Over the past few days I'd noticed my PowerBook G6's built-in iSight had crapped out. Whenever I wanted to use an app like PhotoBooth to check my hair (because say what you want, it is a nice mirror) I would get an error:

Photo Booth cannot open because no camera is attached or the camera is in use by another application.

Eh? I just booted! I knew it wasn't a hardware error because of two reasons: a) it showed up fine in the System Profiler (whereas an actually broken iSight in a MacBook I had seen earlier did not show up properly) and more importantly: it worked perfectly fine a few minutes earlier, the only difference between the two times being that before, I had been using Leopard. And when I rebooted back into leopard, voila: it worked again.

So, I thought. Must be a software issue. So I did an archive and install of Tiger. No dice. But it had also kept some non-user settings so I figured some other crap must have been left behind. So I backed up all my stuff and did an Erase and Install, figuring it would then pretty much have to work. Nope. Not even during the OSX setup and registration screens.

Not a hardware problem, and not a software problem. What the hell?

I did some digging into how the iSight works, software-wise and eventually found my way to a forum topic on the Parallels forums about Parallels possibly supporting the iSight now that Bootcamp did. There, a post detailed the contents of the new Bootcamp installer, and there being an updated iSight driver that apparently also updated the iSight's firmware:

System Profiler reports: before Boot Camp 1.1: Built-in iSight Version 1.55 after Boot Camp 1.1: Built-in iSight Version 1.82

So, this mean Boot Camp 1.1 updates the iSight's firmware to version 1.82 in order to bring support for the Windows iSight driver.

Ah. I had installed Bootcamp 1.1 to partition my internal drive for Leopard. I had a look at my System Profile and sure enough, Built-in iSight version 1.82. Apparently this newly firmware-updated iSight does not work with the pre-update drivers, as installed by MacOS X versions 10.4.7 and earlier. I didn't need all of bootcamp again, so I opened up the bootcamp installer package, installed the iSight Driver.pkg package, rebooted and whammo, my photobooth hair checking mirror was fully functional again.

This will most likely not be so much trouble anymore once 10.4.8 gets released, but right now if you have installed Bootcamp 1.1 and then reinstall your mac, be sure to reinstall bootcamp again so your iSight will continue to work.

Update: Apparently I just did something very right when reinstalling in preparation of bringing Portia to the doctor (also known as Apple Centre) for an issue with the screen because not only did the iSight work during the install assistant, its firmware version is now back to 1.49. All I did was repartition and do a minimal (deselect everything there is to deselect) installation so I'm not sure what kind of dark magic is causing this...