Open Source Surveillance


True open source surveillance does exist. It's called sousveillance, and uses the idea of distributing the task among many people, often in response to centralised surveillance. It's an interesting idea, especially in the context of a society like the UK's, where we are constantly spied on by CCTV cameras.

Alas, that's not quite what we talking about here. The Programming Resources blog pointed me to a different kind of open source surveillance:

Welcome to, home of ZoneMinder the top Linux video camera security and surveillance solution. ZoneMinder is intended for use in single or multi-camera video security applications, including commercial or home CCTV, theft prevention and child, family member or home monitoring and other domestic care scenarios such as nanny cam installations. It supports capture, analysis, recording, and monitoring of video data coming from one or more video or network cameras attached to a Linux system. ZoneMinder also support web and semi-automatic control of Pan/Tilt/Zoom cameras using a variety of protocols. It is suitable for use as a DIY home video security system and for commercial or professional video security and surveillance. It can also be integrated into a home automation system via X.10 or other protocols.

What interested me here is that we have yet another seemingly specialised sector that is served by an open source application. This helps to give the lie to the by-now outdated idea that free software is only any good for basic infrastructural uses.

I must confess that what also caught my attention was the mention of X.10: I wonder how many people remember the infamous pop-under ads of yore? I was pleased to see that X.10's Web-site is still carrying the great graphic tradition those pop-unders established.

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