Now I've set up webcams on linux before, and it was a pain, but it got done. This was over five years ago, so I'd assumed things may have gotten easier by now. They hadn't. New webcams were out, with just as bad support as there was five years ago. All the same, documentation on the web is good if you know where to find it. That's what this doc is for.
The first thing to do was find out what model my webcam was. I knew it was Creative, since that's what was written on the cam itself. Plugged it in, and dmesg just said that a new USB device had been plugged in. Then I ran lsusb, which gave me this:
Bus 005 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 001 Device 013: ID 041e:405f Creative Technology, Ltd
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 002 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 004 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 003 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
So the vendor ID was 041e — which is Creative, and the product ID was 405f, which probably maps onto some name, but that's immaterial.
Most webcams (well, creative ones at least) work with the ov511 driver that comes packaged with most distros, but this cam didn't, so I started searching around for support for this particular product ID. Found out from RastaGeeks that this was a Creative Vista Webcam VF0330 (the VF0330 matched the model number at the back of the cam), and that it was supported by the ov51x-jpeg driver, version 1.5.2 or higher.
The Ubuntu Webcam page had instructions on setting this up, which I followed and met with success.
Now, chances are that you'll find other information as well about this driver. One of the steps I'd followed was to install the
module-assistantpackages using apt, and then build and install the module using
module-assistant. Unfortunately, this installed an older version of ov51x-jpeg, which didn't work with the camera. That led me to believe that the driver didn't work, until I tried the newer version.
If you've done this, then you will need to
apt-get remove ov51x-jpeg-modules-2.6.22-14-genericfirst, then install the new driver and then run