The Sysadmin’s Daily Grind: Surveillance with Motion

Fish Spotting

Article from Issue 50/2005

Commercial surveillance systems are expensive and typically involve maintenance agreements. I thought there must be a low-budget alternative.

Olli and Melanie, two good friends of mine, have three stores. One of the stores has been broken into many times. Of course, they are insured against break ins, but they were concerned by the fact that nobody had been able to nail the culprits. They wondered if a surveillance system might help. Of course, turnkey surveillance systems are expensive, so my friends asked me if an old PC and a webcam would do the trick. Now, I do own a webcam, but up to that point I had only used it to point at the aquarium in my living room. I had no experience whatsoever with surveillance applications. But hey, that’s what search engines are for. After a short search, I had soon found a useful application called Motion [1].

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