Everyone knows of this problem. You just installed Linux on your new/old MacBook/iMac. Then you want to start, let’s say a video conference and boom: Skype or whatever you’re using says “No device found”. To fix this issue, I found this solution on StackExchange/AskUbuntu. It didn’t work completely fine for me, but I found another post on StackExchange/AskUbuntu which helped me out with the last problems. In this blogpost, I want to share my compared solution to enable Facetime/iSight Camera Support on Linux.
I used the instructions from the StackExchange posts above on Linux Mint 20.1 Cinnamon, on an early 2015 MacBook Pro "13. As Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu, and the instructions I followed actually were asked by an Ubuntu user, I suppose that these instructions will also work on Ubuntu. I didn’t test this on other Linux distros.
Copy the below code line by line into a terminal. How you do that is completely up to you, but make sure you copy it exactly as it’s written below.
sudo apt-get install git sudo apt-get install curl xzcat cpio git clone https://github.com/patjak/facetimehd-firmware.git cd facetimehd-firmware make sudo make install cd .. sudo apt-get install kmod libssl-dev checkinstall git clone https://github.com/patjak/bcwc_pcie.git cd bcwc_pcie make sudo make install sudo depmod sudo modprobe -r bdc_pci sudo modprobe facetimehd sudo nano /etc/modules
Within the file we opened in the last line from above, add “facetimehd” right at the end in a new line. Write out (<CTRL> + <O>), accept the filename (<ENTER>) and close (<CTRL> + <X>).
All that didn’t perfectly work for me. Firstly, in line 2, I couldn’t install the package “xzcat” because it wasn’t found. A comment said that I had to install “xz-utils” instead of “xzcat”, but this packaget was already installed, so that’s it. Secondly, I wasn’t able to run line 14, because “module bdc_pci wasn’t found”. With the help of another StackExchange/AskUbuntu post, I was able to find a solution for this, too. Install the following package:
sudo apt-get install isight-firmware-tools
During the course of the installation process, you will be asked for a firmware file. You can download such a file here. Extract the downloaded zip archive and copy the included file to a spot you find it again. Then enter the path to that file where you were asked for it. When the installation successfully finished, you’re ready to go.
Just try out your camera right now. Even a reboot isn’t required. For example open “Cheese”, and boom: iSight/Facetimehd!
I hope these instructions will have worked for you. If you have have any questions, ideas what I could do better, please let me know. Just write a comment in the comment section below!