Software: Add A Webcam

The final piece of software I wanted to get running, so that I can completely divest myself of Windows in my ham shack, is webcam software.

The pickings are slim for webcam software in the repositories, especially if you are looking for something with a  graphical user interface.

There is however, a very nice terminal program that will do a good job. It requires a bit of work to get going, but it’s not hard.

Open your Software Manager and do a search for Webcam:

Software manager showing,Webcam

Software manager showing,Webcam

Once installed, the first thing you want to do is open your text editor and build up a configuration file.  Here’s a copy of mine as an example:

[grab]
device=/dev/video0
text=MyWebCam %Y-%m-%d %H:%M
fg_red=255
fg_green=255
fg_blue=255
width=640
height=480
delay=120
wait=0
rotate=0
top=0
bottom=-1
right=-1
quality=95
trigger=0
once=0

[ftp]
host=ftp.yourhost.com
user=username
pass=password
dir=/
file=webcam.jpg
tmp=uploading.jpg
passive=1
debug=0
auto=0
local=0
ssh=0

You want to call this file .webcamrc (note the period before the name, this is important) and put it in your Home directory.

The [grab] section, tells the software where your camera is, what text you’d like to super over the picture and at what colour. As well, you can set the size of your image in pixels.

I set the delay at 120 seconds. Which of course, uploads a new image from my webcam every 2 minutes.

[ftp] is where you will put your host name and log-in information, and the name you wish to give the image.

Once your configuration file is saved, open a Terminal window and simply type: webcam

One nice thing I like about this software, is that it will report errors as it runs. If there is a problem, simply break out of the software by sending a CTL+C, correcting the configuration file, and then relaunching the software.

Once it’s running happily, just minimize the Terminal window and let it go. Closing the Terminal window will of course end the program.

Webcam running

Webcam running

Takes some fiddling, but it’s a nice, solid program that works very well.