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openHABian in international airspace
openHABian provides a self-configuring Linux system setup specific to the needs of every* openHAB user. It can either be used on existing Debian/Ubuntu based systems or installed via the provided Raspberry Pi and Pine A64 images.
The v1.2 release changes and adds a few details in openHABian for a more intuitive experience for beginners and with new hardware, including devices connected by Wifi. The most important change with this release is the addition of a Raspbian Lite based image.
Changes since v1.1
All git commits can be found here.
- A new Raspberry Pi build based on Raspbian Lite
- All needed modifications for the new Raspberry Pi Zero W
- A way to configure Wifi before first boot (Pi0W, Pi3 and Pine64)
- An improved timezone function: Autodetect timezone, Overwrite option, Interactive mode
- Menu entries for timezone, locale and hostname, resolves https://github.com/openhab/openhabian/issues/59
- Clarify “setup not finished yet” for impatient users
- raspi-config removed and replaced by a hint to use openhabian-config
- Slight improvements to all build scripts
- Contains Vagrantfile for a build environment
- Fixes bug https://github.com/openhab/openhabian/issues/110 / improves https://github.com/openhab/openhabian/issues/100 https://github.com/openhab/openhabian/issues/101
Raspberry Pi Zero W
A few days back the Raspberry Pi Zero W (Pi0W) was released. The Pi0 is a cheaper and smaller Raspberry Pi with only a few external connectors and only one 1GHz core. The latter, especially the lack of a network port, made the Pi0 uninteresting as a “hassle-free” SBC for openHABian. The Pi0 W changes that because of it’s integrated Wifi/Blueooth module.
openHABian v1.2 brings full support for the Pi0W in unattended/headless mode. Read about Wifi setup below.
The Raspberry Pi Zero W is powerful enough to run openHAB and to control your small and mid-sized home / home automation system. It is also a great device as a slave system, e.g. only interacting with your heating system or the garage devices. If you can live with the limited count of connectors and the main uplink via Wifi, the cheap RPi0W might be a good choice for your openHAB(ian) installation.
Raspbian Lite base
If you payed close attention, you know that openHABian for the Raspberry Pi started as a project based on raspbian-ua-netinst, a minimal unattended network installer, perfect for what openHABian was aiming for. You will however also remember, that this rather special system had some restrictions and quirks. A “hassle-free” system should be as predictable as possible, however the differences to a standard Raspbian system confused some openHABian users. Another problem was the need for the support of a Wifi connection with the Pi0W.
With openHABian v1.2 we are introducing a Raspbian Lite based image in parallel to the raspbian-ua-netinst based image. The Raspbian image will take longer to flash but will overall be quicker to configure the system and start openHAB. Additionally it allows for a setup purely via Wifi and therefore is the only option for the RPi0W. As it is based on Raspbian as we know it, I expect this system to create less problems with GPIO or other issues known from the old base. The raspbian-ua-netinst based image is still fully supported and if you were happy with it so far, don’t hesitate to stick with it.
If you own a RPi3, RPi0W or a Pine A64, you can setup and use openHABian v1.2 purely via Wifi. You’ll need to make your SSID and password known to the system before the first boot in just a few steps:
- Flash the system image to your micro SD card
- Access the first partition from your file explorer
- You’ll find the file
openhabian.conf, open it in a text editor
- Uncomment and fill in
- Save, Unmount, Insert, Boot, Enjoy.
The openHABian setup was always quite reliable. Still there were exceptions of cause. In these cases the current state of the installation and a possible error and its solution were not always easy to identify for a new user (at least not without further knowledge of the system).
With v1.2 we’ve added a tiny but useful little addition. The configuration and setup process takes between 5 and 60 minutes (based on device, connection type and bandwidth). During that time you can log in via ssh and will be presented with the configuration progress log, washing away all unclarity.
openHABian promotes a hassle-free system you can use instantly without further modification. There were however three topics not yet covered by openHABian as good as expected by some users: Hostname, Locale and Timezone.
Version 1.2 finally brings openhabian-config menu entries to change the system’s hostname, to adjust the timezone and to change the system language, if
en_US.UTF-8 is not what you are satisfied with. Besides these menu entries the local time zone will now automatically be detected based on your IP, making a manual change mostly obsolete. With these additions
raspi-config is now finally abandoned from the Raspberry Pi openHABian system.