Originally Published: Sunday, 9 April 2000 Author: Jan-Erik Mouzakis Gagnum
Published to: enhance_articles_multimedia/Images Articles Page: 1/1 - [Std View]

Digital Cameras & Linux

Check out the status of digital cameras to be used with Linux here.

What is the use of a digital camera if you cannot import the images for future storage on a computer? Problems arise when digital-camera manufacturers do not release their communication protocols, and developers have a much harder time developing software for non-proprietary operating systems. Fortunately, recently some manufacturers have released specifications and developers have hacked up communication protocols. Having said this, here is the equipment you will need in order to start playing around with digital photography in Linux.
It goes without saying that you will need a digital camera. When buying a camera, it is very useful to know if the vendor publicly releases their communication protocols - this might guarantee better software support for your camera in the future. Also it is good to ask manufacturers if the camera supports programs (e.g. gPhoto).
Usually digital cameras are connected through the serial port interface. One can easily get drivers so that their programs can support communications through the USB port. Some drivers can be used for a variety of other cameras that share the same protocols. This is convenient if you cannot find a specific driver for your own digital camera. One can also download the kernel patches that include support for various new cameras.
And now for the software itself. There are a number of perl scripts and C programs such as GET_ S7, and Fujiplay (based on GET_DS7) but these are for specific digital cameras (in this case for Fujifilm digital cameras). There are some advantages to using Fujiplay over GET_DS7, one of them being that Fujiplay is written in C as opposed to perl, making it considerably faster. They both are command line programs that connect to the camera through a serial port and they both support special features (an example of this being Fujiplay's ability to determine the speed of the connection, for compatibility with future faster models).
Some more X11 based camera software are gPhoto, and Jcam .
gPhoto has to be the most popular one in my opinion simply because of the fact that it supports many different digital cameras. Here is the list of more than 105 cameras that gPhoto supports. It has both a command line interface as well as a GTK+ based graphical user interface. It also supports both serial and USB connection. In addition, there exist a number of plugins such as Live Camera! that allow you to take a picture from your camera using gphoto.
Jcam is a java based digital camera software. Here is a list of currently supported cameras. Jcam has only support for serial RS-232 ports, but promises to support other interfaces like PCMCIA, IrDA, USB and Firewire in the future. It is available on most systems including Solaris, Free BSD, and Linux.
Digital Photography has come a long way in the passed couple of years. With the increasing support on many different operating systems now and in the future, digital photography will further improve and shows signs of becoming an essential part of our lives.