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Re: drivers for USB webcams

On Sun, Aug 28, 2005 at 03:14:18PM -0700, Lee wrote:
> I'm looking at starting a project that will take video input from
> multiple usb based webcams. I understand that some webcam manufacturers
> supplied x86 based object files for linux drivers so they didn't have
> to release information on interfacing to their products. Are there
> anyopen source (or Arm based) drivers for any brands of USB webcams
> contained in the Debian package? I'm particularly interested in any
> cams that have pan/tilt/zoom capability. Thanks in advance.

The two most common webcam chips, pwc[1] and ov511[1] have open-source
drivers. PWC driver used to have binary-only "decompressor" module,
that allowed higher framerate and/or resolution while losing some
image quality. That code has been since reverse-engineered, and is
available in source format.

As far as I know, only "Logitech QuickCam Sprehe", using driver
pwc has pan/tilt/zoom suppport, but it's image quality isn't stellar
and the device is quite expensive for it's features. 

Since most webcams use usb 1.1 bus, you will run out of USB bandwith,
if you try to read video from more than one webcam at a time. You might 
want to consider network-based cameras, such like "Linksys WVC54G" 
or any of the Axis cameras.

[1] http://www.saillard.org:8080/linux/pwc/
[2] http://alpha.dyndns.org/ov511/

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