the goal is to use the same webcam for video chat apps and for home security at the same time. Currently, the webcam is working just fine with either VLC (or mjpg-streamer) and with Kopete - just not simultaneously.

I am on Kubuntu 10.4 but at least one of these setups will be on Debian/Linux. A GNU/Linux generic method would be best, but Debian/Linux specific (with udev?) would be just fine.

I have a custom udev rule to control naming of the webcam and I had tried adding "MODE = "0666"" and I have tired running Kopete as root after opening the device with VLC, a permissions angle might not the trick.

Any brilliant insights?

1 Answer 1


V4L2 API does not specify any sharing of one device between multiple applications. It's not obvious how this is possible at a low level as each application may want to set different resolution/colorspace/etc. options.

But it ought to be relatively straightforward to modify something like v4l2vd to be the single reader of the actual hardware device and make multiple copies for multiple clients in userspace.

  • thanks for the lead, I was originally looking at v4l2vd but then thought a single device wasnt the problem... just the access control which brought me to udev. If v4l2vd can be a single reader with multiple virtual devices, ill look back to it for a solution... BUT it is not so straightforward to me. Can you give me a bit more direction?
    – Tom
    Jan 6, 2011 at 7:44
  • V4L2VD does not support audio. This might not be a show stopper, will just need my streamer app to be able to select a separate audio device and for that audio device to be available to both Kopete and the streamer.
    – Tom
    Jan 6, 2011 at 7:53

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