It was fun while it lasted!


(Mark abx) #1

I have enjoyed my openHab experience, and would first like to thank the people hidden way way behind the scenes. Thank You.

Unfortunately openHab has become so unreliable that I have no choice but to abandon the use of it.

This morning I made an SD card backup of my openhabian setup, and then stuck the card back in and updated installed packages through the config interface. What I got was - All of my TP-Link plugs HS100s & HS110s un-initialized and all of these broken devices re-detected in the Inbox, but the real kicker was that all of my rules were gone. So I shutdown and restarted the system. Same thing.

A few weeks ago I needed to add 2 Sonos Play:1 speakers to the system. To cut a long story short after sifting through the forums I dropped an addon into the addons folder and the two speakers were detected properly.

A normal support system works where you send an email to support and get a response back from a technically knowledgable person. What you get from openHab support is forums of peoples experiences on how they have dealt with the same or a similar issue.

What openHab needs is a better support system. It is fine to have documentation and forums but you also need a support structure.

When I have a problem with the Sonos addon, I need to contact the maintainer directly, not a bunch of “this is what I did” people.

When I have a problem with all my Rules disappearing from the PaperUI, I need to contact the maintainer directly, not a bunch of “this is what I did” people.

I know that openHab is opensource (unpaid), but it is also understaffed, if it relies on forums to fix problems and not technically knowledgable people.

I will install the dedicated LIFX, Hue, Kasa, SmartThings etc apps on my 5 interfaces.

Have fun with openHab 2.4.

Kindest Regards

Mark


(Miika Jukka) #2

So you’re saying you want tech support for free? Do you want to work for free and give your free time to it?


(David Graeff) #3

Would you be willing to pay?

A maintainer is probably using his addon himself. In the newest version available. He is not the right person to speak to if you are still using OH 2.2 (or 2.3 nowadays).

In contrast to a commercial offering that freezes all versions and supporting exactly that version. There is no such offer for openHAB of course.


(YF) #4

Sorry things don’t work out for you. Hopefully by next year when the next rule engine matures, things will be much easier for end user. I am a developer myself, so I am more used to troubleshooting when the system misbehaved. But I do agree with you, that the system can be fragile from time to time as we tinkle with various devices. Hardware and software integration with a multitude of devices is a very difficult problem.

As developers, we understand that dependency is a huge issue, thus most developers do not use UI to wire components. We attempt to put in config/rules files as much as possible. This also means we don’t view issues from the same lenses as regular users. The good news is from what I can gather, the core developers are very aware of the issue, and are actively working on making it easy to end user.


(HomeAutomation) #5

From my point of view there are two different types of systems:

Closed system which has support of what the system is designed for and this will costs money

Open Source systems like OH which tries to cover a lot of different systems and devices, free with community support.

It was the same in the early days of linux. If you want to count on a stable system and get help in a emergency case the only way is to ask the community and hopefully they will help you, if not. you can help yourself are the problem will not fixed.

In my ealry days I tried to not count on these open source systems due to the missing deep support as mentioned in the original post.

But OH is so cool and from my point of view very stable and relyable. Very day a lot of new stuff is comming and a lot of more devices and functions are implemented.
Yes, we all are just working here in this community for free and try to help each others and the is no real countable help.

But since now, every problem I had was fixed.

And it is clear, for a hoem user with no technical understanding OH is not the first choise. But with a bit more the this it is very cool and fixed a lot of my smart home problems and ideas. And it is very relyable. You can stay on a old version with know bugs and this will be very stable. You need a test system and some effort to migrate to the latest version. This is the price for a free version. From my point of view I will pay this price and try to give back to the communcity what OH gives me.

Thank you all for OH and the very perfect support here.


(Gad Ofir) #6

if you want all cake and still have it full

go for a hybrid solution, for important stuff use Pro install and pay your fine $
but find a system can integrate with OH or any other Opensource Home Automation system, that you can do things after, not sure if you know all your house needs now , this is something that Pro install will not cover


(Rich Koshak) #7

Who is going to pay for it? None of us gets paid. We are volunteers. We donate our time both to the development of OH, writing of the docs, and providing help here on this forum.

If you want support you MUST use a commercial product that provides a helpdesk system. It is as simple as that.

Then post an issue on GitHub. That is where the developers are.

There is no staff. There is no company. An open source project like this is a community, not a company providing a service. I repeat, if you want a helpdesk you must purchase a commercial product from a company.

openHAB is a community of volunteers. The only money that OH takes in, through donations, pays for hosting this forum and the other servers and I think one developer.

ONE developer.

Everyone else is a volunteer.

I’m sorry you have run into problems and are not satisfied with what sort of support is available. But you completely misunderstand how an open source project like OH works. You talk about staff and help desk support and suff like that which simply do not exist in a project like this. There is no company here. There are no employees here. What organization there is is exceptionally loose, only a little bit hierarchical, and has no power.

If you want to have support that works like one gets from a company, one must purchase a product from a company.

And David has a good point. Unless you are running the nightly snapshots, the maintainer isn’t going to be able to help you with your problem because they are working on code that has up to 6 months worth of changes.

So you are using the Experimental Next Gen Rules Engine and are surprised that something went wrong? It has Experimental in the name for a reason.

Ultimately, I think this is mostly a problem with expectations and I’m sorry that openHAB cannot meet with your expectations. We are not that sort of organization (i.e. a company with employees). All of the “this is what I did” people ARE openHAB. That’s all we have and all we will ever have. And IMHO the openHAB community is one of the most inclusive and helpful communities I’ve ever been involved with.

:+1:


(RockClimber) #8

In some points I can truely relate to @Markabx. What I disapprove is choice of words. But who can not relate if you get frustrated with a system? So here my two cents as a kind of constructive criticism.

I am thinking about turning my back on openhab as well for while. Especially with the new release that broke all my mqtt bindings. Yes, I know. Three clicks and you can reactivate the old binding. But you cannot simply ship a change and break core functions. If you ship a breaking change at least ship a guide on how to move your implementation to the new binding.

What more frustrates me the most is the choice of language here in the community. I see the recurring phrase that this is not a helpdesk. But if change your perspektive it is a kind of helpdesk for everyone having a problem. But there are volunteers behind the counter. But these are throwing directly the rule book after you, listing your violations and you should read the manual. I tried to read it for the new binding and did not understand it. I read a nice statement here today. Roughly: “The openhab documentation is useless unless you already now how it works.” And that nails it.

I am a professional developer myself and participated to OH by minor code donations. Just using a different nick and mail address than on github. I f***ing hate writing documentation and it is usually not existing or bad. But than I cannot complain to people who are seeking my help. If I break people systems with my changes I should not wonder if they complain.

So I know both sides and I strongly disagree with the current behavior on both sides.


(John Young) #9

Personally, I think a paid support option would be a great idea. Maybe something like FreePBX, where if you get stuck you can pay Schmooze to help you get unstuck. One-time payments for one-time fixes, and if there’s a need for ongoing support then a monthly payment plan can be arranged. I enjoy fiddling with OH to make things work, but there are times when a quick paid support ticket would have been my first choice. Just my $0.02.


(Mark abx) #10

As usual Rich you have missed my point.

I am using stable 2.3.0-1.

This morning I did a simple update to installed packages.
I lost all my Rules and all of my TP-Link devices are unitialized.

Do you think that is normal or even stable?


(Mark abx) #11

Thank you for your sane reply.
I appreciate you taking the time to feel for me and my frustrations!


(Rich Koshak) #12

Your point was OH needs a better support system. Something closer to what one gets from a commercial offering.

I did not and cannot comment on the problems you experienced as you provided absolutely no information that would help us understand what might have happened and help fix it.

And you made it clear you don’t want “this is what I did” people to respond in the first place.

So, if your point was to complain that OH is unstable then it is a pretty poorly written post. Or maybe my reading comprehension is just not good enough. I guess I’m just too dumb to tell the difference.

If you want to bitch about how unstable OH is, don’t spend the bulk of your post complaining about the forum and all of us “this is what I did” people who want to help and then complain that we missed your point.

No, it’s not normal or stable at all. I’d love to help you figure out what went wrong and how to fix it. But I’m just a “this is what I did” person who apparently always misses the point. What good can I possible do?


(Hilbrand Bouwkamp) #13

I’m the maintainer of the TP-Link binding. And yes I do care. What version of the binding did you have? Did you by any chance install the market place version of the binding? Did it give any errors messages? And no I don’t agree that developers are faraway. They read this forum too and will help you if you ask nicely (or ask out of frustration).


(namraccr) #14

Even purchased software doesn’t have support that works that way unless you also purchase a support plan. And even then what you get is usually inferior to what you can get in this forum.

Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Or do. Good riddance.


(Philip Knowles) #15

I am truly disappointed with the shooting of the messenger going on in this. And for a maintainer to say good riddance to a community member is awful.
We have all had issues with things going wrong or not working as expected and sometimes felt like throwing in the towel. When someone does we all lose because their experience is part of the community.
Documentation is an issue and is frequently highlighted. For instance, there is an embedded MQTT broker but I have no idea how to use it. Often documentation is written by people ‘in the know’ with examples that are not easily transposed. I am grateful for the help that I have received when I have been stuck but that doesn’t stop me wishing that it didn’t happen. Too often the documentation isn’t updated to reflect the experience either. It’s easy for me to say but better documentation would save maintainer’s time in the long run.
Finally, the Experimental Rules Engine. This nebulous internal database that paperui creates that we don’t have any access to means I gave up trying to do anything with paperui apart from adding bindings. This defeats the object. I wish paperui created an items file or a rules file. Then, when something goes wrong, we have something to fall back on. Plus simple configuration can be set up but advanced users can tinker.
openHAB is a superb system. It isn’t perfect and never will be but it can improve. When someone is critical they are being so for a reason. Don’t go on the defensive, it’s not personal, it’s someone wanting help and that’s what a community is about.


(Kris K) #16

I’d be more than willing to pay for support if it meant prompt fixes but generally the support from the community has been awesome. Thus far I’ve enjoyed and learnt alot using OH2


(David Graeff) #17

I will try to shed some light into why this decision was made.

Developers tend to and should use existing software library solutions whenever possible to not reinvent the wheel. openHab 1.x did not follow this rule by using a hand-crafted syntax for defining Items and Rules (got extended for Things). Those formats are read-only, there exists no library to write back to those files.

With openHAB 2.x developers therefore chose to use a database (mapDB) for storing everything that need to be stored with the new concepts. People complained, that a binary file like that could not be backed up / restored / maintained, and people are right. If the database broke, everything was lost.

Developers therefore changed the backend database to be a standard json file. Very easy to parse and write to, a ton of libraries available, and most important: Human readable. You can add your stuff to that file in standard json syntax if you want to.

But how to handle all the “double effort” item, thing and rule files? The developers chose to keep those to not break any setup. Another option could have been to say, there are json files only to edit which would mean no difference between Paper UI and textual configuration storage. This would have come close to what other home automation projects like HomeAssistant do. HA is using the yaml format (another well established format with tons of library support), so they can read but also write back if necessary.

The community would need to decide if they want to give up the old rule file format in favour of one single storage or keep the thing and rule files but live with the fact of having to different storage systems.

Cheers, David


(Philip Knowles) #18

Thank you. Helpful information


(Kim Andersen) #19

I wouldn´t say docs are useless in general. But I can relate to part of it…
The respond, when mentioning is, “None of us gets paid. We are volunteers. etc etc.” which is true.

Developers know how to develope. Docs are hard to do if they shall cover all perspectives and user levels. Often docs end up written from the developers perspective or high level knowledge, which sometimes makes it hard for a “normal” (none knowledged) user to read and understand.
Users have to accept that, as well as the developers and supporters have to accept that, we (users) dont know everything. Infact, many start off knowing nothing and therefore at a low level. We need to learn to be able to know. To be able to learn, we need help, either through meaningfull/low level docs written from our perspecitve, or through direct help (community).

This is not said to be harsh on the developers and the supporters. This is just to say, in general:
Thats the way things are with open sources projects. Even commercial products sometimes suffers from bad written docs.

I do have to say though, from my point of view, most openHab developers (and supporters) I have meet, are very active in providing direct help, and their respons time is high as well. Sometimes I wonder if they even got a life beside developing (supporting) openhab.

Just to name a few people and projects I have been involved with (getting help), which in my opinion deserves a big acknowledge and thank you, it´s:
@chris the developer behind Z-wave and Zigbee binding.
@rlkoshak for his help with rules and over-all openhab stuff.
@mgbowman for his Unifi binding. Though he has been very busy with private stuff lately, he didn´t abbandon the users.
@matt1 and his ipcamera binding as well as other stuff. He´s always active as well.
@Dim, @vzorglub, @rossko57, @hilbrand and @5iver, all beeing everywhere in the community and always ready to provide help. Some of them even taking their time to create tutorials & examples, scripts etc trying to make this more helpfull and understandable for us (users)! There are several others worth mentioning, but these are names which popped into my mind while writing this.
Worth mention is the @maintainers as well, those working behind the system. Without these people, openhab2 would have look much different, for the worse that is!


(Kai Kreuzer) #20

Just a small correction here: OH does not take ANY money in, it is the openHAB Foundation, which receives donations and member fees (which can be considered a recurring donation). This money is used for the infrastructure (forum, build server, myopenhab.org) and NO developer (not even any small development) is paid from this money.