Heise.de article on the 10 best smart-home systems - openHAB not even mentioned

I would like to draw your attention to this article on heise.de: Top 10: Die besten Smart-Home-Systeme im Test – Home Assistant überragt alle | TechStage

Heise.de is one of the most important IT websites in Germany. And they ignored openHAB completely in this article and the ranking. There is just one sentence, in which “even more complex solutions beyond Home Assistant” are mentioned.

If it needs any evidence that openHAB has a problem with marketing, … (and yes, the article and the ranking is questionable, but that is another subject).

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It looks like they have focused on commercial solutions, as they also mention Nabu Casa, the company behind HA and their commercial version.

I think the focus for this article lies on “systems” aka everything that comes with a ootb-hardware box as the main hardware hub.
because it’s “Tech Stage”, which AFAIK only has hardware reviews and guides.

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And also @binderth: They mention Nabu Casa after they have given the 1st rank to HA as an open source (software) solution and mention the commercial version with dedicated hardware just in the meaning of “if you want it easier”. HA ist also named in conjunction with “even more complex open source solutions.” So I do not think, that OH was general out of focus as a pure software solution in this ranking.

We have to face it, that OH as “one of the even more complex open source solutions” is simply not one of the top 10 solutions (in the opinion of the authors) and just “one more open source solution” not even worth naming.

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Hi,

I wrote the author an e-mail and asked why openHAB got no ranking. Will put his answer here, if he responds.

Have a good day!
HFM

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That is a good idea. Let’s see, if they answer.

Like so many “reviews” these days, they are actually ads in disguise. They make money from referring people to other websites to buy stuff. If they can’t make any money from it, you don’t end up in the “review”.

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And that’s why they choose HA, an open source software, on #1 and mention the commercial version just as an option?

But I see the old OH problem again, if something should alarm us/make us think about things perhaps going wrong, making us questioning ourselfs, … everyone else is evil, corupt, results are not relevant, …

I do not say that this ranking is correct, not questionable, the holy truth, … but I see that OH has a problem, when it is not named at all in such a ranking, whereas another open source solution is #1 over 9 commercial solutions.

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Domoticz, iobroker, and probably many others are also not mentioned and not included in the ranking.

please bear in mind: Home Assistant is indeed licensed unter Apache License 2.0 and yes it’s one of the most active OSS projects wrt developers and code activities.
But: in 2018 the main developer founded Nabu Casa and since built an eco system around Home Assistant.

and within that Eco-system he’s CEO of said company, which among other stuff sells hardware with pre-installed Home Assistant OS on it. and THAT is, what TechState (please: NOT heise.de!) did test. And there’s solely hardware in said TOP10 list.

Whether or not the manufacturers of that hardware did compensate Tech Stage for said article I do not know, but in Germany a paid article has to have some disclaimer, which I did not see.

tl:>dr;
please refrain from rash reaction and hearsay and stay objective. There’s no reason for us as a community to feel “superior” to other systems, OSS or even developers. There’s plenty of room for more than one Smarthome solution.

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Great that you see openHAB has a problem from your pov, so what are you doing to solve it ?
Everybody is welcome to create blog post for our website or articles to be published on websites like heise.

Hi guys,

I got an answer. My conclusion:There is an image of openHAB 1/2 from the past still in mind of the tech editors

Here is the answer (original answer in German below):

Hello,
Thank you for your interest in my article.

I have focussed on relevant products when selecting the best smart home solutions. Compared to other open source solutions, Home Assistant offers a low barrier to entry, especially for beginners, and can draw on a larger community or is more widely used than openHAB, ioBroker and FHEM, so that integrations for newly released smart home components are available much faster. One example of this is the display of consumption values for the Eve smart socket via the Matter protocol.

Enclosed is a bachelor thesis on the topic of open source solutions in the smart home sector.
https://opus.hs-offenburg.de/frontdoor/deliver/index/docId/2805/file/Abschlussarbeit_P_Gersbacher_178004.pdf

“But for users without programming knowledge, the simple
structure of the automations in Home Assistant should be a clear advantage.
The still relatively young Hass.io distribution of Home Assistant in particular
the complete renunciation of the use of the command line, represents an in
interesting approach to address the so-called “mainstream” with the platform.
with the platform. With its simplicity and size, this platform is therefore
the normal user or non-developer is perhaps the most interesting solution.
solution.”:

I will include a reference to this topic in the next update of the article. In retrospect, I should have done this in the article that has just been published.

Yours sincerely
Kai Schmerer

The orignal answer in German

Hallo,

vielen Dank für das Interesse an meinem Artikel.

Ich habe mich bei der Auswahl der besten Smart-Home-Lösungen auf relevante Produkte konzentriert. Im Vergleich zu anderen Open-Source-Lösungen bietet Home Assistant besonders für Anfänger eine niedrige Einstiegshürde und kann auf eine größere Community zurückgreifen bzw. ist weiter verbreitet als openHAB, ioBroker und FHEM, sodass Integrationen für neu erschienene Smart-Home-Komponenten deutlich schneller zur Verfügung stehen. Ein Beispiel dafür ist die Anzeige von Verbrauchswerten der smarten Steckdose von Eve über das Matter-Protokoll.

Anbei noch eine Bachelor-Arbeit zum Thema Open-Source-Lösungen im Smart-Home-Bereich.

https://opus.hs-offenburg.de/frontdoor/deliver/index/docId/2805/file/Abschlussarbeit_P_Gersbacher_178004.pdf

"Aber für Nutzer ohne Programmierkenntnisse dürfte der simple
Aufbau der Automationen in Home Assistant einen klaren Vorteil darstellen.
Speziell die noch relativ junge Hass.io-Distribution von Home Assistant stellt
durch den kompletten Verzicht auf den Einsatz der Kommandozeile, einen in-
teressanten Ansatz dar, um mit der Plattform den so genannten „Mainstream“
anzusprechen. So stellt diese Plattform mit ihrer Einfachheit und Größe für
den normalen Nutzer bzw. den Nicht-Entwickler die vielleicht interessanteste
Lösung dar.“

Beim nächsten Update des Artikels werde ich einen entsprechenden Verweis auf diese Thematik integrieren. Rückblickend betrachtet hätte ich das schon im gerade erschienen Artikel machen sollen.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen
Kai Schmerer

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  1. Raise attention in the openHAB community - done with this thread
  2. Not neccessary, if there is no problem, as everyone writes back.
  3. Not neccessary, if there is no problem, as everyone writes back.

Please do not take it personal, as it is nothing personal. But from all the discussions about OH marketing my learning up to now is, that whatever problem is named there is always a “it’s not a problem” return and for every proposal there is a “we tried it already/bad idea/will not work/you should do something else/if you want to do it, you are on your own/…” reply.

Last year, I had three months with some spare time between to contracts, and was willing to spend it on OH. I wrote a long tutorial for an OH-appliance, invested in hardware like a HDMI capture-device to be able to capture the display of a RPi even during boot-up, looked for a solution to produce videos, learned how to get along with OBS, … while the discussion about OH marketing was getting on as described. Can you imagine, why there still is no video?

And I regret starting this thread, as it was just a waste of time again, as there is “no problem”.

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Thank’s for posting!

As I learned, there is “no problem”, but it is never the less interesting, that we now know, that there was no limitation in this ranking to commercial hardware products and HA was not ranked #1 as such a solution, but as an open source software and that there are advantages mentioned like “no need for using the CLI”, OH could offer too in the future.

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Sorry, but reading the article again and again, I cannot see, that they tested the hardware with pre-installed HA on it There is a picture of HA Green ontop of the article and a picture of a box of a skyConnect Stick. But the text leaves no doubt for me, that they tested the software: " Home Assistant ist Open Source und unterstützt zahlreiche Plattformen. Die Smart-Home-Lösung kann man etwa auf einem Raspberry PI, einem Mini-PC oder unter virtuellen Umgebungen wie Proxmox betreiben. Möchte man das volle Potenzial von Home Assistant ausschöpfen und auch leistungshungrige Smart-Home-Anwendungen wie einen Netzwerkvideorekorder umsetzen, empfiehlt sich die Installation auf einem entsprechend performanten Mini-PC (Ratgeber). Dazu werden noch USB-Funk-Dongles benötigt, mit denen man Zigbee, Thread, Z-Wave oder Bluetooth-Geräte ansteuern kann."

Just later the article names the HA Green and a test of it, but I cannot draw the conclusion from that, that HA won because of beeing a piece of hardware. And when you read the answer from the editor, he also wrote himself, that:

No reference to the hardware, too.

BTW: Heise.de is correct as Heise is the publishing company that produces several magazins like TechStage, ct, … and on heise.de they offer arcticles from all their media, like this one.

The not existing problem is not, that we should feel superior to other systems. I totally agree, that the world is big enough for more than one god and that everybody should have the choice to decide what fits his or her believes. And the not existing problem is not, that HA won this ranking and that OH is not amongst the top ten and that there ar no other open source software solutions are in the top 10. I just speak about "not beeing named at all. And yes, others are also not named at all, but why is OH not named (as well as others)? Because there is this prejudice (as now confirmed by the author), that OH (and others) are to complex and complicated and that people obviously do not even look at developments in OH that took place in the past years to make things easier and more comfortable, as they are not communicated sufficiently in the public.

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I do notice that there are a lot of very long links to purchase gear with, suggesting that they may be affiliate links? I think it is a fair question, but do not believe that is the reason.

  1. I do believe that Home Assistant is now at least 10 times the number of users of openHAB. I base this figure on active users in last 30 days for both forums. Plus I cross reference it to other stats that seem to confirm this gap. Not very reliable ways, but shows a trend that has been increasing.
    https://rpi-imager-stats.raspberrypi.com/

EDIT:
Looking at this in more depth shows something interesting, the stats from last month…

|Home Assistant OS 11.4 (RPi 4/400)|2.87%|
|Home Assistant OS 11.2 (RPi 4/400)|0.86%|
|Home Assistant OS 11.3 (RPi 4/400)|0.79%|

|Home Assistant OS 11.4 (RPi 3)|1.48%|
|Home Assistant OS 11.2 (RPi 3)|0.44%|
|Home Assistant OS 11.3 (RPi 3)|0.40%|

openHAB 0.16%

  1. Their software is easier to setup and use for the first few hours. I did a test on setting up and using a system last week, and found a larger amount of bugs and lower performance then my openHAB system and this was only in a few hours of doing minimal tasks. I do believe openHAB is better in a lot of ways, and overall it suits me better, but for a new user or reviewer that has limited time to try multiple software packages, when all the videos online are only pushing 1 opensource package…

I agree with this, but believe the higher learning needed for openHAB has benefits that would convince people to stick with it if they saw these reasons sooner. People trial software for a short period of time, make a choice and then remove the others, so the first few hours of using a piece of software is so important.

Disagree and also agree with this, openhab has similar ways to add automations, plus blockly for new users. However Blockly appears to need extra work to support any ACTIONS that a binding thing may have. It is not automatically there and able to be used. ACTIONS are a pain to use compared to what they could be, its like the core was never finished in this area, so a lot of functionality is not easy to access from any simple WHEN IF THEN ui rules. You have to go back to DSL V1 scripts instead of helpful text labels and descriptions that the bindings already have written, that can guide you on how to use an ACTION bound to a thing. The Home Assistant way is terrible just in different ways, and basically just DSL V1 rules in yaml that often are not documented, however openHAB has everything in place to excel and from what I see is not taking advantage of it.

I agree with this. You can reboot, shutdown, do upgrades, roll back versions, backup and so much more without going to a command line. You can even use a terminal from inside the web browser without having to fire up putty and login. Once your logged in as an admin, I feel like I can get a lot more done in a shorter amount of time with these features, but the poor documentation means I had to keep going to online videos to work out how something was done. I suspect the videos are filling a need that the main docs are failing to help with.

The average computer user stopped using a command line a long time ago, its now only a small fraction that still knows how, so is it really a surprise that we are not as popular?

As long as we hold onto the command line/terminal/putty as the main way to do tasks, we will be falling behind with the mass of users. Also Home Assistant creates UI widgets that work for some devices without the extra steps that openHAB needs.

Agree with this, as the author was looking at the thesis that was comparing openHAB 2.x and we have come a long way since then.

I like the fact that you’re not happy with this, because it shows that you care about openHAB, but let’s direct it toward improving things which any user can do. We need people creating videos, posting on forums and asking other projects to advertise that their opensource project is supported on openHAB. Many things can be done and the more that help the better.

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