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If you want to hack on gphoto2 (or a camera driver for gphoto2),
please follow some rules to make our work easier:
We urge you to license your contributions under the LGPL so we can
distribute gphoto2 under the LGPL as well.
... are always welcome.
We prefer patches against the current SVN trunk very much over
patches against old released versions, but these are also welcome :-)
source files
Every source file (file_name.c) should have the following layout:
/* Licence, author, etc. */
#include "config.h"
#include "file_name.h"
#include <std*.h> (i.e. stdlib, stdio, string, etc.)
#include <gphoto2/gphoto2-*.h> (what you need)
/* Source code here. */
header files
Please use the following layout:
/* Licence, author, etc. */
#ifndef __FILE_NAME_H__
#define __FILE_NAME_H__
#include <whatever is needed for the _header_>
/* Declarations */
#endif /* __FILE_NAME_H__ */
Camera libraries are often very sensitive to changes. Therefore,
before you commit any changes, double check with the author that your
changes won't break the driver.
If you want to write a driver for gphoto2, the easiest way to do so
would be to copy over the contents of camlibs/template and fill in
your code.
Use something like CHECK_RESULT (see for example
Let's say you write a driver called sillycam. Please set up a file
called library.c containing all gphoto2-specific code (like
camera_init) and another two files called sillycam.c and sillycam.h
containing the "magic", that is all gp_port_[read,write] functions and
the basic logic of the communication. This makes it easier for us to
adapt your code if anything should change in the gphoto2-API.
Use the port provided by camera->port.
Use the filesystem provided by camera->fs and set up the callbacks so
that libgphoto2 can cache listings and file-information.
Please keep track of the changes to the sillycam camlib in the file
For test compiling and installing only the sillycam and doofuscam
camlibs, you can use
make -C camlibs
make CAMLIBS="" install-camlibs
Compiling all camlibs is sped up considerably on N CPU core
computers using "make -jN".
If you add code, use the coding style of that file. This is, code like
my_func (int arg)
int var, res;
* This is a multiline
* comment. Use TAB for
* indentation!
res = gp_some_action (var);
/* This is a simple one-line comment */
if (res < 0) {
gp_log (GP_LOG_DEBUG, "Error happened!");
/* Note that we _don't_ indent the case statements */
switch (res) {
case GP_ERROR:
gp_log (GP_LOG_DEBUG, "Generic error");
gp_log (GP_LOG_DEBUG, "Not a generic error");
return (res);
return (GP_OK);
Please always check the return value of gp_-functions! We defined some
handy macros all over the place (like CHECK_RESULT) - by using those,
you'll avoid lots of if {} else {}.
Emacs users may define and use a gphoto-c-mode by putting the
following stuff into their .emacs file:
;;* gphoto-c-mode
(defun gphoto-c-mode ()
"C mode with adjusted defaults for gphoto hacking"
(c-set-style "linux")
(setq indent-tabs-mode t)
(setq auto-mode-alist (cons '("/home/user/src/gphoto.*\\.[ch]$" . gphoto-c-mode)
Once gphoto2 has been officially launched as a 2.0 version, it is important
that the API does not change frequently. It is annoying to users when they
have to upgrade all sort of libraries and applications just to get an
upgraded camera driver. Once the 2.0 release has been made, try to
follow these guidelines:
- New versions of the gphoto2 core libraries in the 2.0 series shall
work with all older 2.0 camera libraries
- New versions of the gphoto2 camera libraries in the 2.0 series shall
work with all older 2.0 core libraries (this one may be relaxed)
- Before fixing 2.0 in stone, look for weaknesses in the current
APIs that may preclude enhancements in the future. For instance, there
should be some filler entries added to the end of struct _CameraFunctions
so that a newer camera library that tries to fill in an entry that
is added in gphoto2 ver. 2.1 that doesn't exist there now won't
overwrite something important.
- Try to work using the existing API instead of making minor
changes here and there; think about whether the change you're proposing
will demonstratively benefit gphoto2 or it's just a "nice to have"
- Instead of adding a new parameter to a function, create a new function
that enhances the other one (where appropriate)
- If a new parameter is absolutely needed in an existing function
call, rename the function with the new parameter, but leave the
existing function as is, calling the new function with a default value
for the new parameter
- When adding entries to a common structure, add them to the end of the
struct so that the other members aren't shifted around. Consider what
will happen if that member is not filled in by an older application.
- Don't delete entries from a common struct; instead, just rename them
into filler entries.
- If there is a very good reason to break compatibility, wait until
release 3.0 to make those changes
- Delay the release of 3.0 until the benefits outweigh the consequences
to the user of an incompatible library version.
Please remember that people will be running gphoto2 on a wide variety
of operating systems and CPUs and will be compiling it on a wide
variety of C compilers. As you write your code, be sure not to make
any assumptions in your code that aren't in the ANSI C89 standard.
If your code absolutely needs some feature or header file that isn't
available everywhere, write an autoconf test so that the configure
script will detect if that feature is available at compile time and
provide an alternative for those compilers that don't support it.
There are lots of subtle portability issues that you should keep in
the back of your mind. Following are some of the major ones that affect
gphoto2. See the paper "Notes on Writing Portable Programs in C" at
<URL:> or "Writing
Portable C with GNU Autotools" at
for more details.
* A char can be signed or unsigned.
Use 'signed char' or 'unsigned char', or int8_t or uint8_t from _stdint.h,
to be sure to get the type you want when it is important.
* A pointer is not necessarily an int.
Don't cast a pointer to an int and vice-versa.
* An int can be almost any width.
Don't assume that it's 32 or 16 bits or any other value. Instead,
if you need a variable of a certain size, include the gphoto2 header
file _stdint.h (or gphoto2-endian.h) and use the C99-style fixed-width
types declared therein. If you don't really care about the size of a
variable (e.g. as the index variable in a small for loop), you can still
use an int as it's often the most efficient type for each processor.
It's usually the case that a char is 8 bits, int is at least 16 bits,
and a long is at least 32 bits. Never assume that int or long (or char,
for that matter) have a specific size, or that they will overflow at a
particular point. Use a size-specific type (e.g. uint32_t) if necessary.
* The sequence of bytes received from a camera isn't necessarily the
same as how those bytes are stored in a C struct in memory.
Many compilers will place padding bytes between the elements of a C
struct to improve run-time efficiency on the target processor. This
means that if you read a camera packet directly into such a struct,
the bytes will not line up and your program will use the wrong values.
A similar problem occurs even if you read just a couple of bytes
into an int, if gphoto is running on a processor with a different
"endianness" than the camera.
The most portable solution is to use the macros available in the
gphoto2-endian.h header file. When you read a packet from a camera
(writing is similar), use a uint8_t array or heap space to store the
raw packet. Extract each member of the packet out of the array one at a
time using a macro like be32atoh from gphoto2-endian.h. Those macros
take care of both those problems at once.
The macros have the form AANN[a]toh or htoAANN[a], where AA is `le'
(little-endian) or `be' (big-endian), NN is 16 or 32 (bits in the
word) and `a', if present, means that the preceding type is located in
a byte array, not an integer. `h' refers to `host', and could be big
or little-endian depending on the current CPU. Upper-case versions of
these macros (where appropriate) do the conversion in place. Do a
'man ntohl' to find out more about why these are needed, and the generated
gphoto2-endian.h file for more descriptions.
* Your code won't necessarily be compiled with gcc.
gcc is a great C compiler, but it isn't installed on everybody's
systems (yet!). Avoid use of proprietary gcc language extensions and
features that aren't available in ANSI C89 compilers. Sure, there's
probably some code that would be more elegant using a gcc language
extension, but somebody, somewhere will be denied the use of the best
digital camera application in existence because of it.
This also applies to new standard C features that appeared in the
C99 specification of the language. There is not much support yet
in the installed base of C compilers to allow unrestricted use, but
this will change as time goes by. In the meantime, use autoconf to
detect if the feature is available at run-time and act appropriately
(for an extreme example, see how configure handles the C99 header
file <stdint.h> or inline keyword).
Although one-line comments starting with // have been available
in most compilers for several years, they were only officially
added to the ANSI C99 spec and some compilers out there still
don't support them. The "inline" keyword also falls into the same
category, but configure tests for this feature at compile time
and supplies the appropriate inline keyword as a macro. Finally,
don't add compiler-specific flags to make files directly, as many
of them are specific to one compiler and will cause the build to
fail when using another.
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