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/ skype“.  Once I did that, Skype / Options / Video Devices confirmed that video is working fine.

Skype video