So you're looking for the best Linux webcam software to install? Webcam is undeniably one of the most important yet underrated computer device for gamers, streamers, work-from-home users and office workers. It allows for seamless communication with people quickly and efficiently. A webcam, once connected to a computer or network, capture what's happening in front of it and send it to the computer. Nowadays, almost every laptops or even monitor has a webcam built-in. In case they don't, you can easily buy a dedicated one and plug into the computer to begin recording or video calling.
Generally a webcam is used to capture and transmit real-time video calling, but it can be more useful at times. You can use it for streaming, send short videos or even broadcast a self-made TV-like channel over the internet. A few people use webcams as part of their home security system, leveraging smart motion detection to alert intrusions.
In order to use a webcam effectively, you often need to install a dedicated software. In this article, we've selected the best Linux webcam software which enable you to make the most of your webcam.
Sitting on top of our list is OBS - a free, open-source and cross-platform real-time manipulation application. OBS is available on Linux, BSD, macOS and Windows. OBS allows users to add many video filters and effects to your webcam capture. You can adjust exposure, brightness, contrast, saturation and white balance, zoom and pan, focus your webcam in Linux. You can even create scenes from multiple sources such as webcams, window captures, browser window, etc to make a media-rich presentation.
OBS Studio notable features
- Manage multiple input sources at any given time.
- Can handle multiple webcam all at once.
- Heavily supports online streaming.
- Built-in support for popular services such as Twitch, Youtube, etc.
- Real-time audio and video mixing.
- Video game detection. You can record video games with a webcam.
- Robust video manipulation tools.
- Equipped a powerful API that can be used to extend functionality through scripts and plugins.
- Customizable transitions, multiview, scene preview.
Webcamoid is a simple, but fully featured, cross-platform webcam suite available on Linux, Mac and Windows. It is written in C++ and Qt5, ensuring the best video processing capabilities. The interface may look simple at first, but behind that is a robust set of features.
Webcamoid supports a wide range of video formats, including Apple HTTP Live Streaming, ASF (Advanced / Active Streaming Format), AVI (Audio Video Interleaved), DV (Digital Video), FFM (AVserver live feed), FLV (Flash Video), GXF (General eXchange Format), iPod H.264 MP4 (MPEG-4 Part 14), ISMV/ISMA (Smooth Streaming), Matroska, MP3 (MPEG audio layer 3), MP4 (MPEG-4 Part 14), MPEG-1 Systems / MPEG program stream, MPEG-2 PS (DVD VOB), MPEG-2 PS (SVCD), MPEG-2 PS (VOB), MPEG-TS (MPEG-2 Transport Stream), MXF (Material eXchange Format), NUT, Ogg, PSP MP4 (MPEG-4 Part 14), QuickTime / MOV, RealMedia, SWF (ShockWave Flash), WebM.
Webcamoid basic interface allowsyou to take pictures and record videos with the webcam. You have the ability to manage multiple webcams and customize each of them, too.
Webcamoid use FFMPEG as its engine, meaning you have access to a huge number of configuration options for its supported formats. There are over 60 video effects for you to mess around, which includes ASCII art, aging, black & white, blur, broken TV, cartoon, cinema, color filter, color matrix transform, etc.
Webcamoid is available for Linux in AppImage and binary format., which can be downloaded from its homepage.
Different from other software in the list, ZoneMinder is a set of Linux applications aimed towards surveillance. The application allows for capturing, analyzing, recording and monitoring of any CCTV or security cameras attached to a Linux based machine. Only necessary components is loaded on runtime, preventing wasted resources and maximizing your machine's performance.
If you have an old PC lying around and a bunch of IP, wireless and USB cameras or webcams, you can easily configure ZoneMinder to form a home automation and surveillance system.
ZoneMinder notatble features include:
- Useful and friendly user interface.
- Wide range of cameras supported.
- Built on C++, Perl and PHP to ensure raw performance.
- Independent video capture and analysis daemons allowing high failure redundancy.
- Robust zone (regions of interest) configuration.
- Easy to use web interface allows for access anywhere.
- Even notification either by SMS or email.
- Includes bi-directional X10 (home automation protocol) integration allowing X10 signals to control when video is captured and for motion detection to trigger X10 devices.
- Supports automated script and plugins.
- Multiple users and user access levels.
- Multi-language support out of the box.
Motion is a Video4Linux (V4L) webcam capture program which supports motion detection. It was written in C to ensure the fastest performance. Motion can be set up to monitor movements and changes in the videos, usually for watching birds or pets. Motion is a command line program and has no graphical interface, but if you're a Linux user, that may not be a problem.
Motion notable features
- Video4Linux compatible which enables great compatibility.
- Works well with webcams, video capture cards, network cameras, static files (via v4l2 loopback device) and PI cameras.
- Feeds can be stored in a PostgreSQL or MySQL database.
- Minimalist web browser that can be further configured to access anywhere.
- Automatic noise and threshold control.
- Output to JPEG, PPM or MPEG formats.
- Taking snapshots at intervals or at predefined timestamp.
- Live streaming webcam.
- Watch multiple inputs and outputs at the same time.
- Can be extended or automated with scripts.
- Highly customizable masks for motion detection.
Kerberos is an open-source video surveillance system written in C++. Kerberos makes use of advanced computer vision algorithms to detect motion changes and then trigger actions based on the event. Kerberos is distributed in two separate versions: erberos Open Source and Kerberos Enterprise.
Kerberos can be managed using its web interface, controlling the processing engine behind. Most of the computation and algorithm happens in the back end. Supported devices includes IP cameras (RSTP/ONVIF compatible), USB(V4L2 compatible) and the popular Raspberry Pi camera.
Kerberos notable features:
- Can be managed anywhere from a phone or laptop.
- Can be deployed on an IoT device or Docker container.
- High availability, stable.
- Receive real-time notifications through Kerberos.cloud.
- Cross-platform, available for Linux, Windows, OS X, and Raspberry Pi.
Clight is an application that allows you to use your webcam as a light sensor. It automatically adjusts the screen backlight based on what it observed from the webcam. For instance, if you're sitting in the dark, it dims the screen backlight, prevent your eyes from getting tired and vice versa.
Clight is written in C and was released under open source license.
Clight notable features
- Very lightweight yet fully supports valgrind and cppcheck clean.
- Integrates well with systemd.
- Automatic user location update with geoclue2. Internet connection is needed.
- Supports both internal laptop monitor and external monitors.
- GAMMA mode automatically change screen temperature based on time of the day.
- DIMMER mode dims screen when idle for a while.
- DPMS mode timeouts for AC/battery states.
Cheese is a small Linux program that takes pictures and videos from your webcam. Cheese is an official GNOME project. Internally, Cheese uses GStreamer to apply special effects to photos and videos. In order for your webcam to work in Cheese, it needs to be compatible with Video4Linux standard (both V4L and V4L2 is supported).
Cheese is written in C and Vala and released under GNU open source license.
Cheese features include:
- Capture video with webcams, burst mode supported.
- Save images in JPEG and videos in WebM format.
- 35 addition graphical effects to photos and videos.
- Kiosk/Fullscreen mode.
- The countdown facility lets you manage recordings and get into position to take the perfect shot.
- Basic brightness/contrast/saturation adjustment.
Kamoso is the official webcam software for the KDE desktop environment. It was implemented in C++ and Qt. The program can take pictures or record videos from any webcam attached to the computer. It's interface is user-friendly with as less many options as possible.
Kamoso noteable features
- 3 seconds delay before taking pictures.
- Burst mode supported. You can continuosly take pictures rapidly in a single click.
- Built-in media gallery where you can apply special effects to images.
- The program can be extended using plugins.
- Share captured images to social networks or photo sharing service.
- Upload videos to YouTube (needs kipi-facebook).
- Internationalization support – there are translations for Czech, German, Greek.
HasciiCam is an unique command-line program and allows users to publish plain-text video to the web. The images captured from the webcam are converted into ASCII letters, embed in a HTML page with a refresh tag. Alternatively, videos captured can be shown in a HasciiCam window or saved in to text files.
HasciiCam supports any Video4Linux compatible device. When using a usb webcam, a supported size needs to be specified. The minimum or maximum detected size should work, also a size of 160×120 mostly gives good results, with unsupported sizes you will get unexpected results.
- Low bandwidth live cam “streaming” in plain text.
- Command line interface.
- Live mode with plenty refresh rate option.
- Written in C, will be a great example to junior C developers.
Guvcview, short for GTK+UVC Viewer is an open-source webcam viewer for Linux, specifically GNOME-based ones. Guvcview is written in C and has a user-friendly graphical interface. You have options to adjust brightness, contrast, saturation and color temperature of captured images. Guvcview can also capture videos from webcams.
Guvcview notable features
- Basic image manipulation tools to adjust contrast, white balance, saturation, brightness, temperature, gamma, etc.
- Supports popular image formats : JPG, PNG, BMP.
- Supports capturing multiple webcam audio channels.
- Built-in FPS counter in the title bar to monitor video recordings.
Camorama is another simple webcam utility built to take pictures and videos from webcams for Linux. Camorama has extensive supports for image filters, which is unique among webcam tools. Camorama is licensed under the open-source GPL-2.0 License.
- Take pictures and videos from webcams.
- FTP upload once the images/videos has been saved.
- Supporst both PNG and JPEG image format.
- Built-in tools to adjust image brightness, color, white balance, and hue.
- Burst mode to automatically capture images in a single click. The images can later be assembled into a GIF.