Webcam in Linux on Sony VGN-BX61MN

For anyone interested in using linux on this laptop, the following should be of help. The camera is labeled as Motion Eye but lsusb reports the device as:

05ca:1839 Ricoh Co., Ltd Visual Communication Camera VGP-VCC6 [R5U870]

After alot of messing around and installing defunct kernel modules, that seem to work, but actually include the wrong firmware versions. I found that the work being done by Alex Hixon on a generic R5U87x driver to be the most up to date. Previously the project rolled its own kernel module to support the camera, However the current version works by providing userspace tools to upload firmware to the device so that the standard uvcvideo driver in the kernel can communicate with the camera.

Unfortunately there wasn’t much around in the way of a howto to explain how to use the code. So I had to figure out the following for myself.

First of all install mercurial and some other project dependencies

sudo apt-get install git-core libglib2.0-dev libusb-dev

Now you can download the source

git clone

Change into the source directory and issue the following three commands.

cd R5U87X
make rules
sudo make install

If your user isn’t part of the video group you will probably have to modify /etc/group and make yourself a member of that group otherwise you might experience Permission Denied errors.

After you have rebooted you can test using mplayer

mplayer tv:// -tv driver=v4l2

Also make sure you can record because uploading the wrong firmware will in some cases allow you to see output but not record it.

mencoder tv:// -tv driver=v4l2:device=/dev/video0 -nosound -ovc lavc -o test.avi

If you want to clean things up afterwards you can run the following commands
sudo apt-get --purge remove mercurial libglib2.0-dev libusb-dev
sudo apt-get --purge autoremove
rm -r R5U87X

You may find the above steps also work for the following devices:

05ca:1830 Ricoh Co., Ltd Visual Communication Camera VGP-VCC2 [R5U870]
05ca:1832 Ricoh Co., Ltd Visual Communication Camera VGP-VCC3 [R5U870]
05ca:1833 Ricoh Co., Ltd Visual Communication Camera VGP-VCC2 [R5U870]
05ca:1834 Ricoh Co., Ltd Visual Communication Camera VGP-VCC2 [R5U870]
05ca:1835 Ricoh Co., Ltd Visual Communication Camera VGP-VCC5 [R5U870]
05ca:1836 Ricoh Co., Ltd Visual Communication Camera VGP-VCC4 [R5U870]
05ca:1837 Ricoh Co., Ltd Visual Communication Camera VGP-VCC4 [R5U870]
05ca:1839 Ricoh Co., Ltd Visual Communication Camera VGP-VCC6 [R5U870]
05ca:183a Ricoh Co., Ltd Visual Communication Camera VGP-VCC7 [R5U870]
05ca:183b Ricoh Co., Ltd Visual Communication Camera VGP-VCC8 [R5U870]
05ca:183e Ricoh Co., Ltd Visual Communication Camera VGP-VCC9 [R5U870]

22 thoughts on “Webcam in Linux on Sony VGN-BX61MN”

  1. THANK YOU!!!
    It worked! I’m new to Ubuntu and I have very little troubleshooting experience with linux and THANK GOD YOU POSTED THIS! Well appreciated man! I have a question though, it is safe to delete the r587x folder? I don’t know how linux installations work see.

    1. Hey, the link on Alex’s repository no longer exists. Now I need this laptop to work for one of my many kids 😀 Do you happen to know where I can get a copy of this? All the solutions seem to point to Alex’s repository, but it is no longer there. Your help is greatly appreciated!

  2. Thanks a lot. It worked perfectly for Sony Vaio VGN-CR24G/B. Probably this thread is the most useful one that I found out on the net while fixing up the problem of the webcam in the laptop with Ubuntu 9.10 installed in it.

    best regards

  3. woow such a nice explanation ! Thank you very much. I am newbie in Linux so i am impressed 😀 And i LOVE LINUX !!!

  4. Great post. it worked perfectly, you need to put this as solved and posted to the ubuntu forums, a lot of people are having problems with this webcam. thanks a lot man.

  5. Hi, I am Pawan Rana,
    i have a sony vaio VGN SZ483N with a built-in webcamand mic.
    how can i use this in ubuntu 11.10?
    I also have bio-metric finger print sensor and I have seen fingerprints in terminal.
    How can i use this in ubuntu 11.10 ?
    please help.

  6. For the webcam the first step would be to run the command lsusb and see if the output has [R5U870]. If it does then you are in luck as the driver listed on this site is for that device.

    As for the fingerprint sensor I have no idea. I wasn’t able to get the fingerprint sensor working under linux for my laptop either.

  7. Unfortunately this did not work on my Vaio SZ370P:
    05ca:1830 Ricoh Co., Ltd Visual Communication Camera VGP-VCC2 [R5U870]

    …on Linux Mint 18 x64 – Cinnamon:

    ~ $ mplayer tv:// -tv driver=v4l2
    MPlayer 1.2.1 (Debian), built with gcc-5.3.1 (C) 2000-2016 MPlayer Team
    mplayer: could not connect to socket
    mplayer: No such file or directory
    Failed to open LIRC support. You will not be able to use your remote control.

    Playing tv://.
    TV file format detected.
    Selected driver: v4l2
    name: Video 4 Linux 2 input
    author: Martin Olschewski
    comment: first try, more to come ;-)
    v4l2: unable to open '/dev/video0': No such file or directory
    v4l2: ioctl set mute failed: Bad file descriptor
    v4l2: 0 frames successfully processed, 0 frames dropped.

    Exiting... (End of file)

    After referencing the bitbucket webpage, I also noticed the following command was not mentioned here: “sudo r5u87x-loader –reload”

    ~ $ sudo r5u87x-loader --reload
    r5u87x firmware loader v0.2

    Searching for device...
    Found camera: 05ca:1830
    Camera reports positive microcode state.
    Camera reports microcode version 0x0100.
    Not doing anything - camera already setup.

    Successfully uploaded firmware to device 05ca:1830!
    Reloading uvcvideo module...
    ~ $

    Looks like it somewhat installed and loaded. However, cheese and skype do not detect a webcam at all.
    …Yeah, it’s an old laptop and proprietary crap built in but it would be slightly convenient even if this crappy 1 or 2 megapixel cam worked. Any suggestions?

    1. It seems as though the driver loaded, but it didn’t map the device to /dev/video0 have you tried looking at the kernel messages using dmesg after you run the reload command?

  8. I just want to say that this worked perfectly on a 10 year old Sony Vaio (vgn-cr353) on Linux Mint 19.3. Followed the instructions to the letter, rebooted, and everything worked perfect in Cheese.

  9. Linux noob here with absolutely no clue what all the commands did. But hey, it’s 2020 and your instruction still works! It’s the first time that I managed to fix something on Linux on my own. This brought back an old laptop to life that we will use for our homeschooling kids who do not have their own devices. Worked on a Sony Vaio VGN-CR31Z with a Ricoh Camera VGP-VCC6 on Linux Mint 18.1

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