A webcam is a video capture device that is either connected to a computer directly (typically by USB) or over a computer network. Many modern netbooks and laptops have a built-in webcam.
Webcams spice up online communication by offering real-time video chat and webcasting. These tiny cameras enable users to chat in realtime with friends and family, send video email around the world, to videoconference with co-workers and clients, and even to broadcast a TV-like channel over the net. Other people use a webcam as part of a security system, making use of motion detection to receive image and video intrusion alerts, both interior and exterior, of a building or home.
To use a webcam in Linux requires dedicated webcam software. In this article, we have chosen our favorite tools which enable webcams to capture images and video, and to act as a video surveillance device. Here’s our ratings.
To provide an insight into the quality of software available for Linux, we have compiled a list of 9 useful webcam tools. Hopefully, there will be something of interest here for anyone interested in using the versatile webcam.
Now, let’s explore the 9 webcam tools tools at hand. For each title we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, screenshots (where appropriate), together with links to relevant resources.
|Webcamoid||Full featured and multi-platform webcam suite with a simple interface|
|ZoneMinder||All-in-one security camera solution|
|Motion||V4L capture program supporting motion detection|
|Kerberos.io||Video surveillance solution|
|Clight||Webcam becomes light sensor|
|Cheese||Take pictures and videos from your webcam|
|Ekiga||VoIP and video conferencing application|
|Kamoso||Qt-based webcam utility|
|HasciiCam||ASCII cam streaming|
We have not included Skype in the list above. While millions of people use Skype for voice chat, instant messaging, file transfer, and video conferencing, the no-charge application is not available under a freely distributable license. Nevertheless, Skype is worthy of a special mention.
Read our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. The collection covers all categories of software.
The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There's tons of in-depth reviews, alternatives to Google, fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.