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Thread: USB Webcam on Ubuntu 18.04

  1. #1
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    USB Webcam on Ubuntu 18.04

    A friend (who I recommended Linux to) intends to buy a USB webcam to use on her desktop. I have used Linux exclusively for a decade - except for giving up on getting a scanner to work, which has made me a little cautious about hardware. I would like to be sure that if she buys a USB webcam it will work for her. I have found a thread on this subject, but it was from 2009 (and is closed), I imagine things have moved on since then! Is she likely to have problems unless I find a list of approved devices, or does it all work out-of-the-box now?
    Last edited by ChrisOfBristol; April 30th, 2020 at 10:21 PM.
    Ubuntu 20.04

  2. #2
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    Re: Ubuntu 19.04 onwards and USB Webcam

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisOfBristol View Post
    Is she likely to have problems unless I find a list of approved devices, or does it all work out-of-the-box now?
    Neither...

    Most generic ("plug'n'play") USB webcams work.
    Most integrated laptop webcams also work.
    Many that need proprietary drivers/software don't work.

  3. #3
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    Re: USB Webcam on Ubuntu 18.04

    I only came on this forum because I have another question about webcams - which I'll ask here anyway as it may be of general help to the OP.

    I run an oldish HP Elitebook 8440p and was unable to determine from within Linux what the inbuilt webcam was and/or what drivers were required, despite running lsusb and lspci. It was listed when I booted into Windows - HP Webcam [2 MP Fixed].

    Following the links from https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Webcam I found the webcam in: http://www.ideasonboard.org/uvc/
    However having gone through all that trouble I installed Cheese (via Discover) and the webcam works so I'll go along with the other post that suggests any generic webcam probably will work.

    However, and the reason I came looking in the first place, I can't find how to see the Webcam's details under (k)Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. Where is it?

  4. #4
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    Re: Ubuntu 19.04 onwards and USB Webcam

    OK, how might she distinguish (on ebay for example) between a Plug 'n' Play webcam and one which needs proprietary drivers or software?
    Ubuntu 20.04

  5. #5
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    Re: Ubuntu 19.04 onwards and USB Webcam

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisOfBristol View Post
    OK, how might she distinguish (on ebay for example) between a Plug 'n' Play webcam and one which needs proprietary drivers or software?
    Yes, sort of...
    Most of the "plug'n'play" ones usually mention it because it's a selling point.

  6. #6
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    Re: Ubuntu 19.04 onwards and USB Webcam

    Ah! I've learnt something, I always assumed that P&P just meant that you could plug and unplug it when computer was on, or that it was just an advertising slogan - duh!. I'll let her know, thanks!
    Last edited by ChrisOfBristol; May 1st, 2020 at 10:19 PM.
    Ubuntu 20.04

  7. #7
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    Re: USB Webcam on Ubuntu 18.04

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisOfBristol View Post
    Is she likely to have problems unless I find a list of approved devices, or does it all work out-of-the-box now?
    As other have pointed out most mainstream webcams will give no trouble under Linux. A specific recommendation is the Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 that I use myself. A bigger issue these days is getting hold of one at all, the lock-down in most countries has lead to a rush on these devices and while supply has dwindled prices have skyrocketed .
    You think that's air you're breathing now?

  8. #8
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    Re: USB Webcam on Ubuntu 18.04

    A specific recommendation is obviously ideal, thanks. However since she isn't intending to make YouTube videos or anything similar, just wishing to join her friends* on Zoom during the lockdown, I think 100 would be more than she would wish to pay. I imagine she will be looking for something functional under 20. I saw a webcam on Freecycle a year or so ago, but couldn't see any circumstances in which I might possibly have a use for one...

    (*Me included unless the advice I've been give on here is bad, in which case I might become an ex-friend.)
    Last edited by ChrisOfBristol; May 2nd, 2020 at 12:12 AM.
    Ubuntu 20.04

  9. #9
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    Re: USB Webcam on Ubuntu 18.04

    If you post the name of the camera she considers to buy there is a chance that someone here can give a judgement.
    Bringing old hardware back to life. About problems due to upgrading.
    Please visit Quick Links -> Unanswered Posts.
    Don't use this space for a list of your hardware. It only creates false hits in the search engines.

  10. #10
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    Re: USB Webcam on Ubuntu 18.04

    Quote Originally Posted by anthonyl2019 View Post
    I can't find how to see the Webcam's details under (k)Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. Where is it?
    This might help both posters: The command lsusb gives an output like
    Code:
    Bus 005 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
    Bus 002 Device 003: ID 0bda:0138 Realtek Semiconductor Corp. RTS5138 Card Reader Controller
    Bus 002 Device 002: ID 05ca:181d Ricoh Co., Ltd Laptop_Integrated_Webcam_FHD
    Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
    Bus 004 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
    Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
    Bus 003 Device 003: ID 0cf3:3005 Qualcomm Atheros Communications AR3011 Bluetooth
    Bus 003 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
    Bus 009 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0003 Linux Foundation 3.0 root hub
    Bus 008 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
    Bus 007 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0003 Linux Foundation 3.0 root hub
    Bus 006 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
    which shows that my camera has the ID printed in red. Googling your ID number (possibly in quotes) should send you in the right direction.
    Bringing old hardware back to life. About problems due to upgrading.
    Please visit Quick Links -> Unanswered Posts.
    Don't use this space for a list of your hardware. It only creates false hits in the search engines.

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