The pain of having a 64 bit Linux laptop and OpenCV

This is the story of a very big frustration. I’ve been an evangelist of Open Source from almost 8 years now. One of the first thing I always defend is the the freedom of a free operative system. Of course, with great power comes great responsibility, but that didn’t really worry me because actually I’ve always been enjoying of dealing with the system. There is something special in the satisfaction of getting things working in Linux. Even, and secretly, it is one on the reaseons because we like Linux, because when something gets wrong, we have the power to fix it. And we love this.

But this mantra could have been a mess. Actually I thought I wasn’t able to get the things done. In this case, I was trying to install the open library for computer vision, called OpenCV, in order to use it from Processing. But my laptop has a 64 bits processor, and there started the problem. The most of the libraries are compiled and have binaries for 32 bits systems, so it’s supposed to could be enough if I compiled the libraries by myself. But that’s not alwasy as easy as it looks like. After try, nor one, two, three, four, but six different methods, I got OpenCV libraries working on my machine with Python bindings, and also the OpenNI and NITE PrimerSensor enabled, what it’s supposed to be good in you want to connect a Kinect (in the future I would like to use Point Cloud Library, aka PCL). And not the same luck for CUDA. Once the OpenCV was working, of course, I discovered the fantastic OpenCV PPA with 64 bits libraries packaged for Ubuntu 11.10.

After OpenCV, I needed to bind the library with Java first, and with Processing then. But this step hasn’t been likely at all. I tried the common OpenCV for Processing, I also tried the recommendations made by my classmate Roberto (whose laptop is 32 bits processor based) and generating again the following several instrucionts. Even with another different library called JavacvPro, but nothing, I always got the the error:

wrong ELF class: ELFCLASS64

So, if I wanted to build a proof of concept of our idea of a green LED blinking when the camera detects a fece, and a red one when it doesn’t, I had to use the almighty Python for what the OpenCV was already working pretty well. Then I took the typical example and added a couple of lines for connecting to Arduino, so the new code looks like:

import numpy as np
import cv2
import as cv
import serial
from video import create_capture
from common import clock, draw_str

arduino = serial.Serial('/dev/ttyACM0', 9600, timeout=1)

help_message = '''
USAGE: [--cascade <cascade_fn>] [--nested-cascade <cascade_fn>] [<video_source>]

def detect(img, cascade):
    rects = cascade.detectMultiScale(img, scaleFactor=1.3, minNeighbors=4, minSize=(30, 30), flags = cv.CV_HAAR_SCALE_IMAGE)
    if len(rects) == 0:
        return []
    rects[:,2:] += rects[:,:2]
    return rects

# The rest of the code is the same

And having the next Arduino program loaded

#define GREEN 8
#define RED 7

int val = 0;
int face = 70; // "F"
int none = 78; // "N"

void setup() {
  pinMode(GREEN, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(RED, OUTPUT);

void loop() {
  if (Serial.available()) {
    val =;
    if (val == face) {
        digitalWrite(GREEN, HIGH);
        digitalWrite(RED, LOW);
    } else if (val == none) {
        digitalWrite(GREEN, LOW);
        digitalWrite(RED, HIGH);

And here we can watch the amazing result of the work 😀


Filed under Tasks

2 Responses to The pain of having a 64 bit Linux laptop and OpenCV

  1. Pingback: Install Simple Kinect Touch on Ubuntu 11.10 (32 bits) | The Digital Fingerprint of the Brush

  2. Pingback: Baroque Faces: Final Post

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