Linux Security

The 6 Best DIY Security Camera Apps and Software for Linux

Ben Stockton Updated 31-05-2019

Security is a major concern in the tech world, but we’re not just talking about phishing attacks and malware. Old dangers, like break-ins and theft, threaten our homes and businesses, which is why there’s a market for top quality surveillance systems.


Thankfully, you don’t need to pay hundreds of dollars for a surveillance system if you’ve got a spare PC running Linux and a few spare cameras. The DIY route will be cheaper and give you more control—as long as you pick the right software. Here are the best Linux security camera software options for you to try.

1. ZoneMinder

ZoneMinder Linux InterfaceZoneMinder is an awesome option for a do-it-yourself surveillance system. Professional features shape ZoneMinder into the perfect solution for household and commercial security alike. It comes with compatibility for both IP-enabled and standard PC cameras. If you’re on the go, Android and iOS apps let you monitor your cameras remotely.

You’ve got plenty of options for configuring ZoneMinder to your own requirements, with both live video and regular image stills supported. Email and SMS notifications help you to stay informed, even when you’re not monitoring directly. Additionally, ZoneMinder offers user access levels to let you limit who has access. It’s pretty flexible with options to zoom, tilt, and pan cameras.

Linux CCTV users benefit from installers for various distributions like Ubuntu and Debian, but you can also compile from source if you’d prefer. You can deploy ZoneMinder on low-powered devices like a Raspberry Pi, too.

2. Xeoma

Xeoma Chain Linux Interface


If you’re looking for easy-to-use Linux IP camera software, Xeoma is a good option—it markets itself as “childishly easy” video surveillance. It has a modular approach, letting you add in the components and features you need as you set your system up.

This Linux security camera software is feature rich. It’s compatible with everything from typical USB webcams to Wi-Fi CCTV cameras. You can connect up to 2,000 cameras to a single Xeoma installation, making it perfect for commercial use.

Screen captures from all monitors at once, remote access, and motion detection are all features that make Xeoma a good option for users. It also supports mobile access, with SMS and email alerts, as well as remote access to archives, cameras, and settings. You can also take advantage of different storage settings, delayed recordings, and even algorithms to avoid false positives. This latter feature is great for users with pets or small children.

While it’s available for purchase, Xeoma does offer a free edition with a few limitations (eight cameras, three modules per chain). Overall, Xeoma is a simple but comprehensive option for keeping an eye on your home or workplace.


3. Motion

Linux Motion Camera Software

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.

While it saves video when movement is detected, Motion also includes time lapse settings for regular monitoring. You can also set Motion to save as either video or images. It runs headless and a GUI isn’t needed, giving it a lightweight footprint compared to other Linux surveillance software competitors.

That’s what makes Motion such a great choice if you’re looking to build a cheap DIY network video recorder (or NVR) to run on low-powered devices like the Raspberry Pi. It’ll record your surveillance images or video digitally, either locally (on an SD card) or over your internal network.


Motion might be lacking in features compared to other Linux NVR software, but it’s a good option if you’re looking for a basic motion-sensor camera system.

4. Bluecherry [No Longer Available]

If you want to exclusively run open source software Your Complete Guide to Living a 100% Free and Open Source Life Windows and macOS are commercial, proprietary, closed source operating systems. Linux, and its many applications, are free and open source. Want to use only free and open source software? Here's how. Read More , Bluecherry is the Linux NVR for you. It’s a cross-platform video surveillance system so you’re free to run it on other platforms if you’d prefer.

Installation is simple, with a one-line install script available for Ubuntu, Debian, and CentOS. It supports over 2,600 IP cameras, with playback for recordings or live streaming available from your browser. Unfortunately, Bluecherry lacks its own mobile app for Android and iOS, but it does support integration with IP Cam Viewer.

While Bluecherry is free and open source, paid support packages are available for business users. With a rich feature set and paid support options, Bluecherry is a great option for both business and residential use.


5. Ivideon

If you’re designing a DIY surveillance system on a budget, you should consider Ivideon. The system requirements are among the lightest you’ll find for any DIY DVR—you can run Ivideon on an Atom-powered PC with 1GB RAM and just 500MB of storage. You’ll need at least 11GB available for daily video footage storage if you want to store locally, however.

Despite a low resource footprint, Ivideon is a service integrated with the cloud, with notifications and playback available over the internet. You can also store your recordings using Ivideon’s cloud storage.

Installation is pretty simple. You can either download and run an installation script or run the individual commands from a terminal window yourself. Like many other video surveillance systems, Ivideon offers a mobile app for Android and iOS devices. It officially supports the most recent Debian and Ubuntu releases, but it can be installed on other distros.

Home users have a range of plans to pick from, including the basic (but feature-heavy) online plan for free, although business users will have to stump up for the $5/month package.


Kerberos Linux is another free NVR software for Linux, compatible with almost all Linux-supported cameras. It’s cross-platform so you can run it on Windows and macOS as well as Linux. You can even download a docker container to set yourself up in minutes without any configuration.

With support for Raspbian, is the best option for users looking to create a surveillance system with low-powered tech. Notably, also has a clean, modern and easy-to-use web interface.

If you don’t want to spend a long time setting up, configuring or maintaining your system, then is one of the best options for you on Linux. While it’s free, certain features (like viewing your cameras remotely) requires a cloud subscription, starting at under $2/month.

Stay Safe With Linux Security Camera Software

Building your own DIY Linux-based surveillance system can help protect your home and business from more traditional threats. They can also play a part in building a smart home with other DIY projects available to try.

If DIY-ing your own system sounds a little too complicated, then don’t worry. Pick up one of the best wireless home security cameras The 5 Best Wireless Security Cameras for Your Home Frustrated by wired home security systems? These completely wireless security cameras are just what you need to cut the cord. Read More instead.

Related topics: Home Security, Linux, Security Camera, Surveillance, Webcam.

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  1. Paul S
    July 2, 2020 at 3:36 pm

    Ivideon have moved to a paid only model. I found this page while searching for an alternative thanks. I have used motion and it works well but it is difficult to configure and maintain.

    Message from Ivideon:
    Starting July 20, Ivideon will discontinue support for the free Ivideon Server plan. This means that Ivideon services will no longer be available for users with the free plan.
    Switching to paid plans allows us to invest in infrastructure, additional services, and future development of video analytics tools. This is a powerful driver that will give each client more tools for convenient remote monitoring and control.

  2. Isaac
    September 15, 2019 at 1:30 pm

    Zoneminder is definitely the most feature-rich, extensive FREE cam app. But it is extremely painful to setup, and does require a decent amount of system resources.
    Motion (and MotionEye) is the second best, and what I keep resorting back to.
    Super easy to install. Lots of tutorials on setup and customization. The only downside is that the motion-detection is a little too strong.
    I've tried a bunch of the others too, but none added up to these two.

  3. Jim Hines
    September 10, 2019 at 4:19 pm

    You completely missed MotionEye. It is a web based front end for Motion, which you did mention. I have been using it for quite some time, and have also tried most of ones you mentioned, but MotionEye should top the list! There is also a complete MotionEyeOS available for the Raspberry Pi.

  4. zcworld
    September 8, 2019 at 7:34 am

    Bluecherry [No Longer Available]
    yes it is ... its now free and under the GPL
    so can you download it from there website or compile it yourself from the github page

    only change is they went to a support model business

    September 4, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    Security is an important matter of concern in today s world. Not only cyber attacks and malware, but still break-ins and thefts are significant issues for businesses and homes. Top quality surveillance systems are beneficial in that case. Linux users can save money and use surveillance systems, ideally with the use of a few cameras. You can choose the DIY method and have more control by using the right software on Linux.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

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

    Awesome. Thanks for the info.