Sunday Jun 24, 2007

USB webcams and video conferencing on Solaris

OpenSolaris build 56 (released in January, 2007), USB video class
driver usbvc(7D) is integrated into Solaris. That is, if a user plug a
USB webcam that compliant to USB video class spec from, then
the webcam will plug and play on Solaris. More details see the "Heads-up".

In OpenSolaris build 63 (released in April, 2007), Ekiga video plugin
is also integrated. It is a video conferencing application, supporting
H323 and SIP protocol. Solaris users can enjoy video conference on
Solaris if they have a USB webcam and a audio speaker/microphone.

While I was developing usbvc driver, a JDS team was working on Ekiga
video plugin. There are a lot of cases need be tested for the driver
and Ekiga application. Ekiga is the first user of  the driver,
therefore, several problems are discovered when they run together. We
are lucky that we had a very good communication channel, so all the
bugs/issues were solved in a very efficient way. Before I integrate the
driver to Solaris source tree, Ekiga's video plugin can already work
very well on usbvc driver.

The most frequently asked question is, which webcams can be supported
by usbvc driver? Theoretically, all USB webcams that compliant to USB
video class spec can be supported. In practice, the following webcams
are tested, their video capture functions work well. Users are
encouraged to report problems if they have chances to use any other
webcams that compliant to the spec. The following list is last updated at Nov. 26, 2007. Please note that some devices have the same names but different IDs.

    Device Name                          Vendor ID, Product ID

Logitech Quickcam Pro 5000                046d,08c5
Logitech Quickcam Pro 5000                046d,08ce
Logitech Quickcam Fusion                  046d,08ca
Logitech Quickcam Orbit MP                046d,08cc
Logitech Quickcam Pro for Notebooks       046d,08cb
Logitech Quickcam Pro for Notebooks       046d,0991
Logitech Quickcam Ultra Vision            046d,08c9
Logitech Quickcam Deluxe for notebooks    046d,09c1
Logitech Quickcam Communicate Deluxe      046d,0992
Logitech Quickcam Pro 9000                046d,0990

The following ones are reported to work. Thanks people for reporting this. Last updated at Apr. 9, 2008

Logitech Quickcam Pro for Notebooks    046d,8c3
Logitech QuickCam Sphere AF               046d,994
HP         Deluxe DC-8872

Issues can be reported to or

Saturday Jun 23, 2007

Who am I?

Last week, I am asked to write a self description using third person's tone for a web page. At first, I felt a little unaccustomed, but then I found it is interesting. Just like watching yourself in the mirror, you feel you are looking at yourself outside of you.

The following are what I wrote for myself. ;-)

Colin Zou is working in Solaris development team. He works on
Solaris USB device drivers and framework since the year 2003. In the
last four years, he integrated  several USB device drivers to Solaris,
such as USB video class driver for webcams, Keyspan USB-to-Serial
driver, etc. He fixed dozens of bugs, covering USB framework to various
USB drivers.

As one of the pioneers in USB China team, Colin also works
as a mentor in the team. He interviewed nearly a hundred of developer
candidates, and mentored a couple of new hires and interns. In recent
two years, he works as USB team lead and the team is responsible for
the whole Solaris USB software stack. Colin is now working on UWB &
Wireless USB support project. Stay tuned, when the project is released,
Solaris users can enjoy the new technology. :-)

Colin has acquired the Ph.D. degree from Institute of Software, Chinese Academy of Sciences.


Engaged in Solaris development and innovation, working on high priority
projects and customer issues. He is one of the leaders of device driver
community on Any questions about Solaris USB? Ask
Colin. He will answer your questions directly or point you to the right
team members. Colin participated in the translation work of "Solaris
Internals" book (2nd Edition). He contributed two and a half chapters
to the Chinese version book. To know more about Colin Zou, just Google
his name or take a look at the following links, including profile page,
blog, and project pages created by him.


Finally, we get it published: Chinese version book of "Solaris Internals, 2nd Edition"

Since the year 2005, before the English version "Solaris Internals, 2nd Edition" formally published, a group of Sun engineers in ERI
site (located in Beijing, China) started to translate the book into Chinese. Fortunately, I am one of them. We work on the translation in
weekends, vacations, and even holidays. I myself spent three "golden weeks" and some vacation days working on the translation, contributed two and
a half chapters to the Chinese version book. Recently, in June, 2007, the Chinese version book is published. It looks fabulous! When I see it
at the first glance, I felt that I was looking at my baby in expectation for a long time.

This book can be easily found at a popular book store in China, there are already some comments about it from the readers.

I heard that some Chinese universities are going to use it as a reference book for their OS courses. I will be happy if the book will
have a mass of readers.

Sunday Jun 10, 2007

My Names

As most of the staff working in Sun China sites, I have a Chinese name and an
English name. Because we work in a bi-lingual environment, English and Chinese.
My Chinese name is Zou Yong, it is given by my parents, get along with
me since I was born. My English name is Colin Zou, I use it since the
year 2003 I joined Sun. I like it because it is easy to pronounce for
both Chinese and English speaking people. My family name is Zou. You
might already notice that people in China and some of the Asian
countries always put their family name as the first place, this is the
most obvious culture difference between western and eastern countries, I guess. ;-)

Tuesday Apr 10, 2007

Hello, my first blog will be ... yes, live upgrade!

Live upgrade, I like it. I have been using it for years.
There is a GUI tool to perform live upgrade, a little trick is, you need run xterm first, then type lu in xterm window.

$ xhost +

access control disabled, clients can connect from any host

$ su


# xterm

Then in xterm,

# lu

By this GUI tool, you need not to remember the command names. And it is very straight forward. I tested it on both Solaris 10 and Solaris Express developer edition.

For more info about live upgrade, search document at


Colin Zou is a software engineer enjoying improving operating systems. Besides sitting at a computer all day like a dull boy, he also likes hiking and the activities on the beach.


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