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I am running Ubuntu 9.04 on a dell Inspiron 1520. I recently installed this new Pidgin 2.6.1 that includes voice and video chat.

I have got the video chat working, but the video is incredibly jerky. I get maybe 3 frames per second. I have tried other video programs such as cheese and the gstreamer-properties panel, and everything has the same slow jerkiness, so it is not a problem with pidgin by itself. It could be a problem with gstreamer.

Also, while on video calls, some people have complained about my video stopping for a few seconds, then continuing. However, I am convinced that this is a problem with pidgin/XMPP/gmail video chat, since I have not see it, in any of the 3 programs.

Any idea on how I could improve my video quality?

share|improve this question
Memory and internet speed might help. – random Aug 24 '09 at 0:44
I don think that is the problem. I have a fast machine and connection and have the same problem. – Decio Lira Aug 24 '09 at 1:57
The internet is certainly not the problem, since it does it even in offline applications, I have a fairly quick connection, and the other side of the conversation is crystal clear. I also doubt it is memory: I have 3GiB, and am using <1GiB. – Mike Cooper Aug 24 '09 at 2:08
What's the webcam make, and do you know which kernel module is managing it? – nagul Aug 24 '09 at 7:47
It is a OmniVision OV2640, or at least I think it is. It is built in to my laptop. I'm not sure what kernel module is managing it. How would I figure this out. – Mike Cooper Sep 2 '09 at 0:02
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Maybe this site will help
Also good luck getting webcams to work in Linux reliably, I’ve been getting mixed and unfavorable results

share|improve this answer
Nice, this did the trick. I wish they had a package for it, but compiling from source worked just fine. – Mike Cooper Sep 2 '09 at 0:14

Have you installed the video4Linux control panel and v4l2-tool? I don't know what the package names are (I'm a fedora man), but at least one of those tools should let you change the framerate, brightness, etc on your camera, assuming it's supported.

share|improve this answer
I can't seem to find the relevant package under Ubuntu, but Boxdog's answer seems to have solved my problem. – Mike Cooper Sep 2 '09 at 0:13

Only about 1 linux webcam driver in 7 is actually worth the harddrive space it takes up and only about 3 in 7 is supported at all. It's a common issue, webcam manufacturers almost never release drivers and for most open source driver developers, webcams aren't a priority.

share|improve this answer
I tend to agree with the general sentiment, but I don't see where you get the 1-in-7, 3-in-7 numbers from. Do you have any source to back this up? – nagul Aug 24 '09 at 7:44
This web cam has worked flawless before. Since then I have upgraded and reinstalled a few times, so I don't think this is the problem. – Mike Cooper Sep 2 '09 at 0:05

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