What is Palantir?
Palantir is a Linux-based streaming system designed to
transmit live video, audio and data over a TCP/IP network, as well as to
control remote devices.
It is named after a word invented by J. R. R. Tolkien and mentioned
in his tales, whose meaning is far-seer.
The correct pronounciation requires the "i" in "tir" to be accented.
While conceptually similar to the many webcam-like products populating the
modern Internet, some unique features set a considerable distance between
Palantir and its competitors.
The video streaming section was designed with performance
in mind. Even a low-end machine can directly sustain the load of many hundreds
of clients, without the need for an intermediate buffering server.
The vast choice of clients able to display the live video
stream ranges from regular web browsers to a
specialized client for Windows
which requires no installation - just download and go.
A Qt-based client for Linux is also available.
The availability of a full-duplex, telephone-quality audio
channel permits communication between server and one client at a time
- your remotely controlled site is just a microphone and a speaker away.
A supplementary, bidirectional data channel enables clients
to operate hardware devices of any kind connected to the server via a serial
line, as well as to get feedback from them and present it to the user in
graphical form. Examples of these devices include pan/tilt/zoom machinery,
flood lights, temperature sensors, strain gauges, etc..
Palantir can stream over a LAN, a VPN, or the Internet at large.
Fields of application span from surveillance to entertainment,
industrial process control and site monitoring.
A 486-class (or better) PC running Linux (kernel 2.2.x or above).
A video4linux-compatible capture device (almost every PCI card and many
webcams are supported).
An OSS-compatible sound card (for audio communication).
A network connection supporting the TCP/IP protocol.
Any browser on any operating system is able to display a snapshot of
the captured video, as well as the devices' status report in textual form.
Browsers supporting the multipart/x-mixed-replace HTTP type
can also display the live video stream natively. The list of such browsers
currently includes Mozilla and its derivatives (Netscape, Firefox etc.) on all
operating systems, and Internet Explorer on the Macintosh only.
Note: depending on the network connection speed, the video stream
display may be prone to latency problems (there may be some time lag
between the live action and the observed frames). Use a stand-alone client
to achieve a stricter synchronization.
Any Java-enabled web browser can run the Java applet client, which can
display the live video stream with reduced latency as well as check and
operate the hardware devices connected to the server.
For the Windows and Linux operating systems, native
clients are available which allow all the features of Palantir - low-latency
video, audio communication, device control - to be fully exploited.
For maximum comfort on the Windows user's side, the Windows client can be made
available for download at the same site running the Palantir server, and can be
run without requiring installation.
This software is distributed under the
GNU General Public License version 2.