Need for Dedicated Computer for Learning

My plan is to install openHAB on a laptop PC (Ubuntu OS, Bionic Beaver), buy a Z Wave door contact and siren, and do some coding to become familiar with openHAB and Z Wave. I have no intention of implementing an automation system at this point, only learning. If I become comfortable using openHAB, then I will install it on a Raspberry Pi 4, and proceed with automating my home with Z Wave. Is it possible to install openHAB on a computer that I will use as a general purpose computer or do I need a dedicated computer?

For it to be useful, you need to keep the computer running. I actually started on a laptop with OH in a VM and then moved to a Pi.

It depends on your usage patterns. Will you normally have this computer turned off when you need the openHAB service to be running? If so you’ll want a dedicated machine. If not then there is nothing standing in the way. You might have issues with ports needed by openHAB already being in use by another service on the machine, but you can get around that by changing the port on openHAB or that other service.

Having a familiarisation play on an ad-hoc basis on a laptop is absolutely fine.

I’ll point out one quirk that may make openHAB look poor in this circumstance; OH uses an internal cache for various system tasks. When you’re only starting up OH occasionally, the cache goes stale and can result in odd errors. I would advise a reboot after first startup after a day or more off, just to get a clean start.
This problem doesn’t show up for normal continuous service.


I thank everyone for their input. Based on what I read I will use a Raspberry Pi 4 with 4 GB of memory. Now, one more question. Do I also need an Aeotec Z-Stick Gen5+ to plug into the Raspberry Pi?

If you plan on using Zwave then you need some sort of controller. The Z-Stick Gen5 is one option but not the only option. My understanding is if it bears the zwave logo, and is a device made for your region (different countries work at different frequencies so you can’t use an European controller in North America for example) it will work.