No problem! The advent of the USB video device class (UVC) means that most modern webcams 'just work' in Linux*.
The one we have is a Microsoft LiveCam HD-3000, bought from Asda a couple of years ago for not much** and I know it works with Skype, which still accesses webcams in an old fashioned way.
Annoyingly, when we try it with a couple of video capture programs, it doesn't work. And in various interesting ways too.
But it's looking like it's the webcam's sound that's the issue. When I try capturing video with no sound, or sound from the sound card... it works. When I try capturing video with sound from the webcam... it doesn't. There's about a count of twenty before the sound works - guvcview can be asked to put a UV meter on screen, so you can see when the sound is active - and the resulting video file has the sound that far out of sync, if it works at all.
This may explain a couple of things that happen when it's plugged in - starting up the computer takes about that longer at the login screen too. You can see that the webcam is being accessed (a light comes on) but I assumed it was the video that was being looked at. Perhaps it's the sound being initialised instead.
OK, let's have a look at alternatives. I could get a clip-on microphone or another webcam. Ah, the Logitech C920 looks very good - as well as an excellent picture, it has excellent sound and...
... the sodding thing was about a third less last week on Amazon than it is now (£41 vs £63). It was cheaper still on a couple of days in December in their sales just before Christmas, but I didn't need a webcam then, did I?
Hmm, how much do microphones cost...?
* With a few exceptions, they work better than they do in Windows because the driver is in the kernel and there's no hunting for drivers. The exceptions include one that..
.. is known to be mounted upside-down in some notebooks. Applications that use the libv4l library should display the video correctly, as libv4l detects upside-down cameras and rotates the image automatically. .. For applications that don't use libv4l, try holding your computer upside-down.
** After a 'that's what it says on the shelf' argument when the barcode was scanned at the check out for rather more. It turns out that Asda don't like you photographing the shelf info... ah, I know it was bought in October 2012, because I still have the photo. It was £12.99.
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