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An interview Question about Linux

Sam Sunamin
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 16, 2007
Posts: 113
How do you make a USB or Web-camera to work on linux system.

My Answer:
Install the hardware driver of linux for USB or web-camera.

It seems not so satisfied, and thus interviewer asked me another question.

Question 2:
How to fix it if the driver does not work?

How you guys answer this question?

Yours Sam<br />SCJP5.0 97%<br />SCBCD5.0 72%
Freddy Wong
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Joined: Sep 11, 2006
Posts: 959

Install the one that works Don't tell me the interviewer expected you to fix the driver or roll out your own driver

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Jesper de Jong
Java Cowboy
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Joined: Aug 16, 2005
Posts: 15082

I had to do this for my webcam on my desktop PC at home. I have a Microsoft VX-3000 webcam and it doesn't work with Linux. This is what I did:

Search on Internet for relevant search terms such as "ubuntu webcam microsoft vx 3000". I found this website: http://mxhaard.free.fr/ from Michel Xhaard, who is programming webcam drivers for Linux. I downloaded the driver and followed the instructions, which included compiling the sources and installing it as a kernel module.

After that, I can see an image from the webcam but the colors are all wrong and it doesn't look good... I didn't yet bother to fix that problem.

Here's a post from ubuntuforums.org with some comments from me (I'm jespdj there).

The interviewer probably asked you that question because (s)he wanted to find out how you deal with difficult computer problems.
[ November 15, 2007: Message edited by: Jesper Young ]

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Stefan Wagner
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 02, 2003
Posts: 1923

My answer would have been: Plug it in.

Most linux-distros have all drivers (which exist and are in mature state) available. Especially for plug-and-play hardware, which is often changed ad hoc.

Pat Farrell

Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4659

Originally posted by Sam Sunamin:

How to fix it if the driver does not work?

Try another distro.

A lot of USB stuff 'just works' on modern distros. My Ubuntu Feisty handles anything I plug into its USB ports. Until I installed Gutsy, and then cameras, CF and SD readers and other stuff died.
Andrew Monkhouse
author and jackaroo
Marshal Commander

Joined: Mar 28, 2003
Posts: 11776

I'd go with Jesper's answer.

I interview a lot of candidates, and in every interview I try to get to a point where the candidate does not know the answer to some question. I then specifically state that "I am not worried that you don't know that - nobody knows everything - but I am curious how you will move forward and solve my problem". Most get the Google answer. Some tell me they will look up the answer in a book, and some tell me they don't know. I think only 1 person has said that since I obviously know the answer then they would ask me what it is (which I think is just about a perfect answer).

Most of the better interviews I know of are not really designed to find out what you know. It is (IMHO) far more important to find out how you think and how you can expand your knowledge.

Regards, Andrew

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