Best hardware platform

(Markus Storm) #142

Nah that’s plain wrong. Amanda is not part of openHAB. Never has been, never will be.
Amanda is part of openHABian, as are other tools and software useful for running a smarthome service such as mosquitto, SSH, postgres, FIND and (Raspbian) Linux.
But all of them are complementary to openHAB and not part of it. And they’re dependent on each other, so you cannot run any of them on every HW and SW that openHAB alone might be running on (such as e.g. Windows on x86).

You’re showing some fundamental misunderstanding of what’s openHAB vs. openHABian vs. Operating System vs. ‘environment’ a.k.a. ‘eco system’. Rich answered on that already.

My point is, in order to provide a very flexible, highly complex system and to support a large variety of HW and still provide this as a system-in-a-box, you have to make compromises if you still want to keep offering all the possibilities, and I expect a user to understand and accept that.
Sigh… yes filesystems and backups are complex topics and UNIX usage is a wellknown hurdle to Windozers, but I haven’t seen anyone be that unwilling so far. They all made it there, sooner or later.
And there’s certainly enough ressources available on the net explaining this in more or less great detail.
Btw, ever heard of Google?
You find it too difficult to mount a directory ? It’s difficult to the power of three to develop a system that on the one hand side still offers all the flexibility OH is appreciated for and on the other sides is working reliably in all of those gazillion enviroments and combinations people bring and want to use AND is still (almost) one-click to deploy.
Yes, we cannot start explaining at ground zero and teach everyone the basics - so you have to bring some fundamental computer knowledge and willingness to learn at least the basics on your own such as first steps on UNIX, how to use SSH, to name a few.
If you are unwilling or unable to acquire this knowledge - ok. But then at least stick with what’s accessible to you without that knowledge and don’t demand others to fill the gap. I’m really close to getting a bit angry when I have to keep reading I would need to yet put more work into development/docs just because you are unwilling to invest some time to familiarize yourself with some UNIX basics in this case.
Not to mention that we all do this for free, in our spare time …

(Angelos) #143

tldr (answering to the question of the OP): Laptop :slight_smile:
(powerful enough, small consumption (with lid closed), no storage issues, “embedded” UPS :stuck_out_tongue:)

(Rich Koshak) #144

I used to rely on this too before I outgrew the old laptop and migrated to a server.

Only my battery wore out and I didn’t notice until I lost power. Keep an eye on the health of that battery and test it periodically. :slight_smile:

(Markus Storm) #145

Not bad, just 25 months for a reply.
SCNR. At least you’re the only one to remain on topic :wink:

(Kim Andersen) #146

Rich… You´re twisting my point and avoiding the fact, that this is a complicated task, wether or not it has be done through the OS or an application. It hasn´t anything to do with openhabian, openhab or Amanda. It´s the task, the linux structure itself, which make it complicated, specially for people not beeing Linux enthusiast.
When you´r answer is to change platform, I see no reason to continue arguing. The answer itself makes no changes. It may solve MY problem on this specific matter. But it will not change the complicated task on Linux to become less complicated, which is what I was trying to argue about.

Making complicated task become less complicated should be something everybody wants.
I believe I was wrong in this matter.

Markus, I´m sorry you get angry from this, it wasn´t my intention.
I´m not unwilling. I´m struggling. And while I´m struggling, I see others are as well. It tells me, this IS a complicated task to manage, where most non-linux enthusiast will be failing, or even avoid trying.

I was mainly suggesting this specific task get some more focus, to make it become less complicated.
I understand, this is not going to happen. Therefore, no need to continue this arguing.

(Rich Koshak) #147

I’ve said it twice and I’ll say it again. THEN DON"T USE LINUX. No one is forcing you to use Linux of openHABian. If learning a few of the basics of Linus is too hard or cumbersome then don’t run on Linux. OH runs quite well on Windows and Mac if you are more comfortable there.

But it is unreasonable to expect to run any program as complex as OH on ANY OS and eliminate the need for the user to have any knowledge of that OS. If you want that then buy a commercial hub which is more limited given you fewer options but trades that for a simpler user experiance.

It is not openHAB’s job nor is it openHABian’s job to “fix” Linux. It is outside the scope of what openHAB has power over. openHABian can reduce the amount of Linux you have to know to get started, but it is never going to eliminate the need to know at least something about the OS.

And so we set the boundaries pretty much in the same place that EVERY OTHER PROJECT out there does for backups. You provide the path and it is up to you to make sure that path is to a mounted file system from a USB drive or a network share.

This is certainly a pet peeve of mine. It DOES solve your problem. Your problem is Linux is too difficult to learn and perform some of the basic steps necessary to preform offline backups. Fine, that is a legetimate problem. But switching to an OS that you are more familiar with IS a solution to your problem. It lets you run OH on a platform where you already have the knowledge and skills to do everything you need.

It is just a solution you don’t like.

(Markus Storm) #148

You are unwilling to accept that the (intentional) flexibility in HW and SW is already a big challenge to developers and that to automate deployments is even a lot harder. But to automate AND still keep/cover everything we want to maintain is impossible.
You are unwilling to accept that backup in general and specifically the “hard” step to mount a directory is neither a openHAB nor openHABian job. Not caused by OH, cannot be compensated for by OH (except maybe in very specific setups, but even you agreed that’s not what we want).
You are unwilling to bring yourself up to the basic knowledge that is required for the level of usage you want.
If a couple of people out of thousands to run openHABian (and even more to run openHAB without it, latest count I heard about was around 20k) are struggling this means there’s thousands that DO have managed it, and it’s certainly not because they’re all “Linux enthusiasts”.
So it’s a problem that only applies to a minority of people and by no means is too complicated to solve and clearly a manageable task. And - unlike all those things that can only be done inside OH - there’s many ressources available outside of openHAB to help you solve this.
Still, you are unwilling to invest your time to google to find out yourself just as does everyone else while at the same time you keep telling me you expect me to invest more of mine.

Pretty much everything is there (openHABian, Amanda) because there has been a focus on already. The only remaining task (of providing a storage dir) cannot “become less complicated” because it is just as complex as it is.
No, this was no “suggestion”. You were asking us to do your job - work that to invest everyone else accepted to be his own duty. Us, right those people to spend their spare time to make people like you a little happier. And you didn’t even offer anything in return.
And you continued telling us even after we told you we don’t want to do it because it cannot be done.
Yes now you got me angry.

(Colin MacKenzie) #149

I wonder if we could make a good backup by developing a Binding that does it?

Just brainstorming here…maybe it’s unnecessary; what would running inside the OpenHAB instance matter? It would take advantage of the rules and events bus:

  • It would monitor event bus to determine when config changes for other bindings and therefor what config needs to be backed up.
  • It would know from the OpenHAB config what modules are installed and pull config from them, as well as during Restore know what modules to re-install.
  • Backup would not have to include binaries or jars as long as it has enough bundle/module config to restore them from a binary repo…perhaps using SHAs to determine whats already backed up.
  • It would trigger events and rules when backups occured which might be useful.
  • It could encrypt and backup to cloud or dropbox, etc.
  • config entries could list extra file patterns to include in backups


(Markus Storm) #150

Sigh. Seems you didn’t read the previous posts.
There’s no point in having openHAB do the backup for various reasons, one of them being that for your smarthome to work you need to backup way more than just openHAB config.
For openHAB config-only backup/restore, there’s the openhab-cli builtin script. Trigger it whenever you’ve done a substantial amount of config changes.
For anything else there’s Amanda. It runs once a day per default.

Oh, and please open a new thread if you want to continue discussing backup.

(Colin MacKenzie) #151

I did. Including the part of you getting angry. I wasn’t implying you or core developers of OpenHAB need or should do it. I am very capable of writing code (already started binding dev) and I wasn’t trying to put this on your shoulders, just looking for feedback. This is obviously a heated topic so there is desire on at least one side to have something simpler to setup than Amanda. I’ve done kernel driver development and been on Linux for >20yrs so I dont even need any of this…but I do think newbies do and I like a lower barrier to entry.

This is the “Inter-mess of Things”. I’m very disappointed in all these companies’ “must use our or our partners ecosystem/protocol/hub/etc” hubris and nothing really works together which was the main premise of IoT/HA I though…perhaps I’m misguided. OpenHAB has finally bridged the gaps in my HA and I’m happy. I would like to see it more widely available to a bigger audience…so you’re a sustaining member, what is your opinion? same or would you like to keep it l33t? (and FYI I am being genuine, I won’t judge anyone for wanting to keep things l33t.)

Discussion on Built in Backup for OH
Discussion on Built in Backup for OH
(Rich Koshak) #152

Didn’t there use to be a way to reply and start a new thread?

Here is a new thread. Discussion on Built in Backup for OH

(Markus Storm) #153

FWIW, that being said, there already IS a means to get along without Linux and mounting:
you can choose Amanda to backup to AWS S3. It’s available as an openHABian option today.
(although I feel to properly configure and debug S3 access is a lot more difficult than to mount a device).

Well, for completeness’ sake, when developing the Amanda setup, I was also trying to build a third variant to work with an external SD card writer and a set of removable SD cards.
My motivation was indeed to relieve a user from the need to understand Linux just to get the storage area mounted right.
I failed for a number of reasons, mainly because it requires a newer Amanda version to become available as an ARM binary package first.
But to setup that SD writer would probably still have been a manual or just semi-automated task that would have required another set of Linux knowledge.
With ever-changing device names depending on what you have attached to USB, bootup order, processor, bus and HW combinations and many more factors (moon phase probably, too :-)), you cannot automate that without taking a large risk that you end up accessing the wrong device, and with a fair amount of bad luck, this will ultimately be destroying your HA server setup.
For that very same reason I decided not to try automating mounts. It’s just too dangerous.

(Rich Koshak) #154

Agreed. This is why I really didn’t address the AWS option. If the user can’t mount a USB drive of nfs share, properly setting up S3 is going to be outside the realm of the possible for them. But the AWS option is really awesome and for those who can, I highly recommend that approach to get offsite backup. It works quite well.

(Kim Andersen) #155

My intention and suggestions was not to automate disk handling. As you state, this is not a good idea.
My intention and suggestings was to make things easier

In Windows Disk management the user do have to know something, (ie, which drive to activate, which drive to format, which drive to partitionate, how to partition etc). And yes, the user probably can destroy Windows, if he/she choose the wrong drive, wrong partition etc…
Whenever you plug in an external drive to the USB port of a windows box, Windows will promt you for what to do with it. Even if it hasn´t been activated, Windows will tell you, that it needs to be activated. This is called ‘Plug& Play’. And there is an obvious reason for this. Plug&play=User Friendly. I guess this goes for Mac OS as well.

I know Windows and Mac is a GUI OS´s, and Linux (openhabian) is not. But just because it´s not the same, it is not a good explaination, why it couldn´t be any better. Or at least, thats what I fail to understand.

I know, and I agree with you and Rich, this suggestion should have been pointed at the basic Linux structure and openhabian in the first place, not Amanda. But this is Openhabian, and this is in fact a hasslefree setup of Openhab, where someone wrote:

“A home automation enthusiast doesn’t have to be a Linux enthusiast!”

I agree installation and configuration of Openhab using the hasslefree Openhabian do not require the user being a Linux enthusiast. But - Maintaining (including backup up the system) is not hasslefree, in my opinion. In fact, it does indeed require quite some hassle and Linux knowledge, (unless you want to struggle with a manual procedure like deattach the SD card and make an image copy of it everytime).
As mentioned a few times - In my opinion, this is wrong. Backing up a system should be at least as easy as getting it up running. If not, then things will go wrong or they´re not beeing used.

My best suggestion is to develope some kind of Disk management into Openhabian-configuration tool. I can´t understand why it should not be possible. But, i´m not a Linux-enthusiast user, so my suggestion can be wrong.
I do not agree with Rich or anyone else suggesting staying away from Linux and use Windows, is a valid option. It wont make openhabian any better. And it´s direct opposite to the quote: “A home automation enthusiast doesn’t have to be a Linux enthusiast!” and to it´s intention of beeing seamlessly/hasslefree.

I´m not asking, or demanding you, @mstormi or anyone else, to develope this.
I´m suggesting someone who really do care about this quote: “A home automation enthusiast doesn’t have to be a Linux enthusiast!” One who also have the capable knowledge to develope, to think about the part - How to maintain the system without beeing a Linux enthusiast, as well.

If it´is not possible, if no one listens, if no one cares, if no one have got the capabilities. Then, this is how it has to be. But at least I tried.

(Markus Storm) #156

You might not be aware of this but your “suggestions” effectively mean to automate disk handling. Either you (= the user) read up on enough of UNIX to understand which commands you need to individually, manually apply to your system (to work with your specific HW and SW environment). You can’t and/or don’t want to do that.
Or - that’s the alternative - you need someone to write down all the rules in UNIVERSALLY applicable form (applicable to ALL environments of every openHABian user, not just yours !). Now if someone was able to properly and comprehensively do that in written docs form, he can probably as-easily automate it as a script. There’s no big difference. The major problem remains with the complexity of the “write down the rules” task (a.k.a. a comprehensive specification and verification in terms of software engineering) plus the imminent risk of using this everywhere. It is just to a minor extent with actually implementing it (doing the programming).

As already replied in private communication:
What’s the point in raising “suggestions” if not that you wanted someone to jump in and implement them ?
No, wait, since you stated you’re no native speaker (btw neither am I) let me rephrase this because you apparently didn’t understand, and I do NOT want you to answer this rhetorical question:

What you call “suggestions” are demands.
And the ONLY point in raising demands is that you want someone to jump in and implement them.

Someone who can’t even mount a disk is unlikely to be able to give a proper judgement if such a thing can be done at all, how difficult it would be, how risky and if it is at all a good idea to try.
To build things is not a good idea all by itself. Doing things comes at a price: the risk of damaging people’s HA servers and the amount of work to invest, just to name the most important ones.
Rich and I have been trying to tell you in several posts but I feel you don’t want to understand that.

Use a dictionary to lookup the meaning of “enthusiast”, please. The slogan is a pretty concise description of what openHABian is and also of what it is not. You totally misunderstood that from the very beginning and you still do.

You tried ?
No comment. As already replied in private communication: Let’s stop here, ok ? I don’t want to waste any more of my time. If you still want to comment or justify your position more, please open a new thread but leave me out of this, I will not participate there. Thank you.

(Kim Andersen) #157

Well, did as you said:
Enthusiast - “a person who is very interested in a particular activity or subject.

very interested” is a relative defintion. Notice the synonyms. Perhaps words like, “Fanatic”, “devotee” ring a bell. They´re all still relative, but the meaning in it´s context is getting stronger.

In your opinion, one doesn´t have to be very interested in Linux to know how to add and mount a drive and path. Thats your opinion, which I accept, but I dont agree. Others might have another opinion, which you should be able to accept as well, without throwing this debate to a stupid and personal level.

You keep on telling me, what I meant!
I know what I meant, You failed, even though I told you several times. Manipulation and stupidity will not change my opinion and what I meant.

Which makes me wonder, why you decided to quote me, afterwards. I guess, no one is perfect!

(Rich Koshak) #158

I was going to let this go but decided to make one more reply.

I agree with Markus. What I think you don’t realize is that what you are asking for is exactly this. The only way to make this easier is to automate the disk handling. And that is something that is very challenging and requires way more effort than I think you realize to achieve and do so in a way that covers the vast range of Linux platforms that OH can run on, completely ignoring all the other platforms that are officially supported.

And we really are not asking anything more for those who want to use Linux. The user does have to know something.

OK. We are running on a headless machine (i.e. no display, keyboard, or mouse attached). Exactly how is this system supposed to prompt you for what to do with it? If you are running a Desktop Linux with a GUI then yes, indeed, when you plug in an external drive it pops up a dialog to ask what to do with it. But we don’t have that.

And this was a decision made purposfully. The windowing environment requires massive amounts of resources. Running a remote desktop server like VNC requires event more. The amount of resources required to support this GUI environment would make it such that openHABian can only work on the most powerful SBCs, if that, or full up computers. Seems like a pretty high price to pay to make it so the user can get a nice little popup in those rare cases where a new USB drive is plugged in.

I’m sure it can be made better. But the point we are trying to get across is it’s not our job to fix Linux. Given there is no way to get that nice little pop-up on a headless command line only server our choices are:

  1. write something that only supports a very limited combination of file systems and devices and completely automate it
  2. turn openHABian into a software appliance
  3. continue to require the user to know a little bit about Linux to maintain the system

1 will require a lot of work and leave us with a vastly reduced set of options that can be supported. To support everything will require us to fix Linux.

2 will require an unbelievable amount of work, probably more work than OH itself. And all this work would probably take effort away from areas which are a high priority IMHO like adding the ability to add tags to Items in PaperUI and other OH specific usability improvements.

3 is what we are left with.

First you say

My intention and suggestions was not to automate disk handling.

Then you say the above. So at least at some level you agree, we are talking about automated disk handling.

It is a solution. It is just a solution you don’t like.

The problem is to make openHABian better in this way requires us to either make severe limitiations to what is supported or make fundamental changes to how Linux works. Neigther are acceptable.

Just to provide a little bit about the scale of the problem, on Windows there are maybe four file system types supported: CIFS (i.e. SAMBA), NFS, FAT16, FAT32. Mac has a similar number of supported file systems (note there is not much overlap which is why it is so hard to use a Mac formatted drive in a Windows Machine).

Linux supports 15-20.

And that is just dealing with the file systems. Then we have fundamental problems caused by the different ways network file systems and physical devices work which often boil down to permission problems.

OK, lets go down this path for a bit.

This problem is WAY bigger than backup. If you really want to be able to install and maintain an OH system without being a Linux enthusiast which, fankly, in this context means no Linux knowledge at all then we need to build a software appliance.

What is a software appliance? If you have ever used something like pfSense, DD-WRT, Tomato, OpenMediaVault, openELEC and a number of other systems out there. A software appliance comes as a full OS image and a very robust web based or GUI based user interface that allows the installation and configuration of everything that is allowed on that platform.

So what would that look like for openHAB? It would mean throwing out pretty much everything that has been done in openHABian and starting from scratch. Then we would need to built a robust web application that can:

  • configure everything necessary in the OS
  • install and uninstall software
  • configure said software through a web based UI which means WE have to write these UIs for all the third party applications that OH can work with (which ranges in the dozens)
  • secure the web based UI

Once we have that then we can use an approach like pfSense uses and compile and return a big XML file containing the backup of everything or add some sort of UI that allows you to find and mount a plugged in external drive to back up to or something like that.

And even once this is done, there will be tons and tons of features that many users of OH depend on that won’t be supported or won’t be supported in the same ways. And the long therm effort required to keep up with all the UIs and plug-ins and such necessary to allow us to continue to use the latest versions of all the third party programs is huge.

Even if everyone dropped what they were doing now and only worked on this I think it would be a couple of years before we say anything even remotely useful. Look at PaperUI. It has been two years (I think)

And this is just to get us up to something minimally useful. I’m not sure we would ever get to the same capabilities.

It’s an open source project. If a group of developers want to take this sort of thing on they are free to do so. It would be welcomed by the community.