Linux, Skype, and web camera

I’ve been using Skype for a few years now, but mainly for chats.  Occasionally, I’d do a call, but that never involved video.  Until recently.  A couple of days ago my dad got online (finally!).  And now there is a good reason to use Skype with a web camera for video calls.

One of the key points in Fedora 12 release notes was about improved support of video cameras.  That I was glad to hear.  I got my hands onto several web cameras and all of them seemed to work just fine in Cheese – a video capture application.  However, none of these cameras worked in Skype.  Either they were not recognized by Skype, or Skype was crashing, or I was getting really weird green-screen output, or something else.

It turned out, that there is something I had to do.  First, check if libv4l package is installed, and if it isn’t – “yum install libv4l“.  That’s a video for Linux library.  Second, start Skype like this: “LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib/libv4l/v4l1compat.so skype“.  Once I did that, Skype / Options / Video Devices confirmed that video is working fine.

Skype video

2 thoughts on “Linux, Skype, and web camera”


  1. It works for me as well. Thanks for the useful tip with pre-loading v4l1compat.so. It’s can be exported into .bashrc as well – export LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib/libv4l/v4l1compat.so


  2. Yup. Or you can create a shell script like ~/bin/skype, with that command to start Skype. The script then can be added to your Gnome/KDE panel for easy launching.

    Interestingly, at least Gnome application launcher does not support setting environment variables. It needs an existing file path. Which can be solved with a bash script.

Leave a Reply to Michael Cancel reply