Saturday, December 19, 2009

Skype in Linux

Recently I have started using Skype in Linux for video calls (calling home). My webcam (Logitech QuickCam Connect) works well in Linux but not directly under Skype ( I am on Ubuntu 9.10. After some net surfing, I found two solutions that worked:

Install gstfakevideo.
If webcam is at /dev/video0, then move it to, say /dev/video1 (gstfakevideo will use /dev/video0 for itself by default. This also means that in Skype Video settings, /dev/video0 is to be selected).
Start Skype as follows:
gstfakevideo v4l2src device=/dev/video1

Install libv4l (in Ubuntu it is libv4l-0).
Start Skype as follows:
LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib/libv4l/ /usr/bin/skype

(change the above path names depending on where the libv4l and skype are installed in your system)

Now that I got video working under Skype, I faced another problem. The video was too dark, and the current Skype version for Linux does not provide any option to change the brightness, contrast, etc. Again, some net surfing, and the solution that works for me turns out to be xawtv.

xawtv includes along with it a tool called v4lctl, which allows one to control brightness, contrast, etc. of the video stream from v4l devices. For me, a simple

v4lctl bright 250

from the terminal during a Skype video call solved the brightness problem. For other options that can be changed via v4lctl, do a

v4lctl list.

I can't exactly remember the URLs from where I collected those solutions, but I do remember that all of that info was from the Skype forums.