Palantir

a multichannel interactive streaming solution

News archive

6 Oct 2009

A new server development snapshot (source only, no binaries) is available, addressing few minor bugs.

22 Oct 2008

Experimental V4L2 support is available in the latest server development snapshot (source only, no binaries).

When opening a capture device, access is first attempted through the V4L2 interface, only reverting to V4L upon failure.
To force use of the V4L interface, use the '-l 1' command-line option.

Please download and test it, and share your experiences on the mailing list - your feedback is precious!

Keep in mind that some of the features available under the old V4L API haven't been ported to V4L2 yet (e.g. channel selection, tuner setup etc.), but will be added in the near future.

19 May 2007

The long-awaited Palantir suite v2.7 is available, with some hot new features:

  • IPv6 support (initially contributed by Petri Nyk√§nen). With the '-A' command-line option or the AddressFamily configuration directive, the server can be made to listen to IPv4, IPv6, or both, address families.
  • Input and output audio streams can be selectively activated at startup. The server can work now in input-only, output-only, or duplex mode (see the '-i', '-o', '-a' options, as well as the AudioCaptureDevice and AudioPlaybackDevice directives). Note that audio is now disabled by default; you will need to specify at least one of the above options to enable it.
  • Support for text captions. The new '-k' command-line option displays a text string at the given (X,Y) coordinates. '%' sequences in the string are interpreted according to the 'strftime' syntax (see its man page for details), substituting current time/date values. For example,
         -k 0,0,"Backyard - %H:%M:%S"
    
    will display the string "Backyard - " followed by the current time (in the HH:MM:SS format) in the upper left corner of the video frame.
  • For the MIPS platform, recompiling the GSM library with more sensible options made the GSM codec much less CPU-hungry, thus solving the "choppy audio stream" problem.
On the client side, a bug has been fixed in the Windows client which prevented proper client->server audio transmission.

10 Sep 2005

The Palantir suite v2.6 is available.
Support for the Logitech QuickCam Sphere/Orbit pan/tilt facilities has been improved; they should work regardless of the pwc driver version in use.
Support for the MotionEye camera found in some Sony laptops has been added.
It is now possible to run the server in "viewer" (or "monitor") mode, in which a X11 window displays the output from the capture source. In this mode, no TCP connections are allowed to the server. To start the server in viewer mode, just append "-V" to the command line.
To enable this feature, the server has to be compiled with "make ENABLE_X11MON=1" (alternatively, ENABLE_X11MON must be set to 1 in the Makefile). Please notice that the binaries provided on the website have this feature disabled, so -V will not show up in the list of available options.
On popular demand, it is now possible to set the capture frame rate (currently only for the webcams supported by the pwc driver) via a command-line option or the config file.
Another great piece of news is full support for the WL-500 router series from ASUS. While some adventurous users had previously managed to hack Palantir enough to be run on the router, with this new source release you'll only need to type "make mips" to compile the executable for the MIPS architecture. As a bonus, the kernel driver for the Logitech Quickcam Messenger (quickcam.o) and the "qcset" companion utility are included in the binary distribution - more cams, more fun!

The Qt client has had some buglets fixed, and the pathname of the configuration file which is looked for at startup has been changed from ./pclient.ini to ~/.pclientrc.
The Java client has been ported to the Swing toolkit (which helped revamping the looks a bit) and Java 1.5. It is now possible to execute the client as a stand-alone application; see its README for details. Support has been added for gauge-like meters in the device control pane.

2 Jul 2004

The Palantir server v2.5.5 is available.
The server now supports the Logitech QuickCam Sphere/Orbit pan/tilt facilities. See the palantir.conf manual page or the relevant FAQ item for details.
A bug which allowed a malicious client to crash the server has been fixed. Although this did not represent a security hole in any way for the system running the server, everyone running a publicly accessible server is urged to upgrade!
Other important features include proper handling of large frame sizes (exceeding 640x480) and the ability to individually choose the TCP ports for the video and audio streams.
As far as client-side software is concerned, thanks to the great work of Daniele Lavatelli we're glad to announce the long-awaited release of the first native, Qt-based Linux client. Although some features are still lacking (audio channel, control capabilities), it already includes extra functionalities not found in its Windows counterpart (for example, a multi-panel interface to simultaneously display video from multiple servers).
The Palantir client for Windows v2.3.2 now available implements the latest version of the protocol, required to interoperate with the latest version of the server.
Moreover, the Java client has been greatly enhanced, especially with regards to device control functions.
Tim Niemuller created RPM packages for the Palantir server and clients. See the download page for links. Well done Tim!
Thanks to Tieffesistemi, a software and consulting firm located in Milan, Italy, a new demo location is now available.

4 Feb 2004

The Palantir server v2.5.4 is available.
The most important change is a bugfix preventing a malformed control string sent by a malicious client from crashing the server (as reported by paul at msunix dot co dot uk). Please upgrade at your earliest convenience!
A workaround has been implemented for some camera drivers (W996[87]CF, CPiA) reluctant to infer the capture depth from the requested palette.
A new configuration file parameter, ClientAckTimeout, specifies how long the server should wait for frame acknowledgement from stand-alone clients. The default is now 30 seconds (it was 15 in pre-2.5.4 versions).
Three new values for the "Visual" parameter - Slider_X, Slider_Y, Slider_Y - allow explicit assignment of a control to one of the sliders on the client's main window, which used to be reserved for pan, tilt and zoom controls.
The Palantir client for Windows v2.3.1 is now able to display the numerical value associated to these sliders as well, by selecting the "xyz readings" item from the "Display" menu.
Last but not least, thanks to Matt Pope a new demo location is available, with a beautiful view from Salt Lake City. Check the Demo page for details.

31 Oct 2003

Precompiled binaries of the Palantir server for Linux/PowerPC are now available!

21 Sep 2003

The Palantir server v2.5.3 is available.
The audio capture device is now selectable via the command-line option "-a" and the new config file option AudioCaptureDevice (the default is /dev/dsp). If the device has a fixed sample rate, Palantir attempts to downsample the audio stream to fit the GSM compressor requirements.
The server is now more robust with respect to audio failures: if the subsystem cannot be properly initialized, the server no longer aborts - the audio channel is simply disabled.
Extra checks are performed on the URLs requested by clients, to avoid starting the capture engine on bogus requests such as "/robots.txt".

22 Aug 2003

The Palantir server v2.5.2 is available.
Two new config file directives, VideoAudioInput and VideoAudioVolume, allow selection of the audio input device on the capture card (for those video cards featuring one or more audio sources, like TV or radio tuners) and its volume adjustment.
Another new feature is the ability to apply simple filters to the captured frames. Currently supported filters are Flip (mirrors the image horizontally), Invert (reverse the image vertically), and UpsideDown (equivalent to Flip Invert; useful if your camera is mounted rotated 180 degrees).
The Palantir client for Windows v2.3 is available, supporting configuration via the classic .ini file mechanism.

3 May 2003

The Palantir server v2.5.1 is available.
Additional HTTP headers prevent Mozilla from trying to cache the live stream (although the file was deleted upon disconnection from the server, it ate up an increasing amount of disk space during display).
The source code for the GSM library is now included with the Palantir source package and is automatically built when compiling the server. This ensures that the server is linked against a library built with the right compile-time options to properly interoperate with the Windows client.

6 Apr 2003

The Palantir server v2.5 is available.
Multi-buffered capture via mmap() is now implemented when supported by the video capture driver (e.g. bttv), providing a huge frame rate increase.
A new "performance measurement mode", in which the server runs a tight capture-only loop and no clients are served, can be requested via the -P command-line option.
Other minor bugfixes have been scattered everywhere.

8 Feb 2003

The Palantir server v2.4.1 is available.
It features two new configuration directives: Audio to enable or disable the audio channel (enabled by default), and VideoNorm to set the correct TV video norm for your country (PAL, SECAM, NTSC; default is PAL, so if the pictures you capture look corrupted in some strange ways try changing this setting).

A mailing list for the Palantir project is now active at SourceForge.

7 Feb 2003

Added the FAQ section.

9 Jan 2003

The whole Palantir system is now open source!
Download the source code or a precompiled (i386) binary package.

The Palantir server v2.4 is available.
Video and serial devices must be specified with their full path (e.g. /dev/video 0, /dev/ttyS1).
Named pipe path must now be explicitly specified in the config, or no pipe is used (as in the serial port case).
Many minor bugfixes and some cleanup.
A working (although incomplete) Java client is included in the freely downloadable distribution.
The Palantir client for Windows v2.2.1 is also available.

29 Aug 2002

The Palantir server v2.3.1 is available.
A bug has been fixed which caused the server to overestimate the number of connected clients if, under heavy load, no more threads could be created to serve new connections.
Besides, the default notifier for devices on the Internal link is now Client, so it is no longer necessary to explicitly state it in the configuration file.

21 Aug 2002

A new Palantir demo installation is online!
It is located at the amateur radio station in the Heinz Nixdorf Museumsforum computer museum.
Check the Demo page for details.

12 Aug 2002

The Palantir server v2.3 is available.
Several major changes: the capture thread wake-up delay upon client connections has been eliminated, making the system really snappy (this can be especially appreciated on a LAN).
In order to reduce bandwidth usage, the number of simultaneous connections to the video stream can now be limited via the new MaxStreamingClients configuration directive. Clients in excess to this limit are served a snapshot.
The system log can now be written to a file, specified by the new LogFile configuration directive. To allow log rotation, this file is closed and reopened when the server gets a HUP signal. Device names and hints are now properly %-encoded before they are sent to clients.

12 Aug 2002

The Palantir client for Windows v2.2 is available.
Many new features: full %-decoding of all text received from the server and an improved positioning of the devices form on the desktop. Besides, the "audio" channel selector is now enabled only if the server provides an audio channel, and the "Control" button is enabled only if the server provides an audio channel or has writable devices connected to it.
The new "Servers" menu makes it possible to quickly choose among multiple servers.
A guide to the client is now available on this website.

24 Jul 2002

The Palantir server v2.2.1 is available.
It features a cleaner handling of user-input text (which requires the Windows client to be upgraded to version 2.1).

24 Jul 2002

The Palantir client for Windows v2.1 is available.
It features a partial rewrite of the audio subsystem to manage suboptimal setups (e.g. half-duplex audio cards), support for the revised text transmission protocol implemented in version 2.2.1 of the server, and a few cosmetic changes.
The executable is now distributed in the UPX packed format, which requires no manual unzipping and results in a 25% better compression ratio than Zip.

12 Jul 2002

The Palantir client for Windows v2.0.1 is available.
It fixes a bug which prevented audio TCP connections to be made to ports other than 3001.

12 Jul 2002

The Palantir site is online.

5 Jul 2002

The Palantir server v2.2 is available.
Writing to the devices is now as fully (and coherently) supported as reading from them.
The palantir.conf configuration file is now completely documented in its own manual page (an HTML version is available here).

5 Jul 2002

The Palantir client for Windows v2.0 is available.
Connection attempts to unresponsive servers are now interruptible, and timeouts in the connection phase are handled gracefully.
The pan/tilt/zoom sliders are now only shown if the corresponding devices are declared in the server configuration file.


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