Hasciicam is ASCII for the masses

Hasciicam makes it possible to have live ascii video on the web!

Jaromil in the Hascii spliff screenshot

Hasciicam captures video from a tv card and renders it into ascii, formatting the output into an html page with a refresh tag or in a live ascii window or in a simple text file as well, giving the possiblity to anybody that has a bttv card. a linux box and a cheap modem line to show a live asciivideo feed that can be browsable without any need for plugin, java etc.

Swiss artist installation using hasciicam and printers (2015) Swiss artist installation using hasciicam and printers


On Debian and Ubuntu you have hasciicam packages ready to install

sudo apt-get install hasciicam

On RedHat and derivatives a package may be available too.


This software is operated from a terminal... and invites you to enjoy the aesthetics of it :^)

To have a brief list of command line options, use:

hasciicam -h

To see the manual:

man hasciicam

Build from source

If you want to compile hasciicam from its source code, you will need aalib: that's the great lib that makes possible ascii rendering if your distribution does'nt includes it, you can fetch it from the hasciicam webpage.

To compile the sourcecode:

 autoreconf -i && ./configure && make

and to install it, you can use

 make install

Running it:

people reported success with several pci and usb devices, refer to video4linux documentation for further informations


Hasciicam is written in plain C and is operated via command line, it comes with a comfortable help ( -h option ) and a manual page.

Hasciicam grabs video using Video4Linux2 api: grabs YUV420 and uses the luminance component to obtain a grayscale frame, then renders each frame into (h)ascii using the AA-lib engine, armoring it in an html with a refresh tag.

Ftp push technology is supported, to publish your hascii feed on your online webserver: that is implemented using a simple C code which wraps execution of your unix ftp client.

HasciiCam is written in C and should be portable to various operating systems besides GNU/Linux, still you are strongly advised (is good for your karma) to use it on free GNU systems - and smoke a spliff sometimes.


Hasciicam is a RASTASOFT producton by Denis "Jaromil" Roio



while ( love & passion ) {
  for( fight = 0 ; rights < freedom ; rights++ )
    fight = standup( rights );
  free( babylon );



People who contributed to the hasciicam project:

  • jan hubicka and the aa-project crew - the ASCII rendering library
  • gerd knorr - grab was inspired by his webcam sourcecode
  • mathop aka josto - help on css with style
  • august black - hacks for iomegabuz
  • boffh - hacks for usb cams
  • martin guy - karma to avoid buffer overflows
  • rat - text dump
  • pbm & megabug - watching ascii horizons
  • rapid - security and bugfixes
  • alessandro preite martinez - SGI Irix support (0.9)
  • thomas pfau - ftp library
  • blended - wider webcam support
  • dan stowell - v4l2 api support

Special thanks to:

  • LOA hacklab milano for donating a pentium100mhz development box
  • hell voyager for donating an hauppage bttv brooktree card which made it possible to have releases :) )
  • acme + rasty + martinez for very good vibez!
  • servus.at, maddler.net, flyinglinux.net, autistici.org high quality bandwidth lets people get slashdotted!
  • FREAKNET medialab catania :: for knowledge, place, sun and connectivity under the vulcano!


Hasciicam is Copyright (C) 2001-2019 by Dyne.org foundation

This source code is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This source code is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. Please refer to the GNU Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU Public License along with this source code; if not, write to: Free Software Foundation, Inc., 675 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.