SPC900 Camera on Linux

Because of the problems I’ve been having with the Xbox Live camera with my SheevaPlug I decided to give one of my SPC900 cameras a try. I don’t really want to use these as I had another purpose in mind, but they do at least seem to work pretty well under Windows. I’ve used one successfully for some time for planetary imaging and others are using them for guiding and DSO imaging with the long exposure mod.

Unfortunately as soon as I plugged it in I realised there was going to be trouble. On the SheevaPlug my capture application failed to report many of the controls. Looking at the PWC driver code it appears that it doesn’t support the V4L2_CTRL_FLAG_NEXT_CTRL flag for the VIDIOC_QUERYCTL ioctl call, so it isn’t possible for an application to enumerate all of the controls.

This appears to be fixed in (at least some of) the 3.0 series kernels, so if you’re running, for example, Ubuntu 11.10 then it should work, but as I can’t stand the Unity and Gnome 3 UIs that we seem to be stuck with on Ubuntu 11.10 I shan’t be using that if I have any other possible choice.

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