Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How to fix the webcam for Skype in Ubuntu

There are some old problems to set the webcam for Skype in Ubuntu. The followings are two rapid methods to try to fix them.

1) First of all install cheese (to normally use your webcam). In a terminal type the command:

sudo apt-get install cheese

Then launch the program with the terminal (typing cheese) or using the menu Applications > Audio and Video. Do you see the webcam working? If not, there is something wrong (maybe with the webcam drivers, etc.) and you have to fix it first. If webcam works you can normally use cheese and you can set the correct resolution in Modify Preferences Resolution.
Then you have to modify the config.xml file:

sudo gedit ~/.Skype/name_user_skype/config.xml

Where name_user_skype is your username in Skype (like john.wayne). In this file look for the tag <video> and modify it like the following:

<video>
[...]
<captureheight>1024</captureheight>
<capturewidth>1280</capturewidth>
<device>/dev/video0</device>
</video>

Where the numbers refer to the resolution you previously set in cheese. Save, exit, restart Skype and click on Try in Main menu Options Video device. Now your webcam should work properly also in normal videocalls.


2)
Another way to fix the webcam is to launch Skype with this command (which include a library):

LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib/libv4l/v4l1compat.so skype

Check if the webcam works clicking on Try in Main menu Options Video device. If it doesn't work the problem is another. If it works you can set the default launcher in the menu Application in this way. Create a text file just with the command above. Rename it skype_launcher.sh, copy it in /usr/share/applications/:

sudo cp skype_launcher.sh /usr/share/applications/

Set execution permissions:

sudo chmod +x /usr/share/applications/skype_launcher.sh

Then open the configuration file for the icon Skype in the Application menu:

sudo gedit /usr/share/applications/skype.desktop

You will see something like that:

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Skype
Comment=Skype Internet Telephony
Exec=skype
Icon=skype.png
Terminal=0
Type=Application
Encoding=UTF-8
Categories=Network;Application;

Modify only the Exec row in this way:

...
Exec=/usr/share/applications/skype_launcher.sh
...

Save, exit, restart Skype using the icon in the Applitation menu and click on Try in Main menu Options Video device. Now your webcam should work properly also in normal videocalls.

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