Open Letter to WebCam Makers - It's time to Include Linux Drivers and show it on your packaging!

So the other day I was making my routine perusal of the computer merchandise at my local retailer (OK so I admit it, I was at Wal Mart).

While walking through the aisle of peripheral devices I was thinking to myself, what is the most problematic device to get working in GNU/Linux? And that's when it hit me... it's USB WebCams.

Linux is arguably the most compatible operating system for just about any type of typical computer hardware out there. What this means is that a great number of all types of devices already work with Linux, ranging from a multitude of CPUs/Motherboards, to wired/wireless networking, to disk drives/RAID controllers, to external drives and media, to audio/video/playback devices, and the list goes on and on. With that being said, when I think of what type peripheral device that is comparatively lacking in functionality and drivers for GNU/Linux, it is the USB WebCam.

So after I inspected every USB WebCam available on the shelf at Wal Mart, the "system requirements" for every one showed Windows, none with GNU/Linux support.

This DOES NOT make me happy as a Linux user!!! These hardware companies KNOW that Linux exists, I'm absolutely sure they do!! SO WHY NO LINUX SUPPORT!!

How long would it take for a USB WebCam manufacturer to make a Linux driver? About a week or so? We're not talking about reprogramming the space shuttle here. What if the WebCam makers recruited the help of the GNU/Linux community?

This much I know for sure. Had I seen a reasonably priced USB WebCam that stated "Linux Compatible, driver on CDROM" in the "system requirements", I would have bought it right there on the spot! Does this mean anything?

There are more people out there just like me. I'm sure of it. It's why Ubuntu Linux is being sold at Best Buy.

Windows is not the only Operating System for the desktop, it's time that companies realize this, and profit from it, and provide more hardware that works with Linux.

So I'll be sending emails to Logitech, Phillips, Microsoft, and any other WebCam maker I can find to ask them to see this blog entry, and more importantly to make their hardware compatible with Linux (and showing it on the box).

Please leave a comment to show support or if you have an idea as to how to get these USB WebCam makers to see this.

Shannon V.


  1. I love the warm fuzzy feeling I get when I see a thumb drive or portable hard drive, that says it supports linux. I already knew it would, but to know that they double checked makes me happy.

  2. Recently there was in the news that new USB cam device support was being added right now to the upcoming Linux Kernel, and since it used the todays webcam standards, almost all recent webcams will work without problems.


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