Best way to build a new Openhab install today?

My OH install is old, and now it’s broken. I know what happened, and it isn’t worth fixing. I should just build myself a new system. Upgrading from my 2.4.0 to 4.0 seems pointless, considering all the binding changes that happened for 3.x.

I have a Raspberry Pi 4 sitting here waiting to be OH.

I see people talking about using Docker to run OH. I see the docs still suggest openHabian, although it appears to be documenting installing “the new” 3.0.

What’s the preferred way to get a modern OH install onto an Rpi these days, and what will be best supported by the community?

That’s 100% correct.

If all you want to run on your RPi is openHAB, I’d stick with openHABian. It’s the most well-supported approach, simply because it removes a lot of variables. You can get it up and running quickly, add bindings, and then move your configuration over from your 2.4 text files. When I migrated, I moved my rule files in one-by-one so that I could troubleshoot the breaking changes as I went.

There are lots of people using Docker though, and a tutorial was recently posted. So it’ll work, but you might find it tricky if it’s all new to you. Personally, I think Docker is interesting, but I’m not prepared to go down the rabbit hole at this point in time.


Docs recommend openHABian for good reasons.
It will always install the latest stable OH 3.4.1 that currently is.
It also provides options to install OH2 and latest SNAPSHOT (“OH 4”) but the latter you should not be using on a production system for now.


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tl;dr: unless you have a specific requirement not to, use openHABian.

As mentioned, openHABian is going to give you the most standard, well thought out, and repeatable environment to start with. It should always be the default choice. Only if you have a significant requirement that makes the use of openHABian impossible or unreasonable, or you really know what you are doing, should you deviate from this choice.

So what sorts of reasons could that be?

  • You hate Debian based distros and want to use Fedora or SuSE or some other Linux distro: use the apt/yum/manual installation method

  • You want to run on a non-Linux OS (though I might recommend running a VirtualBox VM running Debian and still use openHABian.

  • You want to run on an exotic platform like Synology NAS, Kubernetes cluster, Portainer, OpenShift, etc. NOTE: You had better know what you are doing in these cases, you won’t find much help here on the forum.

  • You really prefer configuring every little thing yourself (I bet you’re running Arch Linux or a BSD OS, aren’t you?).

  • You want to learn a new technology like Docker.

I’m going to be frank. I see far too many people on this forum not running openHABian for the wrong reasons (usually running in Docker). It’s incredibly frustrating, especially when they think Docker is just another way to install software. It’s not and it has it’s advantages and compromises.

So if all you want is to get OH up and running on a stable and well known platform with minimal effort, the answer is clear. Only if you have a really good reason should you deviate from that.


Spot on!

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Thanks for the clear replies, all!

It’s pretty clear that OpenHabian is still the way to go. I’d gone ahead and installed it and am configuring away happily, finding all sorts of non-OH problems (where did my Insteon PLM get these extra 200 non-existent devices?) and fixing those. Hopefully all will go well!

This is true, but I’ve resigned myself to debian on the Pis because I’m far too lazy to fight getting another distro working as well as the Rasberry Pi one works. Maybe they’ll catch up.

hides the OpenBSD firewall

I do, but it didn’t sound like a fun way to do that, especially on something I wanted to come up and work steadily for months or years. OH2.4 was solid as a rock, and I want that again. A Pi with OpenHabian will get me that.

Off I go back to appliance land!

Remember to also setup SD mirroring and backups NOW to prepare for hardware disasters in time.

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