Every time I upgrade my favorite Linux distro. I end up without Skype video support. Every time!!! It’s unbelievable. Why can’t Skype make an app that provides out-of-the-box video support for Kubuntu.
Anyway, because I keep forgetting how to get my webcam to work with Skype on Linux, I thought I’d write about it here so I always have a reference and so you can benefit from my forgetfulness.
Install a few libraries and applications
Open Konsole or some other terminal then copy and paste these commands
sudo apt-get build-dep v4lutils v4l-utils v4l2ucp cheese libwebcam0 sudo apt-get install v4l-utils v4l2ucp cheese libwebcam0
Get Skype from Skype:
Then install Skype.
Now for the playful part
Edit the file that loads Skype. I use Kate to do most of my file editing. If you use gedit or vim or another file editor, change ‘kate’ in the following command to the name of your favorite text editor.
Copy and paste this into Konsole
kdesudo kate /usr/local/bin/skype
Put the following lines into the file that opens up
#!/bin/bash LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/libv4l/v4l2convert.so /usr/bin/skype
Pay attention to the second line where it reads /usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/libv4l/v4l2convert.so. You might need to replace that section.
Save the file.
Make the file executable by copying and pasting this into Konsole
sudo chmod a+x /usr/local/bin/skype
Now test Skype loads without errors. Type skype (all lowercase) into Konsole and check whether it spits out an error message similar to
ERROR: ld.so: object '/usr/lib/libv4l/v4l1compat.so' from LD_PRELOAD cannot be preloaded: ignored.
If it doesn’t throw an error, it means you have referenced the correct v4l2convert.so file and Skype webcam video should now work in your Linux distro. If it does show the error message then you need to locate the correct v4l2convert.so file.
Finding the location of v4l2convert.so
You only need to do this if running Skype shows an error as detailed above here. This required some trial and error testing.
Type this into Konsole
You should see a few locations listed.
Reopen the file you just edited. Open a new Konsole (keep the first console open):
kdesudo kate /usr/local/bin/skype
You will see a result similar to this:
In the file at /usr/local/bin/skype, replace the section of the second line that reads /usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/libv4l/v4l2convert.so with the first location shown in Konsole for v4l2convert.so when you typed ‘locate v4l2convert.so’ into Konsole in the first step above. Save the file then test run Skype again (you must quite Skype then restart it between tests).
If error shows again, try the next location then test Skype again. Eventually you will find the correct version of v4l2convert.so needed for Skype video to work.
Assuming everything works right and the error no longer shows when you run Skype by typing ‘skype’ in Konsole….
Test Skype video
With Skype open, click the blue Skype symbol at the bottom of the Skype window, select options then select Video Devices. Make sure “Enable Video” is ticked and double check your webcam is connected then click “Test”. You should see a picture of yourself in the test screen.
Congratulations! You now have working Skype video on your Linux computer.
Configuring Linux video settings
Video 4 Linux lets us control webcam settings like brightness, contrast, gain and horizontal flipping. Open a terminal and start Video4Linux with
Configure the previewer by clicking the Preview tab then entering cheese (all lowercase) where it says “Application to use”, then save the settings and select Preview > Preview from the menu bar. Now you can configure the webcam settings with a realtime updated visual.
No sound! No mic!
This is another common fault with Skype for Linux. Type aumix or alsamixer into a terminal to open the system sound settings. Make sure the mic is not muted. When Skype is active during a call, open kmix and adjust the volume level for the Skype capture stream as well as the mic and the webcam (if it has a built in mic).
Also, be sure to check you are using the correct sound card. Press F6 to change it if needed.