[CLOSED] New Docs Discussion: Should we recommend a platform?

Just thought I’d spin this one off to a new thread so not as to convolute that very productive thread.

Do the developers, maintainers and contributors have a responsibility to recommend a hardware platform?

I believe so because as @mstormi points out many newbies have no clue

What should that recommended platform be and why?

Why is the Pi the current recommendation?
Is it because it is the easiest to set up and a dedicated hardware is the target platform?

inviting @Celaeno1 to join discussion as well please

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When I started using Openhab a couple of years ago, the only reason was, I could test on my old Windows XP notebook within just 20 minutes if my “Max! heating system” is running. And it went immediately.

So for a quick start I would recommend a Windows PC.

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as a data point I did exactly the same thing

And because of Micro$oft’s appetite for keeping the share holders happy, and their propensity for building operating systems requiring ever stronger hardware, lot of people have a dead PC lying around.


Say Windoze to a Mac guy and get ready to get venom shot in your eyes

Edit: thus this discussion of recommended platform

It’s a complex topic, there have been lengthy discussions and will continue to be.

… and the only definitive answer is that there is no single definitive answer.
Kai uses a Mac, I use a Raspi, other power users I know of run Windows NUCs and yet others docker and ESXi VMs.
Because if one of us does rank all options using the categories quoted above, each and everyone of us comes to a different conclusion. We all bring different experiences, knowledge and history to the game.

So the first and most important advice is: let any user decide for himself.
That’s why I proposed the introductory paragraph to look the way I did and it does now.
But we still need to give a recommendation to the undecided.

For these I believe a Raspi 3 is a prime candidate, for two specific reasons:
a) it’s cheap
In buying and in terms of energy cost in 24x7 operations. Note you can and should have multiple units long term - at least one as a backup and eventually another one for testing.
b) only for Pis there’s openHABian to relieve a newbie from the difficulties of properly setting up the OS

Or tell me (a Linux guy).
@Celaeno1 your diagram does not apply to the mostly tech-affine group of home automation users.
And you’ve just been killed twice (read: your statement chased away 100% of two potential new OH users)

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I haven’t read the new docs but
It should say that OH can run on different platforms and it is worth trying it out on your favourite platform but eventually you will need to run it on a standalone low power server fro two reasons.
You need it on 24 hours and you don’t want to break the bank.
The favourite then become the raspberry pi. Far more support in the forum. AND a dedicated OS, openHABian.

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I started being interested in Home Automation and bought a Raspberry Pi. Started with openHAB 1.8 and later moved to 2.0. For me the low entry barrier, costs, power usage, ability to tinker were decision criteria. Later I moved to a dedicated old laptop on which I installed Ubuntu and openHAB only. But only after using it for over two years I made that decision, as I far better knew what I wanted. And I do all my editing on a MacBook… Looking at documentation, adaptability and support Linux is by far the recommended choice. Next to that, I’m not sure market share of a specific OS gives any argument of what the recommendation should be (opinion).

Agreed VERY important aspect making the PI be recommended platform

just as further data point, old Windoze PC was my choice but installing JAVA ect. made Windoze less then optimal first choice.
Really want Windoze to be the recommended platform? Spearhead campaign to develop all inclusive Windows installer

Interesting image… What data are you actually visualizing here? :see_no_evil:

you’re the guy always telling everybody RTFM
only kidding Vincent


I said: “As a quick start”. For trying out! We would like to inspire new users for Openhab!

How many dead PCs do you have in your house and what operating system does it have on it?

2 Dead - Linux
3 Live - 2 Linux, 1 Windows (For the kids homework)
4 Raspis - Linux

No that limitation does not make it any better: once a new user’s evaluation is successful, he (just like everybody) will stay with what he has begun with, and Windoze is a terrible choice to permanently run OH.
And remind you the full-scale recommendation first and foremost is to use what you like, so any M$ share owner or anyone afraid of UNIX [that includes MacOS :slight_smile:] to follow the recommendation will in fact end up with Windows, and that’s ok in that case, too. But clearly not for the majority of people.

Is not allowed, then I delete it…

I believe the biggest short coming of recommending Windows as the recommended platform is the current installation process for Windows.
That process almost ran me off!
I didn’t trust any appliction that didn’t install itself in the program files directory as per typical/recommended program installations (per microsoft) I was told I needed JAVA that turned out to be already installed after trying to install the recommended JAVA (ZULU?) when oracle was already installed. I actually broke a running openHAB as a newbie trying to install recommended JAVA platform. yikes!
as stated
Develop a proper Windows installer, which checks for JAVA and installs as one click in regular Windows installer, puts stuff in program files, my docs for user config, keeps ini info in the registry ect ect ect…


OK so only 9 total? wow… I think I have a problem… :laughing:

I agree, of course, with much was has been said. At the risk that I will repeat what was stated before:

  • we need to leave ultimately the choice to users. The forum is plenty of varied implementation strategies that all are interesting…but it comes down to the fact of who is familiar with what and which equipment is available.
  • Users may and do change platform. Almost everyone here said as much… And eventually they will make different choices at different times during their OH “career”
  • Not everyone has old hardware laying around (e.g., I only have a few RPIs laying around but typically get rid of any larger equipment); so old laptops is not an option for all.
  • as new user, I found in particular one aspect of RPI very intriguing (aside from the fact that I finally had a reason to learn a little about linux): when I messed up and found myself stuck in a corner from which I did now know how to recover, I simply flashed a new image and started new; works like a charm. Currently, I am running OH2 in a VM (Virtualbox) on a NUC. Now I still find myself occasionally in a bind, and for exactly this reason, at times it is easier to just pull up an old snapshot than to figure out how I can undo the damage I’ve done.
  • Personally, I too got a lot of comfort out of the knowledge that whatever I do on my RPI, it will not affect my laptop. And as I managed to get the RPI unresponsive repeatedly, I was super glad every single time that all of it was contained and did not affect any other system in my house/laptop

In summary, the OH2 community implemented a fascinating array of options on where and how to run OH2…kudos and “absolutely awesome” for those that can and want to make informed decisions.

But as with all options, there comes the need to choose. Just to state my frame of mind: I am getting easily overwhelmed in the chips aisle of a US food store…too many choices for the uninitiated. Same for this discussion, for those that do not already have deep knowledge, options can be too much and simple recommendation help tremendously. I am not clamoring for the ultimate truth here, such a thing does not exist for this question (and may be not for any question…different discussion though). But what I believe the community has almost a duty to do is to recommend to a new user a preferred approach if there are no other preferences. OpenHABian seems to fit this bill and probably has the most support available anyway.

What a user will do when she advances in knowledge is a different story. At that level there simply is no “best system” anymore (as stated above and elsewhere a few times), there are just choices and all of them have consequences. As long as the user likes the consequences…all is well.

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right? :laughing:


Agreed, let us stay focused. No need for philosophical questions that lead to endless pointless discussion heavily influenced by personal preferences

Although I stated differently in the other thread, you and @mstormi are beginning to sway that opinion

In my point of view, OH is platform agnostic as soon as it runs a Java VM and OpenHabian is the most plug and play solution