April 29, 2012

Use Webcam on Linux

Most laptops nowadays come with a built-in webcam for convenience of video chat or just to take some pictures whenever you're bored. The thing is, if your laptop is on Linux, you would probably ask the question, "How the hell am I gonna use my webcam?"

The answer is Cheese. It's an application that can take pictures and videos using your webcam. It also comes with different effects that you might find appealing. Though, it is most likely not pre-installed on your system so you would have to install it manually. You can either do it through the Terminal (personally preferred) or through Software Manager (GUI). Step by step procedure on both methods are given below:

Installation through the Terminal:
  1. Open Terminal. (Menu >> Terminal or Ctrl + Alt + T)
  2. Enter the "sudo apt-get install cheese" (without the quotes)
Installation through GUI:
  1. Open Software Manager. (Menu >> Software Manager)
  2. In the search box, type "cheese" (without the quotes)
  3. Click install.
After the installation you would find Cheese under the category Sound & Video. Make sure your webcam is turn on before opening Cheese because it doesn't seem to recognize your cam when you turn it on while the application is already running.

Some of you may be thinking, "Why does most Linux distro don't have Cheese pre-installed?" There are different views on this. Some of those that I found revolves on the idea that Linux is an OS geared towards productivity and having a webcam on a computer deviates this underlying principle. Though it makes sense, we cannot disregard the fact that from time to time, we need such fancy applications to balance productivity and enjoyment.

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