Linux Kernel: Improved Webcam Support Thanks to GSPCA

Jul 22, 2008

The kernel developers plan to integrate the GSPCA driver with kernel 2.6.27 to add support for a large number of webcams.

Following the introduction of the driver – this is on the roadmap for kernel 2.6.27 at the latest - the kernel should support most popular webcams without forcing users to compile addition kernel modules.

The integration of the UVC driver with the recently released in 2.6.26 kernel version significantly increased the number of webcams supported by the kernel. The GSPCA drivers now extend support to USB webcams, which include many internal webcams in notebooks.

The GSPCA drivers were developed by Michel Xhaard, a French doctor, who has programmed drivers for hundreds of USB webcams in a solo effort launched back in 2003. Xhaard gave a very readable interview to the British online magazine Inquirer in April last year, revealing facts about his hobby.

The inclusion of the drivers in the kernel offers users a number of advantages by removing the need for users to download drivers from the author's website and to build the executables. This procedure can be annoying when distribution updates install a new kernel forcing the user to manually build the matching webcam module to reinstate support. Although there are approaches to automating this process (such as KMP in Opensuse), kernel integration is a far more elegant.

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