How to Solve the Ubuntu Webcam Problem. I currently use Ubuntu 12. 04 as my primary OS and every now and then I need to use Skype/GTalk for a video chat with my friends and family. Recently I made some major changes to my OS installation - including removing a lot of unused packages. This subsequently led to my webcam not working in either Cheese or Skype/Pidgin.
Because I did not remove any related packages intentionally, my guess is that Ubuntu does it when I use autoremove. To troubleshoot such problems, the first and most obvious step is to find out where the problem lies - hardware (faulty webcam) or the drivers. I opened up a terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T) and typed in lsusb. The lsusb command lists all the USB devices connected to the computer. I got the following output:. This output clearly shows that my webcam is alive and kicking (on Bus 002 Device 004 - OmniVision Technologies Webcam).
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So this certainly means that it is not configured correctly or certain drivers are missing. I searched online for similar problems, and most of the answers relate to the infamous Skype problem. But my problem was different because even Cheese would not recognize my webcam. So I just checked for the packages libv4l and v4l-utils. They were missing! a utoremove had fucked up. So I reinstalled these packages by using the following command in the terminal. I used the wildcards(*) because I do not know which ones are required.
I know Ubuntu has a way of installing the required dependencies but then again, relying on it had led to this problem in the first place. After installing the above mentioned packages, I restarted my laptop and voila - my webcam was up and running. So for all of you folks who have had a similar problem after an update or other changes to your system, try this method out.
EDIT : Sometimes the problem occurs because the webcam is mounted as video1 instead of the default video0. To be sure that this is the problem. open up a terminal and type in the following command to display the output of your webcam:.
Alternatively, you can use mplayer to do the same job:. Replace the video0 to video1 in the above commands if you receive an error message like this one (for vlc):. Your input can't be opened:. VLC is unable to open the MRL 'v4l2:///dev/video0'. Check the log for details. This method is quite powerful and can be used as a sureshot method of finding out if there is a driver issue or not.