How to webcam on Linux
I wanted to keep an eye on a family pet when I was out the house so installed Debian on an old box and set about investigating the weird and wonderful world of webcams on Linux1.
- A webcam that takes a photo on detecting motion.
- Keep archive of past photos2.
- The most recent photo is uploaded to my server.
What I did
After a bit of a Googling, I decided on a piece of a software called webcam. Here’s how I got up and running:
apt-get install webcam
Create a .webcamrc
Assuming you don’t get any errors your webcam should now be watching for changes. You can view the latest photo at
your.server.com/webcam/capture.jpg and a local archive can be found at
On investigating webcam software that supported multiple webcams I discovered Motion which seems to be the go-to webcam software for Linux that does all the things. After a day of messing about it with I got it working but found it did way more than I needed it to. I’ll stick my config on GitHub when I get the chance.
EDIT (1/10/13) My Motion config is now on GitHub.
Things I need to add to this post: ssh-agent + ssh-add; how webcam resolution is dependant on whether you’re using one USB bus for multiple webcams; managing your local archive with