6 Awesome DIY Security Camera Clients for Linux
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Fact: security is a major concern in the tech world. However, it’s not relegated to the DDoS attacks, hacked IoT devices, and bank accounts. There’s also home surveillance. Loads of companies provide surveillance systems for a price. However, it’s pretty simple to cobble together a do it yourself (DIY) surveillance set up.

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Yet if there are commercial solutions available, why opt for the DIY route? Primarily, there’s the cost effectiveness but the added benefit of more control. While cameras may be plentiful and easy to source, the central hub is the security camera software. Seeking security camera software for your DIY surveillance system? Check out the six best choices…

1. ZoneMinder

ZoneMinder Linux
ZoneMinder is an awesome option for a do-it-yourself surveillance system. Its vast feature set shapes ZoneMinder as the perfect solution for household security and home use, as well as commercial security. Free and open source, APIs make integration quite feasible. Vast camera compatibility with both IP-enabled and analog camera support (what is an IP cam? Which Are Safer? IP vs DVR Security Camera Systems Which Are Safer? IP vs DVR Security Camera Systems There are IP based video systems and DVR based systems. What's the difference? What are the pros and cons? Even more important, which system is the most secure? Let's take a look. Read More ). Android and iOS apps let you to monitor your cameras from anywhere.

There are loads of configuration options. ZoneMinder supports both live video and image stills. There’s event notification from email and SMS. Additionally, ZoneMinder offers user access levels, a nice touch. It’s pretty flexible with options to zoom, tilt, and pan cameras.

Linux users benefit from installers for Ubnuntu, Debian, Gentoo (itself a DIY Linux distro Gentoo: A Linux Distribution Where You Compile Your Own Optimized Software Gentoo: A Linux Distribution Where You Compile Your Own Optimized Software The sheer number of different ways in which Linux can be run is astounding, as there are plenty of choices to go around. While there are plenty of distributions which rely on either the .deb... Read More ), RedHat, and source. Plus, you can deploy ZoneMinder on everything from a server set up to a modest Raspberry Pi.

2. Xeoma

Xeoma Chain Linux

Xeoma brands itself as “childishly easy” video surveillance. Fittingly, this DIY surveillance camera software Use Your Webcam For Home Surveillance With These Tools Use Your Webcam For Home Surveillance With These Tools Having your own home surveillance system can be a powerful deterrent to would-be intruders, snooping roommates, or frustrating co-workers. Here are 6 great options for webcam-based surveillance products you can use today! Read More  was inspired by children’s toys. Essentially, it’s like Lego, but for system functionality. This security camera software is feature rich. It’s compatible with everything from analog cameras to webcams and Wi-Fi CCTV cameras. Amazingly, Xeoma can connect with up to 2,000 cameras from a single computer. That should be plenty for the average home user.

Neat features include screen captures from all monitors at once, remote access, and motion detection. Remote viewing is available via mobile devices with access to archives, cameras, and settings. Xeoma is really customizable with options for different storage settings, delayed recordings, and even algorithms to avoid false positives. This latter feature could be great for users with pets or small children. Since everything is mobile-centric, there are SMS alerts are available, alongside email updates.

For Linux, Xeoma offers several 32-bit and 64-bit What Is 64-bit Computing? What Is 64-bit Computing? The packaging of a computer or computer hardware is crowded with technical terms and badges. One of the more prominent ones is 64-bit. Read More flavors. While it’s available for purchase, Xeoma does offer a free edition with a few limitations (8 cameras, 3 modules per chain). Overall, Xeoma is a simple but comprehensive option for home surveillance.

3. Motion

Motion Output Linux

Motion Output Linux

You can probably guess from the name, but Motion monitors, well, motion. This free program detects if a major part of a picture from a video signal has changed. Written in C, Motion was created specifically for Linux distros with the video4linux interface. Since it’s built for Linux, Motion is a command line A Quick Guide To Get Started With The Linux Command Line A Quick Guide To Get Started With The Linux Command Line You can do lots of amazing stuff with commands in Linux and it's really not difficult to learn. Read More -centric tool.

Benefits of Motion include a lightweight footprint, and range of outputs. Motion can export both video and image files. Additionally, there’s a GitHub which promises sustainability. Motion might not be quite as beefy as other choices, but it’s free. That Motion saves video when movement is detected is a neat distinguishing feature, yet it also brags time lapse settings too. Ultimately, Motion’s low system resource consumption is a major selling point.

4. Bluecherry

Bluecherry is a cross-platform video surveillance client. There’s a bootable ISO, but you can also install Bluecherry via apt-get on Ubuntu and Debian. Currently, 2,800 IP cameras are supported. There’s both web playback and live viewing. Unfortunately, Bluecherry lacks a mobile app for Android and iOS.

While Bluecherry is free and cross-platform, it does offer licenses for purchase. Because Bluecherry is powerful, easy to install, and compatible on several platforms, it’s a great option for both business and residential use.

5. Ivideon

Ivideon Linux

If you’re seeking a really cheap video surveillance set up, consider Ivideon (which we looked at previously 2 More Home Surveillance Apps You Should Consider 2 More Home Surveillance Apps You Should Consider I wrote a round-up review last month for anyone interested in using their webcam as a home surveillance system, but since then we’ve had a few updates from developers so I thought it appropriate to... Read More ). The system requirements are among the lightest for any DIY DVR: you can easily run Ivideon with an Atom-powered PC, 1 GB RAM, and just 500 MB. However, it’s recommended that you have at least 11 GB for video footage per day. Installation is pretty simple. Either download and run the script, or install via command line.

Like many other video surveillance systems, Ivideon includes a mobile app. You have a range of plans to pick from, including the basic (but feature-heavy) Online plan for $0. Although Ivideon states that it officially supports Ubuntu Desktop 12.04 LTS, it’s compatible on other distros as well.

6. Kerberos.io

Kerberos Linux

Looking for a free video surveillance system that’s compatible with almost any camera and Linux? Check out Kerberos.io. In addition to installers for Linux (x86 and 64-bit), Kerberos provides Windows and OS X downloads as well. If you’re seeking an IoT set up, Kerberos is your best bet.

Not only is it free, but Kerberos.io can be deployed in multiple environments. There’s Raspberry Pi and Docker support among others. Notably, Kerberos has a clean, decluttered interface. Because it’s gratis, cross-platform, and simple to set up in just a few minutes, Kerberos.io is a best bet for both Linux and non-Linux users alike.

Although these are the best options with native Linux installers, other options are available for a Linux-based DIY surveillance system. For instance, there’s the route of using Windows software on something like the emulation tool Wine or in a virtual Windows machine on VirtualBox.

And remember, while you may be watching others, they may also be watching you. Check out How to Detect Hidden Surveillance Cameras at Home With Your Phone How to Find Hidden Surveillance Cameras Using Your Phone How to Find Hidden Surveillance Cameras Using Your Phone Concerned about surveillance? Smartphone apps can detect spy gear and we show you how to scan for hidden cameras using your phone. Read More for more on this topic.

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  1. W
    April 14, 2018 at 5:54 pm

    I just tried 5/6 of these.
    Zonemanager has a somewhat obtuse setup that just didn't work for my cams.
    Xeoma just refused to work. I'd try and configure a cam but the fields just don't match what is on their instruction pages. There was a place for settings but no ip field. Detection didn't work.
    Bluecherry was impressive in that it detected cams well - but showed precisely nothing.
    Ivideon looked promising but failed to work, really, and had a tutorial that missed some key info.

    Kerberos so far is the worst - install client doesn't work, manually installing and building from source on Ubuntu 16.04 doesn't work, docker install doesn't appear to work - because they totally omit how to even configure anything.
    I'm trying to install via Raspberry Pi just to get SOMETHING working, as on paper this could be the best. If I can even get the bastard to install.

  2. iCQ
    November 19, 2017 at 8:17 pm

    Excellent! Wow i love it... using it on a exotic bunch of old webcams and ip cams... wonderful! thanks

  3. muiz
    June 13, 2017 at 6:47 am

    Awesome. Thanks for the info.