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ZBar is an open source software suite for reading bar codes from various sources, including webcams. As its development stopped in 2012, I took the task of keeping it updated with the V4L2 API. This is the main repository for it. There's a clone at at LinuxTV.org, and another one at gitlab.

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ZBAR BAR CODE READER

ZBar Bar Code Reader is an open source software suite for reading bar codes from various sources, such as video streams, image files and raw intensity sensors. It supports EAN-13/UPC-A, UPC-E, EAN-8, Code 128, Code 93, Code 39, Codabar, Interleaved 2 of 5, QR Code and SQ Code.

Included with the library are basic applications for decoding captured bar code images and using a video device (e.g. webcam) as a bar code scanner. For application developers, language bindings are included for C, C++, Python 2 and Perl as well as GUI widgets for Qt, GTK and PyGTK 2.0.

Zbar also supports sending the scanned codes via dbus, allowing its integration with other applications.

Check the ZBar home page for the latest release, mailing lists, etc.:

Tarballs with ZBar can be obtained from:

Since ZBar version 0.23.90, binaries auto-generated from Github's Actions workflows are auto-generated for each release:

They contain binaries for:

  • Ubuntu SID, generated via pbuilder;
  • Mac OS;
  • Windows, for 4 different configurations:
    • 32 bits/64 bits;
    • Video for Windows (VfW) or DirectShow (DShow).

License information can be found in COPYING.

You may find some outdated documentation at the original ZBar's site at Sourceforge, but please notice that the content there is not updated for ages: http://zbar.sourceforge.net/

BUILDING

See INSTALL.md for generic configuration and build instructions.

Please notice that at least autotools related packages and a C compiler are needed, in order to generate the configure script.

So, on Debian, at least those packages are needed: autoconf autopoint pkg-config libtool gcc make

If you have installed all needed dependencies, all you need to do is to run:

autoreconf -vfi
./configure
make
  • NOTES

    1. Currently, we maintain a Continuous Integration build test at TravisCI:

      https://travis-ci.org/github/mchehab/zbar/

      Due to that, there are scripts meant to test ZBar build on Linux, Windows and MacOS, that could be helpful. Please see the .travis.yml file, and the corresponding scripts under travis/.

    2. On version 0.23, since the support for gtk3 and python3 are new, the default is to use gtk2 and python2.

      If you want to use gtk3 and python3, you should have the development packages for them, and run:

autoreconf -vfi
./configure --with-gtk=auto --with-python=auto
make

This will make the building system to seek for the latest versions for gtk and python.

The scanner/decoder library itself only requires a few standard library functions which should be available almost anywhere.

The zbarcam program uses the video4linux API (v4l1 or v4l2) to access the video device. This interface is part of the linux kernel, a 3.16 kernel or upper is recommended for full support. More information is available at:

pkg-config is used to locate installed libraries. You should have installed pkg-config if you need any of the remaining components. pkg-config may be obtained from:

The zbarimg program uses ImageMagick to read image files in many different formats. You will need at least ImageMagick version 6.2.6 if you want to scan image files. You may also use GraphicsMagick package instead.

ImageMagick may be obtained from:

Qt Widget

The Qt widget requires Qt4 or Qt5. You will need Qt if you would like to use or develop a Qt GUI application with an integrated bar code scanning widget. Qt4 may be obtained from:

Gtk Widget

The GTK+ widget requires GTK+-2.x or GTK+3.x. You will need GTK+ if you would like to use or develop a GTK+ GUI application with an integrated bar code scanning widget. GTK+ may be obtained from:

Python widgets

Python 2 legacy Gtk widget

The PyGTK 2.0/pygobject 2.0 wrapper for the GTK+ 2.x widget requires Python 2, PyGTK. You will need to enable both pygtk2 and gtk2 if you would like to use or develop a Python 2 GUI application with an integrated bar code scanning widget. PyGTK may be obtained from:

Python 2 or 3 GIR Gtk widget

The GObject Introspection (GIR) wrapper for GTK+ widget is compatible with PyGObject, with works with either Python version 2 or 3. You will need to enable both Gtk and Python in order to use or develop a Python application with an integrated bar code scanning and webcam support. In order to build it, you need the required dependencies for GIR development. The actual package depends on the distribution. On Fedora, it is pygobject3-devel. On Debian/Ubuntu, it is libgirepository1.0-dev and gir1.2-gtk-3.0. While GIR builds with Gtk2, It is strongly recommended to use GTK+ version 3.x, as there are known issues with version 2.x and GIR, with will likely make it to fail. A test script can be built and run with: make check-gi. Instructions about how to use are GIR on Python are available at:

Python bindings

The Python bindings require Python 2 or 3 and provide only non-GUI functions. You will need Python and PIL or Pillow if you would like to scan images or video directly using Python. Python is available from:

Perl Widget

The Perl bindings require Perl (version 5). You will need Perl if you would like to scan images or video directly using Perl. Perl is available from:

If required libraries are not available you may disable building for the corresponding component using configure (see configure --help).

The Perl bindings must be built separately after installing the library. see:

  • perl/README

Java Widget

The Java ZBar widget uses Java Native Interface (JNI), meaning that the widget will contain machine-dependent code. It works with Java version 7 and above. Java open JDK is available from:

RUNNING

make install will install the library and application programs. Run zbarcam-qt or zbarcam to start the video scanner. Use zbarimg <file> to decode a saved image file.

Check the manual to find specific options for each program.

DBUS TESTING

In order to test if dbus is working, you could use:

$ dbus-monitor --system interface=org.linuxtv.Zbar1.Code

or build the test programs with:

$ make test_progs

And run: $ ./test/test_dbus

With that, running this command on a separate shell:

$ ./zbarimg/zbarimg examples/code-128.png
CODE-128:https://github.com/mchehab/zbar
scanned 1 barcode symbols from 1 images in 0.01 seconds

Will produce this output at test_dbus shell window:

Waiting for Zbar events
Type = CODE-128
Value = https://github.com/mchehab/zbar

REPORTING BUGS

Bugs can be reported on the project page:

Please include the ZBar version number and a detailed description of the problem. You'll probably have better luck if you're also familiar with the concepts from:

About

ZBar is an open source software suite for reading bar codes from various sources, including webcams. As its development stopped in 2012, I took the task of keeping it updated with the V4L2 API. This is the main repository for it. There's a clone at at LinuxTV.org, and another one at gitlab.

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