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Old 04-10-2011, 02:36 PM
Bas Wijnen
Default Bug#622137: ITP: pvcam-dkms -- kernel module for Photometrics Coolsnap ES camera

Package: wnpp
Severity: wishlist
Owner: Bas Wijnen <wijnen@debian.org>

* Package name : pvcam-dkms
Version : 4.1.0.
Upstream Author : Bas Wijnen <wijnen@debian.org>
* URL : None yet, hopefully soon on http://alioth.debian.org.
* License : GPL
Programming Lang: C
Description : kernel module for Photometrics Coolsnap ES camera

Photometrics/Roper Scientific is the producer of the Coolsnap ES camera for
scientific measurements. They provide an unsupported driver for GNU/Linux,
consisting of a closed-source library and source for a kernel module.

The module doesn't compile on modern kernels, so I fixed it and maintain the
fixed version. I have also written some tools to make use of the library. An

- The kernel module is free and maintained by me. It has an interface which is
only documented by its source. Since the only user of the module is the
library, it should be considered an undocumented interface. This makes the
module suitable for contrib.
- The library which they provide as a binary. It is broken because it doesn't
have a SONAME and includes libm, but it does work. This obviously has to go
into non-free. This library is like many C libraries: the program needs to
take many steps even to do simple things.
- Because of this I wrote a daemon which allows simple commands to just work.
This daemon uses a public interface to applications which want to do
measurements. I may also write a different back-end at some point, which uses
any video4linux(2) device instead of the Coolsnap. Even better would be to
change the kernel module to turn the camera into a v4l device itself, but
that doesn't seem feasable at the moment.
- While the daemon is controlled over a textual interface through a network
port, which makes it very suitable for scripting, I also wrote a simple
graphical program to use it.

At the moment I don't have a license to distribute the library, but they do
have it available on their website. Until I get a license (I don't think
they'll have a problem with that, they don't have a "don't distribute" license,
they simply have no license at all), I can let the postinst download the file
and install it.

This ITP is about the kernel module. I'll file separate reports for the library
and the tools.

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