Update 3 for Flash 9 Linux – Still no V4L2 or GStreamer support


A new version of this article has been compiled here to cover
version 10 of the Flash plugin which reportedly
supports V4L2 in its second beta version!

The problem behind V4L2 or GStreamer not being supported in Flash is best observed when trying to use a Flash-based videoconference tool in a browser (like Dim-Dim or the Dokeos videoconference tool). You might have a configuration that allows you to use your webcam under Linux pretty well in other non-Flash-based videoconference applications (like Ekiga), yet you will not be able to send your video stream in the Flash-based application.This is because your Linux distribution (if it is any newer than around January 2007) will have removed support for the video driver V4L in favour of the more recent and reliable driver V4L2.

As Flash 9 client for Linux (up to update 3 at least) does not support V4L2 (but supports V4L), it is impossible for your video stream to be dealt with by the Flah client.

Despite massive requests (on the same blog, one year and a half before) for support of V4L2 or GStreamer (which includes support for V4L2), any improvement or communication on this topic has yet to be seen. Rather, the development is centered on full-screen features, support for sound codecs and the XEmbed protocol.

Too bad for the videoconference tool in Dokeos…

In the meantime, solutions might come from unexpected locations…

  • Gnash is a GNU version of a Flash player
  • OpenLaszlo offers DHTML output, which means that we only need support for video streaming in JavaScript to be able to have the same videoconference tool in all-DHTML
  • other interesting projects might be around that I don’t know of, or that I don’t remember at the moment

Time will tell which one of these solutions will give us a solution first for videoconferencing under Linux.

As pointed out by Swift in the comments to this post, there is a proposed solution here: http://swifthumors.blogspot.com/2008/03/linux-flash-webcam-headache.html

I haven’t tried it, but I must say it looks alright (considering the very little work involved). I have asked one of our admins to review it and tell me if it’s not dangerous and if it works correctly (I’m worried about the fact that modifying the devices order as suggested might prevent other Linux tools to use my webcam).

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