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What Is the State of Linux Security DVR Software?

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the peer-out-of-the-basement dept.

Security 112

StonyCreekBare writes "I am wondering what slashdotters have to offer on the idea of Linux based security systems, especially DVR software. I am aware of Zoneminder, but wonder what else is out there? Are there applications that will not only monitor video cameras, but motion sensors and contact closure alarms? What is state of the art in this area, and how do the various Linux platforms stack up in comparison to dedicated embedded solutions? Will these 'play nice' with other software, such as Asterisk, and Misterhouse? Can one server host three or four services applications of this nature, assuming CPU/memory/disk resources are sufficient?"

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Direct tv uses Linux on there HD DVR's (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30446030)

Direct tv uses Linux on there HD DVR's

Re:Direct tv uses Linux on there HD DVR's (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30446360)

While they both say "DVR" in the name, Security Camera DVR's and TV DVR's are completely unrelated.

Re:Direct tv uses Linux on there HD DVR's (2, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 4 years ago | (#30446646)

Do they have to be? The basic functions are pretty similar. You may want things like event logging from sensors, automatic start and stop recording based on events (motion sensors, heat sensors, vibration sensors) etc. Though, in the end, its just video recording and management.

I would bet that if you were going to put together something and wanted a base to start from, MythTV wouldn't be a bad place to start.

-Steve

Re:Direct tv uses Linux on there HD DVR's (2, Insightful)

ncc74656 (45571) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449472)

I would bet that if you were going to put together something and wanted a base to start from, MythTV wouldn't be a bad place to start.

I've actually used MythTV for this purpose before; I was already familiar with it from using it to record TV. I knocked together a system with a spare MPEG encoder card and a wireless camera when I wanted to find out who was stealing my newspaper. Once you get some fake channel information configured, it's just a matter of setting up a bunch of daily recordings to monitor each input.

Re:Direct tv uses Linux on there HD DVR's (2, Funny)

jeffstar (134407) | more than 4 years ago | (#30450156)

so who stole your newspaper!

Re:Direct tv uses Linux on there HD DVR's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30456914)

SPOILER ALERT: it was his neighbor.

Re:Direct tv uses Linux on there HD DVR's (2, Funny)

ncc74656 (45571) | more than 4 years ago | (#30458426)

so who stole your newspaper!

Some old nutter in my condo complex. After I put up flyers with a frame grab from the video, though, I didn't have any further problems with missing newspapers. Who says shame doesn't work?

Re:Direct tv uses Linux on there HD DVR's (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 4 years ago | (#30458942)

Actually, you barely need the shame. I bet if you had just left a copy of the flyer on your own door, he would have seen it and never come back.

Punishment is less of a deterrent to crime than simply the threat of being caught in the first place. Most criminals risk analysis doesn't really go beyond the likelyhood of being caught in the first place. Nobody commits a crime thinking "Well, I will only get arrested and a court date". They do it thinking "Most likely I wont even get caught".

Thats why lojack is a good thing. There was no increase at all in punishment, but the chance of being caught went up. It was estimated that a small 1% increase in the likelyhood of getting caught due to lojack installations correlated to an overall decrease of 20% in car theft rates. ("More Sex is Safer Sex" by Steven E. Landsburg)

That said, the shame seems well deserved.

-Steve

State: a gaping hole (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30446092)

A gaping hole, much like goatse [goatse.fr] .

Ive tried them all (4, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#30446182)

Zoneminder hands down is the best. I have tried several commercial apps and the couple of windows OSS/freeware ones and a linux box with zoneminder kicks their butt IF you have good hardware. If you thin you want to use the $9.95 ebay copies of the typical BT878 cards you will be in for pain and suffering.. Get a good 120fps 4 channel card and you will be very happy.

Re:Ive tried them all (1)

FrostedWheat (172733) | more than 4 years ago | (#30446554)

What's a good 4 channel card though? I've never seen one that can stream all four channels simultaneously without stability problems.

Re:Ive tried them all (4, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#30447030)

http://store.bluecherry.net/Provideo_PV_149_p/pv-149.htm [bluecherry.net]

works great for me, but I also wont use anything less than a dual core processor for my recorder.

Re:Ive tried them all (1)

asdfghjklqwertyuiop (649296) | more than 4 years ago | (#30447574)

That says it has 4 bt878s on it. So what's the difference between this board and 4 cheap/used bt878 cards, particularly if I only need 4 or fewer inputs?

Re:Ive tried them all (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449250)

the bhips are fine it the crappy design of the board and firmware load that causes issues. the china 9.95 cards on ebay are garbage designs that are nearly 15 years old.

Re:Ive tried them all (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 4 years ago | (#30447750)

Which doesn't make sense to me. Why would a video tuner require any processor power at all. Good ones have MPEG encoding on board, and don't require a fast processor at all, even when recording at very high bit rates. I'm not sure if any cards support 4 streams at once, but if you plug in 2 hauppauge dual tuner cards I think it would do the trick.

Re:Ive tried them all (2, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449222)

Because you dont know how zoneminder works. If it were to record everything 24/7 blindly.. yes you are right almost zero processor used.. Zoneminder looks at every frame doing motion zones and detection. It's 1000% better than the best commercial DVR you can buy. Really it is. I have tried all them including the high dollar ones, Zoneminder kicks their butts hard.

Sorry, but your wrong (2, Insightful)

MadCow-ard (330423) | more than 4 years ago | (#30451254)

Because you dont know how zoneminder works. If it were to record everything 24/7 blindly.. yes you are right almost zero processor used.. Zoneminder looks at every frame doing motion zones and detection. It's 1000% better than the best commercial DVR you can buy. Really it is. I have tried all them including the high dollar ones, Zoneminder kicks their butts hard.

Sorry, but your completely wrong. The idea of motion detection on digital video recorders is over 10 years old. All DVRs of any value have motion detection built in, and the BT878 MJPEG cards mostly used with Zoneminder are garbage. The MJPEG codec is the wrong one to use for most applications because of the high storage requirements. Yes, you can process motion detection faster, but you loose out on bandwidth and storage. Zoneminder can use IP cameras, so that is a plus in its favor.

Also, your point about no CPU usage at full 24/7 is also incorrect. The BT878 cards require software compression, which means CPU overheard just to lay down the video. There are other cards, such as from Vidicon, which allow for hardware compression thus offloading the bulk of th CPU requirements.

Again this is nice, but very home-brew type of solution. If you are a professional or just a larger business who takes into account the man hours required to build, and most importantly to maintain this system, you should go to one of the "commercial DVR systems". These will give you the required reliability and low maintenance, in addition to a smooth interface usable by more then the IT guy.

Re:Ive tried them all (3, Informative)

Rennt (582550) | more than 4 years ago | (#30447444)

If you use IP cameras you don't need any capture cards at all. I set up a 9 camera Zoneminder system like this recently.

Re:Ive tried them all (1)

licamell (778753) | more than 4 years ago | (#30448440)

Mind sharing some more details, specifically what IP cameras you're using (or have tried) and your thoughts on how they work? Thanks!

Re:Ive tried them all (3, Informative)

Rennt (582550) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449548)

Sure, used the Vivotek VT-IP7130 (indoor) and VT-IP7330 (outdoor with IR flood) cameras. They have a built in web interface for configuration of the video stream.

I set up a landing page on the Zoneminder webserver that authenticates the user, then allows them to access either the normal ZM interface or the web interface of any camera using mod-proxy.

The cameras can do a much higher video quality then the server was capable of handling simultaneously (no fancy server, just a white-box Core2 system) but you are able to tune the stream bandwith settings till they are acceptable. IIRC I had to drop the framerate down from 30 to 15 which allowed decent playback while capturing from all cameras.

All in all, setup was pretty smooth, if you just set up the cameras once and forget about the mod-proxy customisations the whole thing is practically plug and play.

Re:Ive tried them all (1)

Rennt (582550) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449640)

Onemorething. These cameras allow you to configure dual stream, so you can have one high quality and one low. This gives you more options with ZM, which can be configured to treat each stream differently.

Re:Ive tried them all (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449274)

Excatly, I use AXIS IP cameras for anything new and they work fantastic. I have 8 analog cameras for places wher you cant buy the IP camera that can do what the analogs can do. (0.0007Lux in color, underwater, etc....)

Re:Ive tried them all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30457124)

"I have 8 analog cameras for places wher you cant buy the IP camera that can do what the analogs can do. (0.0007Lux in color, underwater, etc....)"

Ah. For the shark tank.

Re:Ive tried them all (1)

DKolendo (1633933) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449914)

I have a couple of the cheapy D-Link DCS-920 Wireless IP Camera's both work great with ZM.

Re:Ive tried them all (1)

tuxicle (996538) | more than 4 years ago | (#30453642)

No matter what BT878 card you use, be sure that the case has adequate ventilation. Those chips run hot, and tend to flake out when temps rise too high. I've seen many forum postings advising the use of glue-on heatsinks. I've done that, as well as put extra fans in the server case.

Zoneminder (5, Informative)

savanik (1090193) | more than 4 years ago | (#30446188)

Sorry, but... Zoneminder *is* the state of the art in Linux DVR software.

And for reference, having recently compared many different versions on different operating systems for a project at my company, Zoneminder IS the state of the art in all platforms of DVR software. It's one of the only systems that will work with many varieties of end-point hardware cleanly. Most dedicated embedded systems will only work with their brand of camera, or a single video protocol.

There are systems that will link motion sensors and contact alarms (Zoneminder can do that, too, though it takes some finangling). Again, most of these only work with *their* hardware.

The biggest things to keep in mind are bandwidth, storage consumption, and retention. A camera input card may have a very large 'potential framerate', but when you spread that among the 16 inputs you have coming in, things start to add up *very* rapidly. There are physical limitations on the hardware that you will run into if your deployment is of any large size. Our deployment is one of the largest, having 80 cameras currently (planning on adding another 16 before too long), and we have to spread the load out among 5 high-powered servers with relatively large amounts of RAM. Even with that, we still need to upgrade our switch infrastructure to gigabit in order to be able to view all the cameras simultaneously! We've got fiber to our SANs, though, so storage and later retrieval of footage is no issue.

The only downside is the lack of professional support - Management doesn't have anyone externally that they can point at if something breaks.

If you're a power Linux user, I'd recommend Zoneminder. If you have a few cameras for a small business and are not technically skilled, I'd recommend a pre-packaged solution - but expect to spend more for a similar sized installation. If you have a LOT of cameras (more than about 16) but are not technically skilled... I'd recommend finding a consultant who can deploy Zoneminder and contract long-term support with them.

Re:Zoneminder (4, Informative)

ndogg (158021) | more than 4 years ago | (#30446366)

The only downside is the lack of professional support - Management doesn't have anyone externally that they can point at if something breaks.

It seems the original developers are willing to provide this [zoneminder.com] :

Paid support is also available, please mail for rates and further details.

Re:Zoneminder (3, Informative)

savanik (1090193) | more than 4 years ago | (#30446696)

It might be paid support, but unfortunately, it's not truly professional support - when I contacted them about it, they were unable to meet the 15 minute SLA response time and 24x7x365 support that our organization was looking for. And even hunting around the recesses of the internet, I have been unable to find anyone who has both experience with Zoneminder and the ability to provide those support terms.

Some people might consider those terms unreasonable. Our industry considers it a minimum. In the meantime, I'm getting stuck with being the 'first responder' for any problems with the system, 24x7x365.

Re:Zoneminder (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30447486)

If no one is willing to provide those terms at the price you are willing to pay it is a good indication that at the price you are willing to pay you are citing unreasonable terms. The solutions are simple:

1- Increase your offering.
2- Decrease the specification of your terms.

15 min SLA @ 24x7x265 essentially means that 2-4 people have to be employed (depending on how many hours they want to work), and for JUST your company (since with a 15 minute SLA if two companies happen to break at the same time they will not be able to respond to both), assuming 1/5 pay for 'on call' and $60/hr for a zoneminder expert I would ballpark how much that would cost to ~ 700,000/yr
(24*7*365 = 61320 hour per year, $12/hr for within 15 min on call pay, $735,840 per year)

Somehow I do not believe you were offering that amount of money, which is sad, because that would be right in the ballpark for say what keeping millwrights on staff at an assembly line would cost (and consisting of the same sort of 'this is critical and cannot go down so we will keep people able to immediately respond and repair it at the ready')

Re:Zoneminder (2, Insightful)

rahvin112 (446269) | more than 4 years ago | (#30448220)

You are assuming the contract is the only one the company has. Any reasonable company should have enough customers that that 700k per year is split over several hundred accounts. You might say they aren't offering enough $, he might say the business isn't taking the risk and spending the money up front with fixed pricing to establish a client base. It's quite possible that there aren't enough customers to support such a venture, it's also possible no one has bothered to spend the initial capital to build the business. It's rare that any customer is going to be willing to pay 100% of the costs of a venture so that the business owner has no risk or investment in the business, it's also quite unreasonable to expect such. It is reasonable that there might not be enough customers demanding such services to make a sustainable business but obtaining a small business loan to setup a support service with the 24/7/365 15min SLA if there are customers demanding that level of support isn't going to be difficult.

The OP was quite clear he looked for a business that would offer such an SLA and didn't mention price even being a factor. Maybe it was, maybe there aren't businesses even offering such services. I can say one thing, it's not reasonable to expect one customer to pay for an entire businesses fixed costs unless you know nothing about business.

Re:Zoneminder (2, Informative)

savanik (1090193) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449164)

You misunderstand me: I wasn't able to find anyone who could provide those specifications, at *any* price level. I was saying, 'Here are our requirements, what will this cost?' And the answer I was getting back was, 'We can't meet your requirements, period. Ask someone else.' The word 'cheap' also never appeared in the specifications. :)

We could lower the requirements. However - in our industry, those requirements are not considered unreasonable. They are what we provide to our own customers. Or we face large contractual fines for failure to perform.

And to answer another poster's question here: the reason we were looking for an outside contractor was purely so that management would have someone to point fingers at when it fails. It's a legal/liability/compliance issue - with the contractual fines if we don't meet the 15 minute SLA. Having an outside contractor to draw on punts the liability to them, since we can say, 'We've contracted the third-party vendor on this issue' to our customers, and then THEY have to address it in a timely manner. Management just wants to be able to shift liability to an outside contractor.

I'm not an actuarial, so I don't know how much that's really worth. ;)

Re:Zoneminder (2, Informative)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452924)

You misunderstand me: I wasn't able to find anyone who could provide those specifications, at *any* price level. I was saying, 'Here are our requirements, what will this cost?' And the answer I was getting back was, 'We can't meet your requirements, period. Ask someone else.' The word 'cheap' also never appeared in the specifications. :)

Now to be totally honest, that was not what I said. I offered to architect a high availability solution that would eliminate single points of failure (other than the actual camera, but including cabling) and a best effort on repair, with 24x7x365 phone access. But occasionally I am in a car, and more than 15 minutes from the net. :) The problem is that those of us with the knowledge and the ability are geographically separate. Perhaps we should try and get together for shift exchanges...

Bet you never thought I would see this... :)

Re:Zoneminder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30453730)

Well going with a ~1hr response to revenue related prod issues from someone who can do something (15min 1st line just verifies a problem within that time by outsourced techs), 4hr work day response to non prod you are looking at 250-500k a year with a set number of potential dev hours for improvements, etc. to help the service people be familiar with your systems and get you improvements. I would guess you would need the expertise, about 5 engineers and a few business people, and approximately 10 similar contracts with lots of conditions to the SLA to make it a business. It sounds plausible, just no real market yet probably from the lack of training and customization of products.

Re:Zoneminder (2, Funny)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449236)

24*365 is 1 year. 24*7*365 is 7 years. So you're off by a factor of 7.

Re:Zoneminder (1)

pushf popf (741049) | more than 4 years ago | (#30448080)

It might be paid support, but unfortunately, it's not truly professional support - when I contacted them about it, they were unable to meet the 15 minute SLA response time and 24x7x365 support that our organization was looking for.

Unless you're a company very deep pockets, those are going to be difficult terms to meet. If you have the money that it costs to essentially keep four - six developers (need to be able to handle vacations and illness)on call 24x7 along with a call center and support staff, you shouldn't have any problems finding someone willing to do it. In fact, if you can't find anybody, I would be happy to add on the necessary staff, however you're going to be looking at more than a million $/year. Since this is usually cost-prohibitive, companies that require this level of support typically hire their own staff and obtain any necessary and training.

Re:Zoneminder (1)

rbcd (1518507) | more than 4 years ago | (#30448924)

Our industry considers it a minimum.

Which providers of competing systems can provide a comparable SLA, and at what cost?

that doesn't sound very "state of the art" (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30446370)

On the other hand, I've done deployments numbering several hundred cameras using the Linux security-DVR software offered by Cisco: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps9152/index.html [cisco.com] .

It can handle a darn sight more than the 16 cameras per-server you needed. It does not support linking motion sensors or contact alarms to the cameras, but the record-on-motion capability gives similar functionality for most uses.

Re:Zoneminder (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30447200)

BlueCherry offers a stand alone zoneminder live disk that works great.
http://sourceforge.net/projects/zoneminder-cd/

Re:Zoneminder (1)

MadCow-ard (330423) | more than 4 years ago | (#30447336)

This is a solid recommendation, but I don't really agree. Zoneminder has nice features, and it a long way towards a real DVR, but it is still a home-grown solution. If you are a private home, or a very small business I would still recommend one of the very cheap embedded DVR systems available. You can find 4-8 camera systems for under $250 USD which are still quasi professional grade. You'll still need cameras, power supply, mounts and maybe housings. If you are wanting a bit of fun tinkering with your linux CCTV system then ZoneMinder is your solution. If you're serious about security, Zoneminder still needs a few years and probably a serious round of funding before you should choose it.

Re:Zoneminder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30447404)

I have been using zoneminder for a few years and it works very well. One of the limit you will find with it is that the built in alarms that use image comparison use a lot of cpu power. If you plan on having many cameras and using the image zone alarms you will need to have a sufficiently powerful computer. I know you can use external triggers from x10 devices or insteon to trigger your recording. The documentation on x10 seems to be pretty good, but the insteon documentation was lacking last time I looked. The image comparison alarms have worked great for me, but they do have limitations. They don't work so well in environments where the light is changing constantly.

Re:Zoneminder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30448734)

what? state of the art? hehe...

take a peak at OnSSI.com, then take a peak at intransa's video appliance.

Not for linux, but Zoneminder is no place near quality DVR software used these days. Does it even have analytics yet?

Let me know what you think.

Re:Zoneminder (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30449446)

Zoneminder is terrible for any kind of large installation. I tried to run 24 ip based cameras on quad-core with a nice fast raid array. The system load was crazy high all the time, and would lock up and crash the server every 60 days. For a small setup its fine, but anything larger that about 10 cameras gets overloaded with image processing. I really like Linux and linux based solutions, and looked everywhere to find something at a decent price that could handle 30 cameras, and didn't find anything. I ended up with software from Milestone that runs on windows (shudder), but it has been way more stable than Zoneminder, far less processor intensive, and has much better features and search. Search on Zoneminder seems okay, but becomes dreadful in real world situations i.e. find an event that happened some time in the last 24 hours, and give us all 3 camera angles for it.

Re:Zoneminder (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452968)

I have several system with more than 10 cameras, with uptimes in the range of several months. And the timeline search function rocks. But it is not terribly intuitive to set up...

Re:Zoneminder (1)

tha_mink (518151) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449754)

And for reference, having recently compared many different versions on different operating systems for a project at my company, Zoneminder IS the state of the art in all platforms of DVR software

Wow. That's a pretty bold statement. And completely false BTW. LPR, NPR, Facial recognition, window blanking, etc. The list is long.

Zoneminder is nice, but let's not get carried away here.

Re:Zoneminder (1)

savanik (1090193) | more than 4 years ago | (#30450052)

LPR, NPR, Facial recognition, window blanking, etc.

I didn't find any systems in my research that offered the features you're describing. It might be that we're just so outside the target market that I wasn't able to find any. However, I can see that a number of companies offer those solutions as bolt-on appliances that would add more systems to our network for management instead of a centralized solution (one of the core requirements we had for our project).

Do you know of any companies that provide that sort of technology, integrated into a video recording and archival system? If so, I'm quite interested for our next round of security system upgrades in the next few years.

Motion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30446252)

motion

Re:Motion (2, Informative)

HappyHead (11389) | more than 4 years ago | (#30447830)

You mean Motion [lavrsen.dk] ? It's ok for very low-end applications, but it doesn't handle things like motion detectors or alarm sensors, just cameras (and if they're USB, only one camera), and so it lacks the power that a lot of people would want in a security program.

Of course, I use it myself for a security camera, and have actually caught the person I suspected of stealing things from my office with it - having video proof is nice when you need to rat out the boss's pet for being slime.

Re:Motion (1)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30448768)

I'd just like to second that - for a simple setup, Motion's just right. I've got one watching my office, too. Easy setup and does precisely what's needed. It wouldn't scale to a very large setup, but that's not its goal.

T-Rex Syndrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30446300)

Short arms and deep pockets...

What Stony means to ask is if there are any free DVR products out there, not the least interested in "Linux based", much less OSS. There is nothing wrong with that, however there are a few niche categories that you won't find "Linux based" software for that is either well developed or even free for that matter. You've just hit on one of them.

Now grow some arms.

WTF? (-1, Troll)

mpapet (761907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30446368)

"I am wondering what slashdotters have to offer on the idea of Linux based security systems, especially DVR software....

This is a troll post. The reason being, there is *something* out there to name that's GPL, but none of which would satisfy the author. I believe the way the question is constructed gives the author's actual intentions right up front. She/he wants to feel good about buying something off the shelf and reinforce his/her sense of 'getting a good deal.'

Just buy one better of the things all your friends have and then lie about the price paid. That's the American way.

FYI, this is the common marketing problem with being 'the other' alternative. In this case Linux actually drives more adoption of Mac/Win platforms. There is also a more vexing social problem with choosing the third alternative. It increases peer group insecurity. Few consumers can tolerate so much peer group insecurity. I would lump the author in that group.

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30446548)

Mod parent up please! I don't know how this crap makes the front page.

Re:WTF? (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30448672)

Submitter: "I run a small hotel, and I'd like to put pinhole cameras in the ceilings and bathrooms^W^W^W uh, outside for "security".

Re:WTF? (1)

MikeMacK (788889) | more than 4 years ago | (#30446616)

Was the subject of your post ("WTF?") in reference to the original post or your own?

Original Post (0, Offtopic)

mpapet (761907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30446934)

I meant WTF like, "How did this nonsense get through?" Or, maybe "How about a little editorial process and chop that nonsense down into something with a viable answer?"

But, then I pretty much went a whole other direction...

Re:WTF? (1)

mounthood (993037) | more than 4 years ago | (#30446984)

I don't understand the TLA you used..!?

Re:WTF? (4, Informative)

StonyCreekBare (540804) | more than 4 years ago | (#30448034)

Actually, you're quite wrong. I want to avoid closed "off-the-shelf" products if at all possible. But I want a really good system, and am trying to learn what is available in the Linux world that will meet my needs. I am leaning heavily toward Zoneminder, but want to know about alternatives I may have missed. I am planning a large server infrastructure that will include applications such as Asterisk, MythTV and even Misterhouse. I am very much wondering as well about sharing server platforms, thus looking for caveats about combining, say, Asterisk and a few security cameras on the same server. Frankly, your post is offensive and does not contribute to the discussion. Stony

Wring up a cool home? (1)

BcNexus (826974) | more than 4 years ago | (#30448394)

Sounds like you're going to wire up a home with super multimedia, automation, and a decent amount of security hardware too. Is that correct?
I'm a bit envious: it sounds like a house I'd like.

Linux surveillance software (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30446374)

Generalized software running on generalized hardware such as Linux on standard computer components will never have the same capabilities as an embedded solution that has been specifically engineered for said purpose. It would be unfair to compare them directly. The real question is how sophistcated do you want the system to be? If you just want quality information for law enforcement should something happen, just get a dedicated system and be done with it.

Typically when people want to explore solutions that are "outside the box" its because they want to showcase it to their buddies... "look how cool it is, I can zoom in on someones booger 300 yards down the road".

Zoneminder is one of the better ones. Have a look at iDVR.

An older /. post with similar interests: http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/04/27/220254

Re:Linux surveillance software (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 4 years ago | (#30456262)

You used to require dedicated hardware for all kinds of things, but general purpose hardware has for the most part caught up... You used to get dedicated hardware for decoding mp3 files, and computers never used to be powerful enough to play broadcast quality video...

begging the question (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30446650)

Can one server host three or four services applications of this nature, assuming CPU/memory/disk resources are sufficient?"

Uhm, by definition, yes.

DVRUSA.COM (3, Informative)

dk0de (1701000) | more than 4 years ago | (#30446692)

My company has switched from Geovision DVR's to Linux based DVR's from DVRUSA. They run Fedora, postgreSQL, and you're actually given the root password to the machine when you buy it. They do motion tracking with PTZ, etc.

Re:DVRUSA.COM (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449092)

[...] and you're actually given the root password to the machine when you buy it.

You say that as if it were something special. You freakin’ bought the machine and it’s open source. So they better be, or you can sue their ass of!

Re:DVRUSA.COM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30450202)

Not to mention that the software DVRUSA sells is full of security holes and has major GPL licensing issues. It's just a matter of time before someone from the FSF gets involved in smacking them.

Physical Security Systems (5, Informative)

MadCow-ard (330423) | more than 4 years ago | (#30447022)

There are hundreds, no, thousands of security embedded linux based DVR systems on the market. But the reference to ZoneMinder leans the question into the area of windowing linux based DVRs. This is a shorter list, but still you find a few. A few quick examples of servers which use a Linux OS you find: VideoEdge (Tyco), March Networks, SeeTec (Germany). All of these offer a client which operates on a Window's workstation, but the recording is done on a Linux box. The Tyco version actually uses the non-journaling EXT2 as the database, so as to take full advantage of the speed and maximum hard drive size. Keep in mind that video systems record multiple TB of data in a normal 30 day record cycle. That is to say, most end-users require between 2-4 weeks of video, and a small number require 6+ months to be saved.

The fact is the most Linux systems are too complex for the majority of security applications. A lack of skills in maintenance of the OS, networking, and configuration mean that the vendor needs to provide a fully pre-configured kernal+apps which is then loaded on a server, and this means that most professional vendors offer Windows systems as the rule. SeeTec does allow for normal SuSe as the OS and then their application loads on top, but the reality is that 95% of end-users don't choose this because they are window's houses. This means SeeTec develop the Windows version as the priority.

There is also the politics to consider. The IT department and the Security dept. couldn't come from more disperate worlds. Generally speaking they don't like each other, and don't want to talk to each other, and no matter what the /. readers will flame at me, the IT dept doesn't have the first idea of what to purchase in a physical security system. I've seen this hundreds of times. The IT guy says "IP please", but this translates into a horrible final system purchase.

The take-away is that as an IP guy, don't look for a pure Linux system if you are serious about security. Integration into Intruder, Access Control, Fire and Building Management (almost all of which are also Windows based systems) will require you to most likely stay on a Windows platform. If you're from the IT department you'll need A) a professional Integrator/Installer to recommend the right system and B) you'll need to remember you're no longer an expert. Security is not IT even though it might be loaded onto a Windows or Linux box. So please don't tell the Integrator what you "need". First get at least 2 opinions and then start to shape your requirements.

Re:Physical Security Systems (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30447610)

The flip side to this is that most physical security experts I know lack any grounding in how to properly manage a computer system. No, a 6-way RAID 0 array isn't a good place for your DVR to save, and yes, POE switch you need for your cameras is different from the switch in your data closet.

Re:Physical Security Systems (1)

MadCow-ard (330423) | more than 4 years ago | (#30450022)

The flip side to this is that most physical security experts I know lack any grounding in how to properly manage a computer system. No, a 6-way RAID 0 array isn't a good place for your DVR to save, and yes, POE switch you need for your cameras is different from the switch in your data closet.

Agreed. But the problem is most IT people won't admit they know nothing about security, while almost all security people will admit they know little to nothing of IT.

In fact, over the years I've seen /. posts about how IT jobs are dwindling while security has been increasing. If more slashdotters moved over they would be welcomed into a well paid industry. But keep in mind, you need to start from scratch and learn the basics of Access Control, Video, Intruder and more. But that said, although its complex it is still easier for IT to learn physical security then the other way around.

Re:Physical Security Systems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30451218)

anon as i already modded something. don't remember what exactly :)

i'll freely admit that i know nothing about camera resolutions, their differences in b/w and colour devices, lumens, ir based stuff, casings for different purposes, discreetness, sturdiness, proper location choice for cameras, best placements for fakes and lots of other stuff.
how many of the security stuff will admit they have no idea about data storage, data transit requirements, accessibility, interface usability, interoperability, integration capabilities, capacity planning and... lots of other stuff ? :)

Re:Physical Security Systems (1)

MadCow-ard (330423) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452370)

I think we agree on this one. And I think that most security staff would have trouble spelling interoperability.

Re:Physical Security Systems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30449806)

My hero 3

Re:Physical Security Systems (1)

vk-agency (1701136) | more than 4 years ago | (#30450718)

We have a 16-channel security DVR, standalone, purchased from a large security camera vendor, with their OEM label (they didn't make it, but I don't know who did.) It has 16 video inputs, and 16 monitor outputs (for video.) It also has a VGA output. It can be monitored over the network using a Windows/ActiveX client called "J2K D1.31." We use all 16 camera channels.

The network client runs under Windows, and also under Parallels on the Mac. I've been searching for some time for a Mac native or xwindows-portable to Mac solution for some time without any luck at all. Not just to get rid of the Windows machine, though that'd be a blessing -- also to get a better performance client with more tools and options.

If anyone has any tips here, I'd really appreciate it. The client is annoying enough that we do most monitoring using actual VGA monitors driven from splitters. Makes for a lot of extra hardware lying around!

Re:Physical Security Systems (1)

MadCow-ard (330423) | more than 4 years ago | (#30451382)

Why do you believe you'll get better performance on the Mac? There are vendors which provide non activeX clients, such as Exacq or American Dynamics, but those won't work with the system you have now. If you have VGA monitors and splitters something isn't designed correctly. If you use mostly direct monitor viewing, then you probably don't need a client system, unless you need to review stored video. But then you don't need a dedicated system. If you have an IE client, use a normal workstation for the search functions only when you need it. Most DVRs have a spot/alarm monitor output, which can often be programmed to sequence between camera views. This might be enough for you. If not, you'll need someone to take a closer look at your system.

Re:Physical Security Systems (1)

vk-agency (1701136) | more than 4 years ago | (#30451694)

Why do you believe you'll get better performance on the Mac?

I don't "believe" it, but I am hoping for a better client at some point, and I'd really like to dump the Windows requirements. I'd be grateful for a better client on Windows, even. I just prefer the Mac, Macs are what we use around here for most things. There's always Parallels, after all.

If you have VGA monitors and splitters something isn't designed correctly.

I'm sorry, what? Are you saying I should parallel the monitors somehow? I'm really not following you here. These monitors are located 50...100 feet from the DVR; I'm not at all sure how you'd do it otherwise. Please enlighten me.

If you use mostly direct monitor viewing, then you probably don't need a client system, unless you need to review stored video.

We do a mix; we use the VGA monitors to allow us to see a 16-camera multiplex (usually), the client lets us grab any one camera at a time on a Windows desktop or some combination if we like. Mostly we let the 16-camera VGA monitor setup serve until we have specific needs. It's a large building, and it isn't always convenient to get to the DVR.

If you have an IE client, use a normal workstation for the search functions only when you need it.

IE... Internet explorer, perhaps? The client is some kind of stand-alone app thingee. Doesn't run in a browser, if that's what you mean.

Most DVRs have a spot/alarm monitor output, which can often be programmed to sequence between camera views.

Yes, the VGA output does this (or can, anyway.) But that doesn't help us with remote playback, search etc., that requires the client. And the client is really pretty miserable.

Re:Physical Security Systems (1)

MadCow-ard (330423) | more than 4 years ago | (#30452338)

ok, Multiplexers don't usually have a VGA output, so you are probably working with BNC input CRT monitors, correct? Either way, if you are using a combination of live viewing and playback, then you'll need some sort of software package to perform this.

I did mean Internet Explorer when I used IE, because I was trying to understand if you needed a dedicated box. It seems like you might. Any security system you actually use somewhat frequently should probably have its own dedicated client/workstation.

I hate to tell you, but your software client options will be limited to the vendor you purhcased your DVR from. If its a upper market device, you might be able to purchase a separate management software piece from another vendor which has written drivers to control the device. Otherwise you're stuck with the client available from the manufacturer.

What box do you have? I would need the actual manufacturer and model to help you with any specifics.

Re:Physical Security Systems (1)

vk-agency (1701136) | more than 4 years ago | (#30454706)

ok, Multiplexers don't usually have a VGA output, so you are probably working with BNC input CRT monitors, correct?

The DVR has a VGA output that can display 1, 4, 5, 9, 11 or 16 of the cameras at once, as well as a host of status icons. It is controlled with an IR remote. I fed that to a 1:4 VGA buffer/driver/splitter that can drive up to 100 ft of cable per line, and we have four VGA monitors at various places in the building we can look at for a quick update.

There is also a BNC video output with the same content, and we use that right at the DVR when we're setting the output mode with a composite video display. For playback and search, we tend to use the client because the IR remote bounces terribly -- one press is often seen as multiple presses at the DVR, and you're as likely to end up in the wrong menu as not. The IP client is considerably less powerful, but it at least does what you tell it to.

What box do you have? I would need the actual manufacturer and model to help you with any specifics

It's a Luxor, 16 channel as mentioned. OEM labeled with SuperCircuits, so unclear what the Luxor model is, although in the upper right corner of the IP software, it says "Luxor Flagship" which I suppose could be the model. It has an integrated DVD drive for backup, if that helps. Though I think you've probably already answered my question -- no support software except from Luxor (and I already tried them... that's why I know it's ActiveX based - they told me.)

Re:Physical Security Systems (1)

plover (150551) | more than 4 years ago | (#30450844)

There are two common ways to bring a Linux based system into a Windows shop: the first is that the vendor could be providing just an application to be installed, and expecting you to provide the server and maintain the operating system. The other is that they could be delivering a turn-key LAMP [wikipedia.org] image, and offering to remotely support it for you. That way your shop can look at is as a black-box appliance, and not have to worry about it.

If you don't have your own people and tools and infrastructure to administer it, the "app-only" route is likely to meet with more resistance than the LAMP route. The operations team isn't going to want a Linux box if they can't stick their corporate standard SMS agent on it, for example. But don't expect the LAMP solution to mean "woo-hoo, we brought Linux into our shop!" Far from it: your terms of service will likely mean that you can't even log on to the box other than to use it. All maintenance will be done by the vendor.

Hawkeye (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30447592)

Have a look at the Hawkeye systems by Neugent which runs of Centos or Fedora

Re:Hawkeye (1)

azop (935907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30451176)

You mean the same company that is lies about having 24x7 support and provides _no_ support for their customers so the customers are forced to ask for help on their Facebook page? http://www.facebook.com/pages/Neugent-Technologies/102525558788#/photo.php?pid=2957333&id=102525558788&fbid=189239928788 [facebook.com]

LinuxMCE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30447652)

You should take a look at LinuxMCE- http://www.linuxmce.org/

It's hopefully about to get out of the latest beta (built on Kubuntu 8.10) with another release scheduled shortly after 10.04 is release. Asterisk and MythTV (or VDR) are part of the standard package... much more can be added with a little coding.

Re:LinuxMCE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30448378)

This is the route I'm going--just ordered a couple of $119 no-OS boxes from Tigerdirect, am downloading the ISO now, and I'm planning on adding security cameras to the system.

Understand, please, that I like Zoneminder, and I've built and deployed several boxes built around it. But, for a home "keep-fiddling-with-it" project, it looks like LinuxMCE is the way to go.

What I'm looking forward to is integrating Zoneminder into LinuxMCE--we have several buildings where the animals give birth in the middle of winter, and it would be nice to be able to use Zoneminder's capabilities with the ability to peek in on the farm while I'm watching Stargate Universe. Sure beats walking around in 10 F weather...

surveillance software (1)

james_shoemaker (12459) | more than 4 years ago | (#30447696)

I use a package called "motion" and a collection of shell scripts to handle my cameras and viewing them.

Re:surveillance software (1)

Scotch42 (1120577) | more than 4 years ago | (#30448240)

Just the same. Monitoring about 13 IP axis cameras ans 2 webcams, following a network of about 100 one-wire sensors and vocal feedback with flite and pulseaudio. All is done on a shuttle with Intel(R) Celeron(R) CPU 430 @ 1.80GHz and !GB of RAM... All is wired with bash and perl scripts launched in response to events fired by motion or by the one-wire monitor. A couple of one-liners are a sufficient glue to configure complex strategies having defined a nice collection of standardized behaviours. Was not *nix designed to manage telephone system? Is a building more complex than a phone system? My guess is that *nix is well fitted to the task near natively...

Re:surveillance software (1)

Kazin (3499) | more than 4 years ago | (#30448536)

What's the preferred 1-wire interface on Linux these days? I used to use owfs, but it's been a few years since I did anything like this.

LinuxMCE (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30447756)

http://www.linuxmce.org/

Not sure what happened to my first post, but the current LinuxMCE (based on Kubuntu 8.10) is hopefully about to come out of beta with another release scheduled shortly after 10.04 is released. LMCE has Asterisk and MythTV (or VDR) built in as standard- much more can be added with some code- e.g. Hulu support hopefully in the next couple weeks will be officially released.

kmotion (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30447792)

From http://www.kmotion.eu

We've been testing it for a few months alongside Zoneminder, and it's definitely progressing.

Don't get burned (2, Informative)

JackDW (904211) | more than 4 years ago | (#30447818)

If you buy a security DVR system that is not based on free software, be very careful to check what you are buying. Check the software requirements very carefully. If it "requires Internet Explorer", find out why this is.

Many (most?) of the proprietary DVRs use ActiveX controls for remote access. These typically work only with IE6, so not only do you have to use Windows, but an old version at that. And no, this won't ever be fixed. You'll have to carry on using Windows 2000/XP for the lifetime of your DVR. Don't upgrade to IE7, because that will lock you out of the system.

I know of at least one person who was burned by this, and last year I spent some weeks trying to find a commercial DVR solution that didn't require ActiveX, without success. Zoneminder is miles ahead of the commercial systems in this regard.

Re:Don't get burned (1)

MadCow-ard (330423) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449956)

Sorry, but you are wrong. Non-free software systems, which means just about all of a multi-billion dollar industry, don't all use ActiveX, and the ones that do almost universally don't need IE6 only. Those that do use web based clients are often Java based, but those that do use ActiveX usually have a full software package in addition to the web portal. Web interfaces are very limited in their flexibility and thus are usually only used as a stripped down client. Again another reason why I believe Zoneminder is nice, but not at the professional level. An example is on their own website. If you look at their use of zones for motion detection they show an image outdoors. Sorry, but motion detection does NOT work outside. You need complex analytics to accomplish this, and even then its very difficult.

Re:Don't get burned (1)

JackDW (904211) | more than 4 years ago | (#30453076)

I didn't look at the high-end of the market, just the things that were affordable for home use. IE6 + ActiveX was still state of the art for commercial systems when I looked at this last summer. This was surprising and therefore I thought it was worth giving a heads-up here.

Re:Don't get burned (1)

LoRdTAW (99712) | more than 4 years ago | (#30450526)

Good points.

Another problem I have found with one DVR I setup for a neighbor (forget the model, was linux based though) is the video export function was clumsy and proprietary. At first glance it said on the box you could export video to USB thumb drives or via the built in CD/DVD recorder. Problem is it uses a propriety multi channel video file format that is only works under windows. So when you do export video you get this mess of directories and a windows binary player on your media. Sometimes it didn't play, locked up and had to be killed via task manager. And sometimes it could not read the video file which required it to be exported again.

That made it very difficult for him when he had an incident with a tenant vandalizing his car. He needed to bring the video down to the police precinct and had to call me and spend 30 min on the phone to help him and the investigator view the video.

Why couldn't the damn thing just export an avi or mpg file?

Re:Don't get burned (1)

MadCow-ard (330423) | more than 4 years ago | (#30451554)

Good question. The answer is simple, but not nice to hear. Each codec requires a decompression part to play the video, and each vendor typically has a slightly altered version of any or all of the codecs used. For example, MPEG4 could be used for compression, but what does that really mean? Apple, Windows, Real Media, Adobe all have their own CODEC of MPEG4. So in short, if you use VLC or Windows Media player to play back video, these have installed codecs from these major media vendors. But the DVR manufacturer can't have access to these without paying royalties, which for security video makes no business sense. Plus, less then 20% of systems use audio, and so they drop that part to reduce bandwidth. So in reality Mpeg isn't always Mpeg, even when it is. Make sense? The DVR vendor should offer just the codec in a form that could be loaded on a different system, instead of a full binary.

The second point is your avi. The problem is two-fold. You can't record in uncompressed avi format. You'd get only a few hours on a Tb hard drive, and security applications require days or weeks of recording. Once you have your video in MPEG4, for example, and you have a vandalism you want to export, if you transcode it to avi you lose all evidentiary value, since the video was altered in the transcoding. Plus you might need 15 minutes of video, and uncompressed avi then would have trouble fitting on a DVD. That all said, most credible DVR vendors allow for avi export as a fall back.

Police review is an industry problem. Its not just your DVR. American Dynamics, and a few others, allow for a CD/DVD to playback in any windows system without having to install anything, and with having only user (nor super or admin) rights. This makes it easy. But because of the lack of this feature in many systems, Police in the UK now are requiring DVR manufactures to provide their codec to a independant software house which makes simple and universally compatible playback software.

LinuxMCE (0, Redundant)

localreader (1701038) | more than 4 years ago | (#30447954)

Take a look at LinuxMCE- has MythTV and Asterisk built in... with a lot more that can be added with a little coding- e.g. Hulu support hopefully will be released in the next couple weeks. The current build (in beta still) is based on Kubuntu 8.10 and the next release is scheduled shortly after 10.04 is released next spring.

I rolled my own (3, Interesting)

Yossarian45793 (617611) | more than 4 years ago | (#30448030)

I have a 5 camera system (slowly growing) and I evaluated ZoneMinder and decided that it didn't meet my requirements, so I rolled my own. If you are good at C programming Linux has everything you need to write a simple capture/streaming application. I use USB video capture devices (Pinnacle Dazzle DVD Recorder) because they are cheap (no tuner), have excellent quality, and I have no shortage of USB ports.

Linux natively supports these devices, and the V4L2 APIs make it trivial to reads frames. Using libavcodec from the ffmpeg project you can encode the frames to practically any format imaginable. I encode all 5 cameras to MPEG-4 at 30 fps using minimal CPU power. All of this is possible with only about 500 lines of C code. Of course in my own version I've added a lot of fancy features over time and the project has gotten quite large with support for low-bandwidth streaming, crude motion detection, time-lapse video, etc.

I won't lie to you and tell you that the documentation for ffmpeg is any good. But there are tutorials out there that explain how to use libavcodec and everything else is a piece of cake. Don't overestimate how simple is it to get something basic working.

Re:I rolled my own (1)

monktus (742861) | more than 4 years ago | (#30451094)

If you are good at C programming and have too much free time, Linux has everything you need to write a simple capture/streaming application.

Open Hardware Camera (1)

nuonguy (264254) | more than 4 years ago | (#30448162)

This thread is not complete with mentioning the Elphel [elphel.com] . Some instructions [elphel.com] . If this roadmap entry [elphel.com] is up to date, you'll have to choose a specific elphel model. I have no experience with either.

Well Paid IT jobs! (1)

MadCow-ard (330423) | more than 4 years ago | (#30450172)

As I have been commenting on this post, I have realized I should have said this years ago on /. There are well paid jobs in Security for the IT savvy. I'm talking more for network admins, and general IT skills then programming, but progamming is also needed. The whole multi-billion dollar Seucurity industry is moving quickly into software based, network infrastructure and away from stand alone systems. Its been happening for the last 10 years but it is now accellerating. There is a especially strong need for customer facing technical sales support. People who can design robust Video and Access Control systems which transport TB's of data across local and wide networks. Integration of building management and other sub and super systems is also key, but most of the integration is minimal programming, more like some scripts and good network know-how.

And don't, REPEAT don't try to fake security knowledge. They'll teach you. Tell them your IT background and tell them you want to learn.

I really suggest to everyone here looking for work to contact a large security Integrator or Manufacturer in your area. Tyco, UTI, Honeywell, March Networks, Pelco, Verint, Genetec, ONSSI, Bosch, Siemens, Panasonic, Sony and many others have locations close to you.

Good Luck!

My experience (2, Informative)

b0bby (201198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30450396)

I tried a few things in our small business before settling on Zoneminder with a PV-149 8-port analog card & analog cameras. I have it running on a cheap Dell server (Pentium Dual Core, I think), and several weeks of events can be kept on the 80GB drive. It has been an extremely reliable setup for the last couple of years. If you use the Axis IP cameras with their own event triggering you can get away with a very low-powered machine, but the image processing otherwise means you want something at least halfway decent. If your box is powerful enough I can't see why Asterisk wouldn't run ok as well, but I haven't tried that yet. For a while I had it running with some cheap USB webcams, but they weren't as stable as the analog cams, and it's easy to get analog cams that switch over to IR in the dark.

What's the difference... (1)

cyberanth (952084) | more than 4 years ago | (#30450896)

...between a mathematician and a pizza? A pizza can feed a family of four.

Re:What's the difference... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30454708)

So what, a mathematician also has that sweet-salty taste that makes you want to order and eat it many times over?

not a big fan of zoneminder. motion ftw! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30451890)

Zoneminder has what I consider nice "marketing". The website is relatively easy to navigate, the package is simple enough to install and the ui is easy enough to use without having to read a manual. I donated a couple hundred quid when I first started using it.

I deployed and used zoneminder in retail settings for a couple of years. The hardware was middle of the road, but the combination of 4 cameras recording at only at 3-6 fps and having constant motion (thus triggering events and recording) 12 hours a day/7 days a week made the system unusable. The use of mysql as the database to store millions of events caused the entire system to thrash disk nonstop once some threshold was reached. ugh. In practice, the UI makes trying to find a time or event an exercise in frustration.

I switched to motion http://www.lavrsen.dk/twiki/bin/view/Motion/WebHome and haven't looked back. The motion package is not as easy to setup, nor is there a nice gui out of the box. My motion system is a custom mishmash of scripts that allow me to quickly access the day/time and camera as needed. I can even view the realtime images remotely using the built-in http server. There appear to be gui front-ends for the system, but I haven't used them, to be honest.

Now the disk never thrashes, the cpu usage is less than 20% versus regular 100% pegging by zm. And best of all, motion can save directly to video files, whereas zm had to save jpegs, then run a process to convert to video (this may have changed by now, since it's been a while since I've even looked at zm).

With some time and programming you can combine motion with some external sensors (2-wire) and have some pretty sophisticated home grown monitoring.

In my experience zm is only suitable for low freqency events and light duty applications.

Used ONSSI and trying to get Zoneminder to work (1)

Mr.Ziggy (536666) | more than 4 years ago | (#30454536)

I've used ONSSI's surveillance software for windows. About 40 cameras, all megapixel or above Axis cameras, recording on MPEG. One server on a $175 AMD cpu with a 16 channel Adaptec RAID card. (16-1TB 7200rpm SATA drives). Doing record on motion, the CPU is pegged at about 60% all the time.

I got ONSSI up and running quicker than I am using Zoneminder, although I have more windows IT experience than Linux.

Currently having some issues playing with Zoneminder/Ubuntu memory management, and I don't think the viewer interface is anywhere near as good as the ONSSI solution. ONSSI support is poor to average, and is really a windows only product that seems to break easily when malware screws with Explorer. (that's why I'm trying to move to Linux solution)\

Zoneminder is a LOT better than when I evaluated it 19 months ago. It wasn't a viable alternative then for us, but is now.

Never done more but contribute a little financially to open source, but looking for ways to help the project.

What exactly do you need ? (Integration wise) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30454796)

This is a very important question.

Some examples of systems that have been implemented include
1) IAX Call point software, with call logging to details to MySQL, that will automatically connect to a DVR system and obtain video footage remotely (saving as a BLOB in the DB) over the internet for the duration of the call, from 1 or more cameras located at the call point.
From there, there is front end software (php, and GTK#) that allows viewing footage, playing the phone call, and viewing data related to the call.
(I have done this with both a standalone DVR, and a Linux PC Based DVR System).

2) IO Triggering for Tilt sensors fitted to poker machines, that will send PTZ commands via RS485 to cruise or call preset positions, record audio on inputs, initiate remote connections, and all that jazz

3) Analytics, object tracking, facial recognition.

4) Digital (True Video over IP - Megapixel stuff), or analogue video

5) Is this for an I.T. Shop, end users that have NFI about security, or yourself. (VERY IMPORTANT QUESTION !!!!)
Once you have worked out these requirements, then and only then can you say that one package is better than another.

I have used the comart Sentry24 stuff before. (The latest version has SIP support for audio).
Not very bleeding edge, but very end user friendly.
Zoneminder is good if the system is for yourself, not very good if the system is to be sold to someone else. (Guess who is going to support it !)

Now days though, the problem with Linux Based PC DVR systems that I have found is
1) Reliability, Get yourself good quality components, lots of fans, and a big power supply. (DVRs tend to be mounted in dusty hot areas, capacitors dry out, things tend to go wrong)
2) Cost ! I can get Linux based standalone systems, that are more user friendly than most linux systems, that support IO, RS-485, PTZ, Bi Audio, 16Channels, 200fps PAL, Remote view CMS clients for Windows and Linux, for the cost of a decent 16Channel 200fps Capture card for a PC (Phillips Chipset not brooktree crap), add the cost of a decent PC, and well, you get the idea...

Some of the good standalone DVRs have open protocols for remote viewing, which means you can integrate them with just about anything.

Hope this helps

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