V4L means video 4 linux. It is a separate software package. You should be able to find it in your distribution's software package repository. Your distribution's software repository probably has two versions of V4L. These are version 1 and version 2. You should probably install version 2 if it is available.
I have found that Logiteck Quickcams generally work with the generic UVC driver when combined with V4L. UVC means USB video codec. This should be available in your distribution's software package repository.
Once you've installed video 4 linux and USB video codec you will need an application to use the camera. I've had good results with XawTV. This should also be available in your distribution's software package repository.
Quick start steps:
- Unplug the camera if it is possible to do so. If the camera is built into the computer then don't worry about disconnecting it.
- Install video 4 linux.
- Install USB video codec.
- Install Xawtv.
- Plug the camera into the computer.
- Start Xawtv. If it won't start then it probably doesn't see any video devices.
- If Xawtv does start then the camera active light on the camera should turn on and you should see a picture of what the camera sees in the Xawtv window.
I have had pretty good luck withe the Kubuntu 8.04 and PCLinuxOS 2009 distributions with regard to webcams and wireless NICs.
The Fedora Core 10 release notes say that they have put in a lot of effort to make webcams easy to use with their distribution. I have not tested webcams on this distribution.
You may find, as I did, that a hardware device doesn't seem to work no matter what you do. Then after a patch update the device starts to work. This happened to me on Kubuntu 8.04 with a webcam after the hal-info package was automatically upgraded.
Getting webcams to work in Linux is pretty much a matter of trial and error and luck. That is why I have used words like 'probably' in this reply. You can't be sure that any set of instructions will work in a particular situation.
I would make sure that I used a 32 bit distribution rather than a 64 bit distribution. I just tried to get my Quickcam to work on my 64 bit Kubuntu machine and failed totally even though the camera works on my 32 bit Kubuntu machine. This could be due to any number of things such as the motherboard BIOS microcode or whatever. It's really difficult to diagnose webcam failures because this is a fairly new area for Linux.
If the camera is going to work then the HAL (hardware abstraction layer) software should map it to /dev/video0. You can look in the /dev directory to see if a video0 device exists after you plug the camera into the computer. You can also look at the system kernel messages after you plug the camera into the computer to see if there are messages indicating that Linux has detected your camera and loaded a driver for it. You can open a terminal window and enter the dmesg command. If the camera is detected then you should see something like the following at the end of the messages.
[ 132.430743] usb 5-2: new high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 4
[ 132.691246] usb 5-2: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
[ 132.691867] uvcvideo: Found UVC 1.00 device <unnamed> (046d:0990)
If Xawtv doesn't work then try another application such as Zapping TV Viewer or KDE TV Viewer.