Like with any piece of technology, discovering that something you rely on isn’t going to work as expected can be maddening to say the least. And despite the many advancements seen on the webcam front, sometimes webcam drivers for Ubuntu can still present some problems. My own rule when using webcams, is just to stick with Logitech models. The reason being is that they’re generally well supported thanks to solid driver solutions already rolled up with distros like Ubuntu.
Oddly though, I’ve run into some instances where even a known to work webcam can create some problems. At first, there was speculation around my home office that the problem might be a bug. But after doing some checking, it turns out that nothing could be further from the truth. See, the problem that I was experiencing also affected a number of Windows users as well. Apparently the problem was a webcam standby issue of some sort. But in order to realize this, I had to run the following commands to make sure nothing else was going on.
So what was the magic solution? Simple. All I needed to do was to unplug and re-plug my webcam with the computer turned on. Wild, huh? But the problem was that like some Windows users I found also experiencing this issue, I had to do this with each boot into my operating system. Clearly, this was a real problem even if it wasn’t truly an issue with drivers for Ubuntu. The fix that worked best for me was to simply take the webcam off of the powered USB hub I was using, then plug it into my PC’s frontal USB port. Bingo! From then on out, it worked like a charm!
Still having issues with your webcam?
(Above video available in 720p HD – just click on the 360p spot)
If you’ve tried the suggestion above and find your webcam is still giving you some problems, your issue may be Ubuntu driver related. If you’re using an older webcam, odds are it’s going to be relying on the old spca driver. Go ahead and run this code in a terminal window
sudo modprobe gspca
If this was correct, you’ll see the next line appear in the terminal without any errors. If it’s not detected, go ahead and run a sudo lsusb command to see if the webcam shows up there. If it’s showing up there, then it’s using a newer driver. Therefore try this option.
sudo modprobe uvcvideo
Chances are this will give you some success, as it will bounce to the next line in the terminal without any errors. This article is compatible with Ubuntu and Linux Mint.