New install: Ubuntu or Windows

I’ve got an old laptop (abt 5 years old) that I am going to set up as my HA server running Openhab. I can keep the Win10 that’s on it, or go to Ubuntu. I am very familiar with Ubuntu–been running it for years as my Plex server, so that’s not a concern. Is there any thought to which is more stable? Or gets quicker updates? Or has better support? I’m definitely leaning towards Ubuntu, but I’d like to hear the community’s thoughts.

Use Ubuntu!

I never tried openHAB on Windows, but if i have the choice, i alway prefer some kind of linux/unix/etc. as a server.
I always prefer windows as a workstation.


I’d go Linux, though that’s what I’m more used to. I can’t say if it would run reliably on Windows (never tried it), however it runs for months between unrelated reboots for me now, and ran for years previously off Linux booting from a 4GB USB stick.

For me many such projects feel like kludges in Windows - service wrappers, emulators, xampp, etc.

Having said that nowadays I’d say both are equally quick at getting updates/security patches.

Of course if you’re anything like me, it starts as just an openhab server, then you decide to just add zoneminder to it, and then a minecraft server, mqtt broker, node-red, etc. Then eventually you wonder why the server is running like a dog.

Hey Skip

I have more than 20years experience with windows and linux…

Use Linux :wink:

You have less patch-cycles and with RASPbian a very good installation routine, with no (or less) overhead.


I vote Linux

A significant majority of OH users are running on some flavor of a Debian based distro (Ubuntu, Raspbian, openHABian which is based on Raspbian). So you will have a lot more people able to help with environment issues.

You will also be able to use openHABian, which if you follow the manual instructions will give you a standard environment already configured with OH and support services for you, saving you a lot of time and giving us here on the forum an assurance that you haven’t accidentally messed something up with how you installed everything.

OH itself is Java so everything gets updated at the same time. There is only the one package.

Lots of users are running pretty stably on Windows. From a technical perspective, there is less automated on Windows in the install and configuration (e.g. no apt-get install, no openHABian, though there is a Chocolatey package). I wouldn’t recommend against Windows for reliability. I mainly recommend against it because more people will be able to help and it is easier to get everything running on Linux.

Yep. Though that is another vote for Ubuntu because a lot of those (not Zoneminder or minecraft) are installable and configured through openHABian. It’s nice to have a one stop shop.

But @SkipMorrow, don’t underestimate this. I started with OH and now have about a dozen services. I eventually had to upgrade to a desktop server running ESXi.

Ubuntu it is!

I don’t think openhabian would really be an option here–I’m putting it on a laptop. Although I do have a few RPIs laying around the house…Hmmm…

OK, another question then. Should I go with Openhabian on a Raspberry Pi 3, or Ubuntu on a 5YO laptop?

What about Openhabian on a 5 year old laptop.
It’s just another debian distro with HA apps and scripts added.

openHABian is just a bunch of scripts to install and configure OH and related apps in a standard way. If you follow the manual instructions you can use openHABian on ANY Debian based distro.

You do not need to have an RPi or other single board computer to use openHABian.

Save the laptop for other desktop purposes. Or gift it to someone in your family who needs it. OH can do on rasppi or cheap sbcs.

Yes… And no. If you gift the laptop and you’re techie, your just know you’ll be stuck doing support on it forever. And I like the fact that a laptop had a built in UPS (and at a pinch, terminal)

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I really didn’t realise the benefit of this, until our house power failed, now I have all Velbus kit, all the (main) house lighting, VDSL, LAN, ODroid UX4 OH2, central heating and (main) hot water running from a 3KVA APC SmartXL UPS, with a 54AH 48v battery bank.

I would strongly recommend using a half decent laptop with a Linux headless (No GUI) OS of some kind.

The installation instructions for OH2 refer to Azul Zulu 8 Java and I have noticed that it does give a better experience.

(Some things just don’t seem to work properly when running with Oracle Java 8, for example the Online Widget library within HabPanel)

another vote for Ubuntu. I’d always used PCs and Macs, but Ubuntu was definitely the right call. A much wider community to call on for help. Plus, if you’re anything like me, you’ll end up with numerous small scripts supporting openHAB and controlling devices for which there isn’t a binding (or reliable binding), and Ubuntu is just a better platform for that.

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I decided to go with the laptop, ubuntu 18.04. I installed from repositories (apt), using the instructions here:

But OH won’t start.

	skip@OpenHab-PC:~$ sudo systemctl status openhab2.service
openhab2.service - openHAB 2 - empowering the smart home
  Loaded: loaded (/usr/lib/systemd/system/openhab2.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)
  Active: activating (auto-restart) (Result: exit-code) since Sat 2018-08-18 11:15:51 EDT; 635ms ago

 Process: 1986 ExecStart=/usr/share/openhab2/runtime/bin/karaf $OPENHAB_STARTMODE (code=exited, status=255)
Main PID: 1986 (code=exited, status=255)

The logs weren’t exactly helpful:
(full paste here:

 2018-08-18 11:10:33.120 [SEVERE] [org.apache.karaf.main.Main] - Could not launch framework
 java.lang.RuntimeException: Error occurred while checking the system module.
         at org.eclipse.osgi.internal.framework.EquinoxContainer.<init>(
         at org.eclipse.osgi.launch.Equinox.<init>(
         at org.eclipse.osgi.launch.EquinoxFactory.newFramework(
         at org.apache.karaf.main.Main.launch(
         at org.apache.karaf.main.Main.main(
 Caused by: org.osgi.framework.BundleException: Invalid manifest header Export-Package: "org.osgi.dto;version="1.0"
         at org.eclipse.osgi.util.ManifestElement.parseHeader(
         ... 6 more

Did I miss a step?

Is this a SNAPSHOT install? If yes, then the error could be temporary, try earlier or next SNAPSHOT. If its stable then check your Java.
Zulu and Oracle should have no issues. Not sure about openjdk that comes with official ubuntu.

If this is the “first time” you’ve started OH2, remember that it can take AGES for it to fully set it’s self up.

My advice…

Start it

Walk away

Make lunch

Come back and have a look.

Once it’s running, it’ll be solid, but it does take its sweet time initially :slight_smile:

It is the stable release (sorry, I should have mentioned that)

I will let it sit while I eat lunch :slight_smile:

It’s been “running” for almost two hours, but it’s still not “staying running”. Every five to six seconds it starts and fails with the log message that I posted earlier. It’s been doing that for two hours now.

I’ll let it run longer if you guys think that’s what I need to do.

Did you check Java vendor? Oracle and Zulu are known to work fine.