Install Exacq Server on Ubuntu Server 10.04

I just finished setting up an Exacq video recording server for one of our remote sites. I decided to try my hand at installing on Ubuntu. Exacq’s documentation is a bit sparse for Linux installations, so here is my record of the steps needed.

Hardware

The machine I used was a brand new Dell R210 II PowerEdge 1U server with 2x2TB hard drives and a Core i3 processor. Since this is only for a few cameras, the storage and processing capability should be more than enough.

Software

The operating system, as noted in the title, is Ubuntu Server 10.04 i386. According to Exacq, that is the latest version they support, though I assume they will support 12.04 soon. I tried 12.04 initially, but had a lot of dependency issues, so I went back to 10.04. For some reason, though, installing 10.04 from a thumb drive gave me issues, so I ended up using a CD. That’s not an Exacq issue, so I won’t elaborate.

I did install OpenSSH server at the optional packages. I don’t recall if the NTP server option is on that list, but if so, go ahead and install it; or once the operating system is running, install ntp using:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ntp

Installation

I downloaded the Linux installation files from Exacq, but I just tried and succeeded at using wget, with this command

wget --no-check-certficate https://username:password@exacq.com/reseller/Ubuntu/Dapper/exacqVisionServer.deb

You can replace “exacqVisionServer” with “exacqVisionWebService” or “exacqVisionClient” to get the other components. Use the username and password you got at Exacq reseller training.

Then install the package using

sudo dpkg -i exacqVisionServer.deb

To install the web service (optional, for mobile and browser clients), install some dependencies first:

sudo apt-get install libterm-readline-perl-perl spawn-fcgi lighttpd

Then install the web service package:

sudo dpkg -i exacqVisionWebService.deb

I haven’t been able to get the web service to actually work, though. Whenever I try to access it, lighttp returns a 500 error. The lighttp error logs show that the fcgi handler turns itself off. I think I might try using Apache instead.

These services should run just fine without a GUI. Of course, the Linux client requires X.org, gtk (I think), and a window manager such as Gnome. You can always run the client on another machine on the network like you would any Exacq server.

Cameras

The cameras we’re using are Axis P3304s. I really like Axis cameras, not just for their quality, but for their features and ease of installation and maintenance. Once I had the Exacq server running and had set the IP addresses of the Axis cameras, the server saw the cameras in its scan, but would not connect. I thought maybe there was a networking issue with the operating system, so I ran Wireshark and saw that the cameras were sending a 401 “Bad Request” error. In the error page was some ONVIF XML saying the requested stream required authorization. As it turns out, with recent updates to both Axis cameras and Exacq servers being more ONVIF compliant, you have to set up ONVIF users on the camera. The unfortunate thing is that Axis’s Camera Management tool doesn’t support setting that with a parameter file yet. According to the Axis FAQ site:

For products running firmware version 5.40 and higher ONVIF access is disabled as soon as root’s password is configured and to enable it an ONVIF user needs to be added under System Options > Security > ONVIF.

So I would suggest if you’re using Camera Management to set IP addresses and upgrade firmware, do not set the password and do not try to log in to the web interface until you’ve connected the Exacq server to it.

Summary

So, you can set up Exacq on an Ubuntu Server, but should you? If you’re proficient at Linux, and you want to keep all your servers on a consistent OS, then yes, it is at least as good as a Windows box. However, if it’s just to save the cost of installing Windows 7, then I would suggest you reconsider. The cost of a Windows 7 Professional license is a fraction of the cost of the Exacq license, and it will integrate with a Windows network more easily. Exacq also sells pre-configured IP-only and hybrid servers with either Windows or Ubuntu, and they add a lot more security features and remove unneeded software as well.