Development: Reverse Engineering USB Webcams

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Poor support for your USB Webcams under Linux

Webcam Manufacturers have largely ignored distributing Linux drivers for their cheap USB Webcams. Providing us with only MS Windows drivers, and maybe Apple Mac Drivers if we are that lucky. Hence we have no choice but to reverse engineer the MS windows drivers to make these very cheap (< $20) webcams work under Linux.

Note: Some webcam manufacturers & third parties do try to provide Binary-Only drivers for Linux, but these are often problematic to use, with Linux support being a moving target, and availability of support on less common architectures like X86_64 (forget about ppc). Additionally they may even demand some money as well, but the cost does not justify as these are very cheap webcams, it is often better to just buy another one that is supported under Linux.

A lot of content on this page has been taken(moved actually) from the reverse engineering effort for microdia webcams

  • Microdia USB Webcam reverse engineering website

Introduction to USB Webcams


Image Sensor

The Steps to Reverse Engineer a USB Webcam

The Tools of the Trade

Programming Resources

Example Drivers


See gspca for more details.


USB Programming

USB Protocol Specs

USB Linux Support

Linux Kernel Infrastructure

Linux Userland Infrastructure