Webcams, eye-candy and Phonon

Laurent Pinchart laurent.pinchart at
Thu Apr 27 16:52:32 BST 2006

Hi Arc,

> > 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.
> This is not the view of many free software advocates and this
> proprietary code should not find it's way into KDE4.

Of course not. To make things clear, I'm not advocating proprietary code 
inclusion in KDE4.

> What I would suggest is seeing what these effects are and implementing
> them from scratch.

I warned Logitech that one they release a first version of their video effects 
for Linux someone will probably try to create a free software implementation. 
Those are the game rules, and they accept them. However, they still would 
like to offer their own implementation in a closed source binary.

> Otherwise, prehaps a "video processing" API is 
> needed which allows both free and proprietary effects to be achived
> through a standalone executable communicating through a unix pipe/etc.

Why not through a plugin API ? One of the options I thought about was to write 
a GStreamer plugin. If Phonon is configured to use the GStreamer backend, 
that would then be completely transparent (assuming Phonon uses GStreamer to 
access webcams).

> It really sounds to me that linksys

I suppose you mean Logitech :-)

> is just trying to make sure this 
> proprietary effects software will only work with their hardware, as they
> do on Windows as a marketing gimmik to sell their cameras.  This sort of
> behavior is not acceptable to the free software community.

The video effects are partially implemented in hardware, and will thus not 
work on third-party webcams. This is not only a marketing issue but a 
technical issue as well.

Laurent Pinchart

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