Posts tagged ‘VLC’

About Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Skype and Webcams

Just recently, one of my kids asked for the installation of a webcam for creating image snapshots. He already had found a fine, very cheap Trust kit: a webcam, a microphone and a headset for less than 15 euro. I bought it for him, but I warned him on beforehand: since we are exclusively using Linux, installation of a webcam might be cumbersome. He didn’t mind, as long as, in the end, he would have a working webcam and microphone.

trust chat & voip pack deluxe

trust chat & voip pack deluxe

My first concern was to get the webcam to work. I connected it to one of the USB ports of his Linux Mint computer, and did a test with VLC media player: wow!!! I had nothing to configure. As soon as I selected, as output device: /dev/video0 ,we were able to see that basically, the webcam had already been recognized (media -> Open recording device, see printscreen). It just worked out of the box. Again, and as stated so often in this blog: no drivers to configure, nothing at all. Ubuntu (and Linux Mint) just work out of the box, also when adding extra peripherals like webcams.

vlc webcam

vlc webcam

Ok, so the webcam worked. My kid was now able to take snaphots with VLC media player. The VLC snapshots are stored on a hidden directory /home/username/.local/share/vlc. So I created a shortcut on his desktop for easy access; command line for the icon -> nautilus /home/username/.local/share/vlc

All right, so the first step worked. I wanted to take the configuration a bit further: I wanted my kid to have a Skype account, so he could contact me at no cost and with all available media options, when I would be at work. Guess what: installation of Skype on his Linux Mint computer was a matter of installing the software through the Ubuntu software Center (it’s available on Linux Mint too), creating the account, and testing the Skype configuration. I plugged in the audio and microphone jacks…and off we were!!

Oh and by the way: the Trust box mentioned:  “Windows 7 ready” . I guess the manufacturer should add… “and Linux Desktop”.

Happy Skyping!!


26/12/2010 at 4:16 pm 2 reacties

Playing MP4 files

Sometimes, I feel that the desktop world and the eternal comparison between proprietary software and Open Source is turning 180 degrees. Let me explain what I mean by this. Many times, when doing a comparison of specific products of both these worlds, the Open Source piece of software will often be seen as the piece that “can also do the job that the proprietary piece of software can do out of the box” . In other words, a group of developers of that Open Source piece of software have to compete against a functionality that already exists in the proprietary world.

Yesterday though,  I felt that things are slightly changing.

During my holiday, I used my Nokia E61 smartphone to make some holiday videos. These videos are, by default, not in MP3 but in MP4 format…a format that I was able to play flawlessly on my Ubuntu laptop. Now I needed to put these MP4 files on a Windows XP computer as well, and, just assuming that Windows Media Player plays any kind of files, tried to open them with Windows Media Player…well, no go. To play that format, you have to install some extra codecs from Microsoft.Or you just install the media player VLC: Video LAN Client…an Open Source piece of software that, imho, is way ahead of any other kind of media players…you just download it, you install the software, and it just works out of the box, and is able to play virtually any kind of media files in any format, from any kind of media source. Again good news here: it’s available for Windows as well!

11/08/2009 at 8:27 am Plaats een reactie

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