Webcams, eye-candy and Phonon

Laurent Pinchart laurent.pinchart at
Thu Apr 27 16:28:24 BST 2006

Hi everybody,

as the KDE4 multimedia API is being completely reworked, it might be a good 
time to make sure all absolutely required features are thought about. By 
absolutely required features, I of course mean video effects :-)

I wrote a Linux driver for the new Logitech webcams. All the "basic" (video 
acquisition, data format, contrast/brightness, ...) features are well 
documented, and Logitech has been very cooperative. Now that the driver 
works, one of their developers contacted me to discuss how they could offer 
the same kind of "user experience" to Linux users that they already provide 
in the Windows world. This means face tracking and facial expression 
detection today, but could mean more tomorrow. Have a look at,crid=2354&categoryid=446 
to see what I'm talking about.

While the hardware interface is open and documented, they want to keep the 
additional software closed (IP protection, third-party NDAs and so on). We 
have agreed that providing the customer with open-source free software 
drivers to access the webcams and optional binary modules for eye-candy would 
be the best trade-off.

I'm currently not sure about where in the Linux desktop multimedia 
architecture these kind of effect modules belong to. The goal is to be as 
transparent as possible to the application.

Comments, opinions and advices will be appreciated. This is a good opportunity 
to work with one of the leading webcam vendors and show that Linux is a 
competitive desktop platform.

Laurent Pinchart

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