of the Webcam Library. Please feel
free to post your questions and comments:

QuickCam Team discussion forums


Update of the UVC webcam tools






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