Free (Open Source) Webcam Programs

Edited by Earl on Mar-03-2011

Go right to reviews or continue reading. 

The software mentioned on this page meets these specifications:

  1. Program is free ... No monetary cost and no proprietary code.

  2. Runs on a free operating system, as in open source.  Some people refer to these free operating systems as "Linux" but there is more to it than that.  Microsoft programs are not required to run the programs on this page.  We have another post specifically for programs running on a Windows box.

  3. Motion Detection triggers video recording.

    This feature is good for security applications. When a person walks in front of the camera, they trigger the motion detector, automatically starting the video recorder.

  4. Sends text message to a cell phone when motion is detected.

  5. Uploads video to a web server by FTP.

    This feature allows remote monitoring. It also acts as a backup. Without this option, if a burglar breaks into your house and steals the computer that you recorded your video to, you'll lose the video with the computer. However, if you back up your video to a remote location, you can download it from another location, even if your surveillance computer is gone.

Before we get the software working, we need a webcam, camera, or camcorder.

Which webcams work with Linux (or free operating systems)?

Many operating systems have native USB support for webcams with drivers already installed.  If you are running a relatively recent version of the Linux kernel, then you might be able to get your webcam running with no worries about the drivers.  That's how it worked for me... just plug and play.

I used a Logitech C910 webcam, which worked well with Debian (an operating system).

To see a list of supported Linux UVC webcams that work with no need to install drivers, visit:
List of webcams that do not need drivers installed

Programs are sorted from favorite to least favorite.

1. ZoneMinder

#1  ZoneMinder

I downloaded this program packaged with a Live CD by Apex.  This Live CD allowed me to get ZoneMinder running on a notebook computer that has Windows XP installed.  I put the CD into the notebook and booted it up with the Live CD.  When I was done testing, I took the Live CD out of the drive, and the notebook went back to running Windows XP.  Good stuff.

Torrent download:  

Interesting videos about installing ZoneMinder on Linux Mint:
Youtube channel tryallanderror




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