Running a webcam on Linux

You’ve got a brand new notebook with an in-built webcam and you’re in love with Linux. The problem is, your webcam runs only on the pre-installed Windows Vista/XP! This is one of the common hindrances I’ve found people meddling with. The celebration spree takes a poise when you end up wasting a lot of time on forums, websites, IRCs, etc. looking for the perfect solution to help you get the camera in action.

CheeseTrust me, it’s not that difficult. It’s just the right tool, you’re probably under a shadow of. I recently came across one of them. It’s called Cheese! It’s an open source webcam application for Linux users.

If you could picture all this to be just a lame web camera supporting tool, let me tell you that Cheese doesn’t just let you take photos and videos but incorporates special visual effects to them. Cheese was written as part of Google’s Summer of Code 2007 by Daniel G. Siegel. Cheese comprises of some really cool features like a countdown timer and support for saving pictures to Flickr with the flick and F-spot support prerequisites.

Cheese has an interface similar to interface that of Phone Booth, a similar application which available for the Mac OS X users.

Cheese is built on GStreamer and uses GTK, Cairo and D-Bus. Although Gstreamer is nowhere close to Xine engine when it comes to playback quality, but the flexibility it gives to the developers tempt them to make outstanding applications using this very media application development platform. After its success at Summer of Code in 2007, the development of this application continued thereafter.

To install, just shoot your terminal and type sudo apt-get install cheese (for ubuntu). Cheese is already available on the Ubuntu 8.04 Repositories.

Though Cheese has support for both audio as well as video captures, the later has reportedly met with a few bugs which eventually leads the application to crash, in some cases.

The eye candy effects are really good. They let you be creative with your images and videos with options to apply multiple effects to the images or videos by selecting more than one effect. Check out the screenshots.

Note: You may also send your own snapshots, for them to appear on the Cheese Snapshots Website.

To summarize it, Cheese happens to be an extremely useful application for the webcam support. It may not be a matter of surprise is it starts getting bundled with GNOME desktop environment in the future releases.

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  • NickF

    Adding "Cheese" won't help you running a webcam that is not supported by your Linux distribution. "Cheese" is simply an application to take pics and videos. It doesn't install any driver, so if none are provided in the Linux kernel, none will be available after you install "Cheese".

    Thus, the title and the first part of the article is quite misleading.

  • NickF

    Adding "Cheese" won't help you running a webcam that is not supported by your Linux distribution. "Cheese" is simply an application to take pics and videos. It doesn't install any driver, so if none are provided in the Linux kernel, none will be available after you install "Cheese".

    Thus, the title and the first part of the article is quite misleading.

  • @NickF: The article is written considering you've an upgraded kernel. Infact cheese is known to work on the previous kernel release too! Apart from that, I've mentioned "Cheese is already available on the Ubuntu 8.04 Repositories." Which is tried and tested.

    Also, you may check out the complete set of prerequisites to let yourself know what's needed and what's not: http://live.gnome.org/Cheese/FAQ#head-4f22b89894cd849cab949b97f7fb8a81a8ca0d98

    I just did not put it within the article, to help prevent the new users from running away with the featured dependencies which are no matter a part of all latest distros, if you look out!

    Thanks for your valuable conflict 🙂

  • @NickF: The article is written considering you've an upgraded kernel. Infact cheese is known to work on the previous kernel release too! Apart from that, I've mentioned "Cheese is already available on the Ubuntu 8.04 Repositories." Which is tried and tested.

    Also, you may check out the complete set of prerequisites to let yourself know what's needed and what's not: http://live.gnome.org/Cheese/FAQ#head-4f22b89894cd849cab949b97f7fb8a81a8ca0d98

    I just did not put it within the article, to help prevent the new users from running away with the featured dependencies which are no matter a part of all latest distros, if you look out!

    Thanks for your valuable conflict 🙂

  • NickF

    Thank you for your answer. My grip is with the fact that a good portion of webcams are still pretty much unsupported even by the latest kernel in distros. So Cheese won't help. Imagine a new user happy to see that he can use Cheese, and discover that his webcam isn't supported on Linux... It's not Cheese fault (and FOSS developers in general), but the impression from these users is that Cheese doesn't work. I know lot's of cases like these, in fact I own a "Windows certified" webcams that are not working on 8.04.

  • NickF

    Thank you for your answer. My grip is with the fact that a good portion of webcams are still pretty much unsupported even by the latest kernel in distros. So Cheese won't help. Imagine a new user happy to see that he can use Cheese, and discover that his webcam isn't supported on Linux... It's not Cheese fault (and FOSS developers in general), but the impression from these users is that Cheese doesn't work. I know lot's of cases like these, in fact I own a "Windows certified" webcams that are not working on 8.04.

  • @NickF: Nice to see you following up pretty quick! My point is that an application which works more often than not can't be made a benchmark for the rest. What works on Linux and what doesn't has been the biggest hurdle for the Linux community. Be it any device, you might have to take a heavy toil to make it run on Linux. I remember configuring my Wireless datacard for Ubuntu few months back. Painful it was!

    Regarding your "windows certified" webcam, I do not think they shall be "Linux non-certified" either! May be you need to meddle with it a bit to get things working, just as we do it very often for several apps.

    However, cheese is an awesome application and one of the few hits at Google summer of code. I hope that was a clear indication that it's known to work more often than not! With you facing specific problems, you need to look up to some dedicated forums/IRCs, for that matter! Best wishes. 🙂

  • @NickF: Nice to see you following up pretty quick! My point is that an application which works more often than not can't be made a benchmark for the rest. What works on Linux and what doesn't has been the biggest hurdle for the Linux community. Be it any device, you might have to take a heavy toil to make it run on Linux. I remember configuring my Wireless datacard for Ubuntu few months back. Painful it was!

    Regarding your "windows certified" webcam, I do not think they shall be "Linux non-certified" either! May be you need to meddle with it a bit to get things working, just as we do it very often for several apps.

    However, cheese is an awesome application and one of the few hits at Google summer of code. I hope that was a clear indication that it's known to work more often than not! With you facing specific problems, you need to look up to some dedicated forums/IRCs, for that matter! Best wishes. 🙂

  • moises

    Hi, I was wondering I have cheese installed in my Ubuntu box and it works awsomely when recording videos, but I am having a challenge making it record the sound. Any idea how to find a fix around that. I really like cheese better then camerona. I just want to get it to record sound as well. What good is a video if you can't grasp the sound as well. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Until then I guess I will have to run audacity at the same time and somehow attach the sound to the video when I convert it from .ogg format to an .avi file. I just do not think that this sound be that much of a trouble.

  • moises

    Hi, I was wondering I have cheese installed in my Ubuntu box and it works awsomely when recording videos, but I am having a challenge making it record the sound. Any idea how to find a fix around that. I really like cheese better then camerona. I just want to get it to record sound as well. What good is a video if you can't grasp the sound as well. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Until then I guess I will have to run audacity at the same time and somehow attach the sound to the video when I convert it from .ogg format to an .avi file. I just do not think that this sound be that much of a trouble.

  • Hari Kiran

    I have Lenovo Y510 notebook with a built in cam. I installed Cheese which put my webcam into operation, but the webcam doesn't work with gtalk or other such web applications. Please help, I don't wwant to go back to Windows...

  • Hari Kiran

    I have Lenovo Y510 notebook with a built in cam. I installed Cheese which put my webcam into operation, but the webcam doesn't work with gtalk or other such web applications. Please help, I don't wwant to go back to Windows...

  • Nick B

    i just installed "cheese" by typing in sudo apt-get install cheese in the terminal and it installed without any mistakes. The only problem is, I dont know how to run the application! How can I make it so i can take pics and vids after i installed the software???? Thank you to whoever answers my question.
    Nick B

  • Nick B

    i just installed "cheese" by typing in sudo apt-get install cheese in the terminal and it installed without any mistakes. The only problem is, I dont know how to run the application! How can I make it so i can take pics and vids after i installed the software???? Thank you to whoever answers my question.
    Nick B

  • Nick B

    hahaha never mind i just found out how to do it. for those of you that had the same question as me, you go to applications and then to graphics and it will be there

  • Nick B

    hahaha never mind i just found out how to do it. for those of you that had the same question as me, you go to applications and then to graphics and it will be there

  • peyton

    i love my cheese! 🙂 i have been using it over a year now! although the sound dosent work anymore... 🙁

  • peyton

    i love my cheese! 🙂 i have been using it over a year now! although the sound dosent work anymore... 🙁

  • Abhijith Nayak

    Thanks a lot - This was exactly what I was looking for.

  • Abhijith Nayak

    Thanks a lot - This was exactly what I was looking for.

  • rsn

    thanks ........

  • Doesn't do audio in Mint Linux 13. Sigh... Yet Another Non-Solution...

  • phatazz42o

    There are some pretty sweet video filters for cheese? When can we expect some audio? That would be phat!