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Webcammy goodness!
After a bit of effort and one false start, I've got a web cam that works on my machine.

It's tricky, because...

1. In the past, there were no standards for how web cams were supposed to interact with the machine, so every web cam needed it's own driver. And the manufacturers only write drivers for Windows and/or Mac.

2. There's now a standard, but not everyone follows it, especially the cheap web cams. Many times, the standards are written to allow vendor-specific implementations of part of the standard. Sort of like saying "A book must contain a chapters and a table of contents that lists each chapter. The table of contents must be written in English, and each chapter must identify, in English, what language the chapter is written in. English is the preferred language for chapter contents". Most books will end up written in English, but it's perfectly possible for a standard-compliant book to have chapter 5 in Swahili. Of course the vendor-supplied drivers can deal with the Swahili-equivalent data.

3. Vendors say one thing on the box and say another to the machine. This is reasonable. For instance, the box I have says "LIVE! CAM Optia AF". To my machine, it says 041e:406d, which specifically identifies the electronics inside the camera. The Linux-UVC project says they support the "LIVE! CAM Optia AF", except they call it 041e:4058, which is a related, but different, set of electronics. It's entirely possible that the difference between the '6d revision and the '58 revision is that with the '6d revision chapter 5 is in Swahili, whereas with the '58 revision it's in English (using the metaphor in the previous paragraph). There is no way to identify which hardware revision is in the box from looking at the box, and decidedly no way from looking at the camera listing on Amazon.com.

So to a large degree, there is no way of being guaranteed that the cam will work on Linux. The best you can do, short of taking a Linux laptop into the electronics store and telling them you want a working camera and you will test every cam they suggest until you find one, is to look at the list of known working cameras, buy a brand and model on the list, and hope they didn't change the internals enough to break it.

It turns out that the '6d revision works, even though it's not on the list.

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We'll test it tonight. Give me a phone call about 8:30pm to coordinate.

Tonight's a bad choice. Tomorrow?

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