NOTE: The official Asus Repositories now provide Skype 2.0. This is also better configured for the system, as you do not have to manually enable and disable the webcam. To update, either go to your Software Updates, or Synaptic if you're using KDE, or simply “sudo apt-get upgrade” at the console terminal
Out of the box, the EEE PC comes with version 1.4 of Skype. While it works fine, it doesn't work with the built-in webcam on the EEE PC. To get that working, you need to install the version 2.0 beta.
Asus has added Skype 2.0 beta to its repositories and provided an update through the Asus Update Manager:
Asus Launcher -> Settings -> Add/Remove software
1. In firefox, go to the URL http://www.skype.com/go/getskype-linux-beta-xandros. This will download the Xandros-specific .deb file. Save it to your My Documents folder.
3. Change to the My Documents folder:
cd /home/user/My\ Documents
4. Install the new version of Skype using:
sudo dpkg -i skype-debian_188.8.131.52-1_i386.deb
The version numbers near the end of the file may vary slightly from what you see here.
Now, when you click on the Skype icon, it should launch version 2.0 Beta instead of 1.4.
1. To test if the video is working, turn the camera on using the command (in a terminal):
sudo echo 1 > /proc/acpi/asus/camera
2. Launch Skype, either by clicking on its icon or running the command Skype in the terminal you have open.
3. Right-click on the Skype menu icon in the bottom-left corner of your Skype window and click options.
4. When the options window opens, click on Video Devices that is on the lower-left side of the options window.
5. If your webcam is on and functioning, click on the Test button that appears in the upper-right corner of the options window. It appears in a solid black box.
It is important to note that shutting down Skype does not turn off your webcam. This can cause your battery to drain faster than normal if you do not have your EEE PC plugged in to its charger. To disable your camera, run the following in a terminal window:
sudo echo 0 > /proc/acpi/asus/camera
For more information on controlling the on-board webcam, please see the wiki entry: Controlling the EEE PC webcam
It is possible to write a script to make the webcam run automatically whenever you run skype. If you're worried about messing up your Skype installation then the best way is to just make it a separate script.
You need to follow the instruction in Controlling the EEE PC webcam so that you can turn the webcam on and off from a script. Alternatively you could embed the instructions in your new script, but that wouldn't be as nice or elegant.
Using this method will turn on the webcamera whenever you run Skype, even from the Asus launcher.
#!/bin/bash echo turning on camera cam 1 echo -n "starting skype..." /usr/bin/skype echo skype closed echo turning off camera cam 0
Save this script in your home directory as skype.
Now open up a terminal (Ctrl-Alt-t) and type chmod +x skype
Now test the script by typing ./skype
Make sure to test the video.
Now you will make it so that whenever you run Skype, the video will be enabled and once you close Skype, it will turn the camera off again. Run these commands:
#!/bin/bash echo turning on camera cam 1 echo -n "starting skype..." /usr/bin/skype.real echo skype closed echo turning off camera cam 0
Congratulations, your Skype should now have video support transparently enabled.
This is for allowing Skype to turn on your camera when it loads, and off when you quit. Note: all that was done prior to this was an install of Skype beta 2.0 DEB from the Skype site as linked above.
Make sure skype is closed, then:
1. Open up terminal and type 'sudo su'
2. cd /usr/bin
3. mv skype skype-bin
4. pico skype
5. Enter the following text into editor:
echo 1 > /proc/acpi/asus/camera
echo 0 > /proc/acpi/asus/camera
save(Ctrl+O, enter), and quit(Ctrl+X)
6. chmod +x skype
You can test if the webcam is on at any point by opening terminal, typing sudo -i, and then typing:
'cat /proc/acpi/asus/camera' ←hit enter
a 0 = camera off, a 1 = camera on
For the time being there is no way to control the brightness of the video within Skype. A workaround to this is to use a different program to control the image properties of the webcam. This has been tested on the EeePc 900 only, so your results may vary.
You can control the brightness using v4lctl, which is included in the xawtv package. To install xawtv from the Ubuntu repositories:
sudo apt-get install xawtv
You can then use v4lctl to control the available settings of your webcam. Run the following to check the current settings:
You can change the various parameters in a number of ways, e.g:
v4lctl bright 100% v4lctl Gamma 140 v4lctl contrast inc
When I run the above commands I get an error message, but the changes still take effect.
For descriptions of all the different supported commands, the man page is handy.