So I checked out the other threads on this topic, and it seems that for people in my particular situation there is no solution (or is there...?).

In Ubuntu Hardy, my generic webcam worked fine (I don't even know what type it is). I plugged it in, and camera-monitor showed it to be working right away, it worked fine in cheese and skype and everything else, no problem, right out of the box, you get the idea.

Then I did a clean install of Intrepid.

No program will detect it. Any program that would actually explain something just says "no device connected to /dev/video0" or something along those lines.

I tried my fiancee's webcam, a Logitech Quickcam, and it works great, but the quality is terrible (my webcam's quality is way better, despite being some generic thing with no name).

I've installed just about every package that all of the "linux webcam howto" manuals list, and nothing works.

Any ideas?