I'd already bookmarked the Debian Skype Wiki, intending to install Skype at some point. Checking the page again, I found that installation is easy for i386 platforms at least. There is a Skype repository, although there doesn't seem to be a key, so installing brings up a security warning. I used Synaptic to add the repository, update sources and install, rather than edit the sources file and use the command line to update and install- both methods work.
Registering with Skype was easy, but my webcam didn't work. Skype recognised the camera, and the blue light on the camera would flash briefly after hitting the Test button, but no image.
The solution turned out to be the same one I'd used for my webcam not working in Meebo (the web-based chat program that allows me to use MSN on Linux).
It seems that Skype has problems using the latest webcam interface libraries on Linux (not just Debian) and the solution is to tell it to use older libraries.
Simply start Skype from a terminal with this command:
LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib/libv4l/v4l2convert.so skype[Update: Ray in a comment says that the above command didn't work for him, but a similar command did:
LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib/libv4l/v4l1compat.so skypeBy coincidence, I came across an explanation on the Arch Linux Wiki webcam page today of what the two commands do and when to use them. It is a little technical, but it's not a problem just to try both and see which works- actually both do for me.]
For convenience, save the command as a script: create a new document on the desktop, in Preferences make it executable, add the following to the file and save.
#!/bin/sh(The first line tells the computer that this is a script.) Double click on the file and select Run to launch Skype with working web cam.
Skype may of course fix their program to work with newer webcam libraries in the future- so check after any updates- maybe Skype will work with webcams when launched normally at some point in the future.