XFqcam Home Page

Wow, I'm adding this paragraph 3/21/2006. This page was created just about 10 years ago- and hasn't been updated since! But people still use it so maybe I'll just let it live on. Enjoy....

XFqcam ins a program I wrote a while back that lets you use a Connectix QuickCam under Linux. XFqcam provides a graphical interface to manipulate all settings in real time, view the moving image and take snap shots.

The current release of XFqcam is 1.02, from January 25th, 1996. The XFqcam 1.02 package(95k) is a compressed tar file that contains source and an a.out executable. If you want to build your own you will also need the XForms library available from The Xforms Homepage(3/21/2006- this link broke loooong ago).

I don't really support this program anymore. Infact I added a request for a volunteer to maintain the program, but as you see that was a long time ago and I've had no serious takers. Still, the program is downloaded quite frequently so I guess it still serves a need. I hope you enjoy it.

Also below is a picture of the interface and an (out of date) history of the development of the program.


7/29/96- I am looking for someone to take over development and maintenance of XFqcam. I've realized that I just don't have the time or inclination to maintain it. It still gets downloaded several times a day so I think it would be a shame to just let it die, however it needs the following modifications to stay useful:

If you take over the program I can give you the intermediate source that I never released. It has a sleaker interface, initial support for recording and cleaned up code. Plus you'll get the glory, fame, and grattitude of the masses. (and the constant requests for new versions :^P )

If you are interested, and serious (i.e. not trying to scam the intermediate version out of me), please contact me at loomer@1000klub.com.


[XFqcam ScreenShot]

Through the magic of reflective optic technology(a mirror), the QuickCam takes a picture of itself.

History of XFqcam(written in March '96)

Back in the old days (fall of '95), when QuickCam became available for Windows, the first thing many people wanted to do was use it under Linux. Tragically Connectix's policy was to release programming information only under strict non-disclosure and with a non-compete clause. Anyone who knows the Linux community knows homey don't play that game.

Russ Nelson at Crynwr software formed a mail list for linux programmers interested in reverse engineering the camera using "clean room" techniques. I.E. by observing camera behavior, not disassembling Connectix's code. Well, many joined but only slight progress was made...until Christmas '95 when, thru a modification to WINE (windows emulator for Linux), major strides were taken to discover what the camera was doing.

Almost immediately Scott Laird released a preliminary quickcam library. Though the library was geared towards taking command line snapshots I used it to code "xqcam", a simple program for showing live image in an X-window. Thomas Davis released his own library, parts of which I used to make a faster "xqcam". Using new discoveries by others and a few from myself, I quickly evolved "xqcam" into XFqcam. Within a couple weeks the group had gone from virtually zero knowledge to a whole suite of command line utilities and a program (XFqcam) that implements much of the functioanlity of Connectix's Windows based QuickPict.

The Future of XFqcam

Ah yes, thems were heady times...new versions of stuff coming out almost daily...new discoveries hourly...good times, those. We had learned a lot about the camera but a few major things hadn't been figured out yet: how to grab a portion of an image, how to decode a bi-directional 4 bit image and the best way to handshake with the camera to generate the fastest framerate with the most stable image. Most of the stuff from those early weeks in January '96 has since been ported to several different operating systems but with a few exceptions no major new innovations appeared on the list.

Recently (I'm writing this March 12, 1996), Connectix changed its policy and is releasing developer information unencumbered with NDAs, so the final dark corners of the QuickCam should soon be exposed. The linux-quickcam reverse engineering list has evolved to become The QuickCam 3rd Party Devloper List.

I hope at some point soon to release a new version of XFqcam that takes full advanatage of the offical information from Connectix. I've actually had a "2.0" for over a month. It has a nicer interface and new features including recording. I shelved it though for lack of info on how to decode bi-directional 4bpp images. Perhaps now I'll be able to take another stab at it. I'm pretty busy though, so it may be a while. Please don't ask about it, it'll be here when it's ready.

Why not send mail to loomer@1000klub.com ?