urvc is an open-source driver for parallel-port SBIG CCD cameras. Basic target platform is Linux at i386. Current code allows the user to use a simple command line interface or call the functions from within it's own program. This page should provide some insight into the driver function: first, how is the camera being accessed, second, how it is realized within the host operating system along with discussion of it's pro's and cons. Finally, page should allow an interested user to get the code.


  • status: stable
  • target group: linuxing astronomers
  • license: nyd
  • os: linux
  • prg language: c
  • topic: ccd camera driver
  • human language: none
  • user iface: linux cmd line


Original motivation for doing this was to make possible implementation inside a single-chip computer and allow the image-data being transferred over some media which does not completely block the system like parport's i/o operations. (Which are capable of totally blocking an old 286 as well as the latest model of pentium6.) With this in mind, the communication protocol was understood and urvc is kind of a by-product of the original target. Finally, for lack of real interest I left the idea of single-chip and play solely with urvc.

Figure 1: CCD kamera SBIG


urvc came from observing the closed-source driver from Steve Ashe in various ways including parport traffic study, literal parts of .o library observation and other strange things. The basic parts took me about two months of intensive work during December 2001 and January 2002. After general understanding the camera behaviour I could continue code tuning myself, just by playing around.


The driver supports all cameras I have had access to and is also expected to support various others, although there's no prove about that:


Table 1: Supported devices (* marks untested)

This driver has been later incorporated into the robotic package RTS2 (http://rts2.org/), where the code can be publicly accessed. -m.