Webcam-server is absolutely the easiest way to show on the net what is seen from your webcam, the software is very stable (I’ve just installed Ubuntu, and shows the date 2004) is based on Java and to make it work is enough to give these commands:
#> aptitude install webcam-server
#> export LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib/libv4l/v4l1compat.so
Now point your browser at localhost:8888 and see a snapshot of that seen from the webcam.
In these days all the new netbooks and most laptops have built-in webcam, or at least add one external costs very little, apart from the traditional use in video calls you can use our Linux box to create a monitoring device, it can be used to monitor your child while you are at another PC, or your pet while you are at work, or have a home-made video surveillance system for your properties.
To accomplish this we will use the software Motion, the software is present in many distributions, I will give commands using my Ubuntu 10.04.
Feature that made me choose this software is the ability to remain “asleep” until it detects a noise or movement, and then activates and records, plus the ability to define custom actions when it start (send an email, an sms , Etc.).