Windows support for Apple's iSight Camera for next Public Release

Discussion in 'Parallels Desktop for Mac' started by mqandil, Jul 12, 2006.


Would you like to have windows support for Apple's isight Camera

Poll closed Sep 10, 2006.
  1. YES.I would like to use my isight inside Parallels desktop

  2. No thanks. Not at this time

  1. 10w40


    Hi everyone.. although i don't know any about computer programming, but people say it is difficult to make it happen. But I hope the Parallels team would make this thing work! To some people it would be convient for messenger'ing.. For those people who said no.. if isight works on parallels, there's not going to be any inconvience for those users.
    Keep up the great work parallels! i hope to see the new release soon with isight working.
  2. rcomeau


    Everyone, sorry to be blunt, but IT IS NOT IN PARALLELS ABILITY TO MAKE DRIVERS FOR THIRD PARTY HARDWARE! It is not a matter of wishes, or votes or stories on how nice and fuzzy it would make us feel. Unless the inner workings of the iSight camera are made avalable to Parallels from Apple, they cannot develop it. Even if they were available, it should be up to Apple to do so, just like it is Epson's responsibility to write drivers for Epson printers for Windows, or for Cannon to write drivers for their cameras etc.

    Go to the Apple user forums and put some pressure on Apple to make a Windows driver for the iSight. If they do it (they will likely do so to improve on it's claims of support for both MacOS and Windows) and if Parallel's USB support is improved (it would not likely work with the current issues) then you would be in luck. Wishing here is wasting your time.

    Last edited: Jul 31, 2006
  3. Barron


    This is my first post here but I've been using Parallels Desktop since beta. Forgive me if I'm wrong here but rcomeau you said it's not in Parallels ability to make drivers for third party hardware. Well, if you consider the iSight camera as third party hardware then wouldn't you have to consider the video card, network card, mouse, keyboard, and sound as third party hardware as well?

    They created the Parallels Video Driver that links with the actually video card through what I can only assume to be an interface generated from the Parallels Desktop software. So is it really that far fetched to think Parallels Desktop could interface with the iSight on the Mac side and then provide a generic video interface to the guest os that Parallels can then create a driver for?

    I'm no Mac computer programmer (for Windows I am :) but I totally see that as possible. Now, I'm not saying that Parallels should be in any way required to do so. I love P.D. and wouldn't want to part with it for anything, but the addition of the iSight would just be the icing on a already delicious cake! :)
  4. rcomeau


    OK, maybe it can be seenas splitting hairs, but the iSight Camera, as fas as the system is concerned (and from a software development point of view), is a camera plugged into a USB port. I agree that to the user, it looks built-in, but other than appearances, it is not.

    WHile I did not write any part of Parallels, I am fairly sure that the Parallels team do not write anything directly to the video card and that they use Quartz to draw the Windows screen. So from a programing point of view, they are not doing anything that any other software doesn't do using an Apple-provided programer interface. That is the point of it all. Apple provides an Application Program Interface (API) to "abstract" the hardware. That way, software talks to the Mac using this interface and does not have to care about the details of the hardware. It does not have to check to see if you have an nvidia or ATI card, or if you are using an Ethernet card or WiFi to connect to the internet. The APIs provide that bridge between a consistent software and changing hardware.

    The same is true in Windows. When someone plugs in a piece of hardware (i.e. a video cam), Windows calls around to all the USB device drivers present to ask someone to take responsibility for the hardware. The responsibility of the driver is to talk directly to the device using the USB port, using proprietary commands that are device specific. It is also responsible for answering standardized requests from other software via an established API for that abstract class of devices. The author of the driver must be familiar with the innner workings of the hardware, or willling to spend a lot of time trying to reverse engineer that part, which is time consuming and can be illegal if the user licence agreement (ULA) for the hardware prohibits this. Not a big deal for an individual, but a liability for a corporation. So who knows about the inner workings of the iSight camera? Apple! All PArallels can do is make sure that Windows becomes aware of the presence of the iSight camera (by sending Windows established USB hardware management messages) so that Windows can poll all the USB drivers it knows about to see if there is a Apple iSight driver.

    I'm not saying that Parallels cannot reverse engineer the iSight camera or ask Apple for the innerworkings details, the camera might even be using a chipset internally that is somewhat known, but the person who should be doing this is Apple.

    So, please go to Apple's web site and put the energy there because it will be better spent than here. No sense asking the farmer for bread, go to the bakery and have the bakery go to the farmer for the grain for the flour.


  5. indabox


    I voted no. Why divest resources to make Windows more relevant when I want it to go away...
    I am waiting for the time when I'll not have to boot it.
  6. apajak


    I agree with rcomeau. I don't think parallels wants to get into the driver industry.

    But to address another point, there are times when you would like to use a webcam on the PC side. The most important being: When you have to - because the software you have to use only comes in Windows and it interfaces directly with the camera. Not video chat software, but actual business applications with webcam support that your PC-based employer forces you to use.

    I could probably convince my employer to get me a MacBook Pro with Parallels, but according to other posts, it doesn't look like Parallels supports any kind of webcam on the PC side yet (even those with drivers on both platforms), so I'll have to order a Windows laptop instead. :(
  7. rcomeau


    Does bootcamp support webcams? If so, you can use that (essentially making your Mac a Windows machine) until Parallels works better. I have not done so for the simple reason I am too lazy to reformat/partitoin my drive.

  8. conalho


    Don't get this poll

    I don't quite get this poll's question. For those of us not on the Parallels development team, who wouldn't want iSight integration? Right? I mean, what's the reason for NOT wanting the iSight integration?

    Rather, the question should be, what kind of priority would users like to see the iSight integration? For me, I would say better USB 2.0 integration (especially Garmin products) first before iSight integration.
  9. Scott Willsey

    Scott Willsey

    Bootcamp doesn't support anything. It's simply a mechanism to allow windows to boot on the mac. Yes, they did include windows drivers for some of the mac hardware to mac it easy (although there's nothing in the mac that's not available elsewhere save the iSight.

    So booting into windows on the mac does not support iSight either. Reason being there are no windows drivers for the iSight camera. By anyone.
  10. jonathan


    rcomeau, I understand what you are saying, but you are making an invalid assumption. You are assuming that the only way to make the iSight camera visible to a Parallels virtual machine is to connect the actual iSight hardware to the virtual machine - as is done for external USB devices.

    However, there is no particular reason to do this. The other way to make hardware visible to the virtual machine is to emulate it. This involves pretending to be some generic piece of hardware and mapping accesses to that hardware to API calls to Mac OS X. This is how the drives, graphics, sound, network, CDROM, keyboard, mouse and most other hardware for Parallels is managed. To the virtual machine it appears as if there is an 20GB IDE drive in there. In reality, there is a file in the Mac filesystem. The difficulty in doing this lies in the implementation of the generic hardware interface not in the access to the real hardware - in the case of the harddrive, accessing the "real hardware" is done by normal filesystem reads and writes.

    In the same way, the iSight camera can be accessed by standard Mac OS X API calls - any app can do it. Since one can access the video feed, one can then pretend to be a generic USB webcam presenting that same video feed. Then the standard generic webcam drivers in Windows can use the iSight.

    Look in the devices section of your Windows virtual machine and you will see that nearly all of the hardware that Windows thinks it's seeing doesn't really exist. That is why you can install an out-of-the-box copy of Windows or Linux and it will work without any Apple or Parallels special drivers.

    Supporting the iSight camera is entirely within Parallels abilities - in fact they could use the OS X APIs to support any Mac OS X supported webcam, not just the iSight. Whether they want to do this is another question.

    (I am a professional programmer.)
  11. rcomeau


    Hi Jonathan,

    I failed to look at it from that point of view (It has been years dince I used QT to talk to a frame grabber). They could probably write something that worked with any Mac supported webcam so long as it could be accessed to via QuickTime.

    I still maintain that given they poor USB support so far (I still can't get my USB-Serial adapter to work reliably), I'd rathert have them finish what they started before taking any new features on, and Apple can still write a Windows driver for the iSight that would solve the problem for both bootcamp and Parallels.


  12. palter


    iSight drivers now available

    Just for the record, Apple has just posted version 1.1 of Boot Camp which includes support for the built-in iSight. So, there are now drivers available.
  13. mqandil


    Can we use the bootcamp driver

    Can we use the bootcamp driver to add the isight to Parallel desktop? Anyone has a copy of this driver? Please post a link if you do have it. Mark
  14. yak86


    i think the debate just ended. haha
  15. Scott Willsey

    Scott Willsey

    Sure looks that way. Maybe Parallels can extract the driver and put it into the parallels tools.
  16. n9yty


    I tried extracting the drivers out, but the vendor ID codes do not seem to line up with what Parallels reports for the device... It's strange. Windows won't try to load the driver since it doesn't think it's for that device. I'm going to try to tweak the ID's in the .inf file.
  17. BearPig


    The (internal USB) iSight driver for Windows can be downloaded here:

    Now, if anyone can get it to work in Parallels, please post instructions. I couldn't, but I am not handy with Windows.

    Edit: It won't work because Parallels doesn't support USB2
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2006
  18. xserve


  19. smallscript


    Having iSight support with Microphone would be very useful for working with Windows on MacBooks. For example, the Yahoo messenger on MacOSX does not offer reliable behavior nor does it offer the full suite of services that the Windows version does. The same is true for a a variety of other tools. I use my Mac now for all my personal tasks on both Windows and MacOS.
  20. ptrourke

    ptrourke Bit Poster

    OK, I'll bite: what Intel Macintosh has a physical serial port? (Other than USB).

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