The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Monday, January 31, 2000

Camquest

After lunch and killing some time at Walmart, Mark and I headed to Office Depot to check to see if they had any webcams.

After the experiments I did with my digital camera and using it as a webcam, Mark got the itch to do something similar. Like me, he is Microsoft free.

And that's the main problem. Most new webcams are now USB based, and the USB support for Linux is spotty at best, and with that, only with the latest development kernels. Mark and I are still running Linux 2.0 kernels (why fix it when it isn't broken?).

And the one webcam that isn't USB based, the Logitech Quickcam VC, doesn't have Linux drivers—nor is Logitech being generous with programming informtation; they're downright hostile and no information is available. The older Connectix ones (Logitech bought Connectix) are supported under Linux.

There doesn't seem to be any reason why Logitech should keep this information under wraps, unless:

  1. Logitech doesn't want others to know just how lousy the hardware is.
  2. Logitech is getting presure from some company on high not to release information that would allow other competing operating systems to use the hardware (no names, but its initials are <cough>Microsoft<cough>—seriously, many companies are afraid of doing anything which might anger the Redmond giant and giving any OS competitors any slight edge might anger them).
  3. Logitech management (or rather, the lawyers) are relunctant to release anything which might be considered Intellectual Property.

I suspect the truth is “all of the above” to some degree.

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