[SOLVED] Total disaster when trying on my own, with the great help of this community I got it running. Thanks

Dear openHAB community,

I have now spend a full day trying to get OpenHAB up and runing.

It has been a disaster. I am used to installing open source software on Ubuntu. I have been able to install and get running: Oscam, FHEM, Logitech Media Server (Squeezebox), and other things.

But what I have found here, is really bad. Let me please give you some hints:

  • Version 2.x is unstable and does not work well
  • the whole project is somewehere between old, file based configuration, and new, web UI based configuration - the new things are not ready and unstable, and there is a wild mix of support and community blogs, including WRONG “Beginners” documentation, which leads to a complete confusion as to what is working how in which release

I “just wanted” to connect my Fritz!Dect 200 devices via an HUE simulation to Logitech Harmony - I have given up. Why?

  • no way to get item tags edited in 2.x in a way that is understandable in less then two hours
  • it even took me four hours to find out that tags are not supported in the web ui
  • and I just cannot edit item files, as all is stored in a DB, which is not accessible/editable by item files
  • “stable” version 2.x is incomplete - the first steps mentioned in begginers docu do not work (!!)
  • latest 2.5 version (which someone told me to install on this community) does not connect over hue service to logitech harmony

I have given up - I am sorry to bring you the bad news.

I wish the community and all new members more patience and more luck then I had.

Kind regards,

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That’s the key feature here…
It’s not a simple system and never pretented to be.
There is a LOT of docs to go through to get the system to do more than basic things, which is what you wanted to do straightaway
Your tried to swim the channel before you mastered breaststroke and naturally you gave up.

Start again, slowly, bit by bit.
Get your things working one by one

Items files are in the items folder and you have to write them yourself. As in the docs.
Disable the simple mode. I agree, this is useless.

The latest 2.4 stable version IS stable. There are some bugs but it is stable as most of the users will agree.
2.5 is NOT a stable version and has an issue with HUE at the moment which is being resolved. I’ll wait. I have patience


I guess your are referring to HUE emulation? Because the HUE binding is working fine for me on snapshot #1745.

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Yes that is what I am referring to

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OpenHAB is complex and flexible and, like all things complex, flexible and worthwhile, needs patience & work to get it working as desired.
I do not know where you are going to turn. Home Assistant claims to be user-friendly, but they do not value system stability. OpenHAB values stability above almost anything else. You need stability i you plan on depending on a system.

Good luck in your quest and keep up informed on what better suits your situation. OoenHAB and Home Assistant are both designed to give you as much local control as possible, avoiding vendor cloud lock-in.

DIsCLAIMER: I breiefly looked at OpenHAB a year ago but went to Home Assistant. I initially did not use this forum to ask for assistance. After 6 months I realized Home Assistant was never going to be stable and lacked official support for mu Z-Wave devices.
When I came back to OpenHAB the people here on this forum were extra helpful in helping me get my system configured. I am still learning & growing my system but have also contributed a little bit.

The OPs claims are all valid. But I don’t the reason why he has made this post.

OH is not simple because it is a 12yr old project by know, based on a technology stack that is not state of the art anymore and no manpower to change that. But the state in which it is can be useful for some people. No reason to complain.


In my experience, if they have nor asked fo assistance from this treasure trove of knowledge, they have NO reason to complain because they did not make a serious attempt to make it work.

When I first looked at OH, I realized the complexity & confusion for new users. I investigated an easier, less stable path. When I seriously started looking here & using the forum, I had developers directly helping me make it work.

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I’m not going to make my big long posting this time. I’ve said it all before. But they’re are a few points raised that I feel I must address.

Indeed, it is in a state of transition. But so is pretty much any software.

Not true. The database is plain text JSON formatted files in a will known location. You can hand edit them all you want, just not while OH is running.


Hello vzorglub,

thanks for your valuable suggestion, I really appreciate it.

Unfortunately the items file never got picked up or read or interpreted by openhab. At least this is/was my impression.

So, I guess the question is - what do I have to do in 2.4 and/or 2.5 so that the item file gets read and it workes together with the rest of the configuration maintaind in paper ui?

This unfortunately is explained nowhere - instead there is lots of explanations on how to set up things in paper ui and in files, but what to switch on or off so that item files are being read, while the rest is maintained in paper ui, this is for me a miracle I cannot understand.

Some advice on this one would be great.

And by the way - this whole “mess” is only because the “maintain tags” feature is not available in the paper ui, although the API already offers tags editing, and the items maintenance UIs already exist? This is really hard to believe, I am sorry…

Thanks and best regards,

@Bruce_Osborne: thanks for your advice and for sharing your experience. I guess I have to stick to openhab.

The overall concept is great in my opinion and to me it “feels” like the whole approach is right - this is actually why I am so surprised on how bad some details are.

I will try for another round or two.

Are there any configuration examples you could share that are not working as intended?

@rlkoshak: thanks for this information - If the item file really does no longer work/is no longer being intepreted, I am going to either maintain the item tags for the hue bridge service either in the JSON database by hand or revert back to the API, which offers a way to edit the item tags.

Kind regards,

Sure. Here we go:

Contents of file \\openHAB2-conf\items\ABCD.items

/************************************************** Items ********************************************/
//—> EG
//–> Wohnzimmer
Switch WoZiTV “Wohnzimmer TV Anlage” [ “Switchable” ] {channel=“avmfritz:FRITZ_DECT_200:3e2fc4ba:087610278325:outlet”}

I have also tried this entry:
Switch WoZiTV “Wohnzimmer TV Anlage” [ “Lighting” ] {channel=“avmfritz:FRITZ_DECT_200:3e2fc4ba:087610278325:outlet”}

this file never seemed to be recognized or even read. I had the rest set up through the paper UI.

the channel info i copied from the Fritz!Dect 200 device channel - as far as I have understood the documentation and the forum, this is how it is meant to be.

The items file concent dates back from OHv1
In your conf/items folder create an *.items file
This is the beginning of my lights.items file:

// *********************************************
// **                 LIGHTS                  **
// *********************************************

Group                         Lights        (House) 
Group                         MLights       (House) //Lights for Super Lighting Rules
Group                         MaghribLights (Lights)
Group                         SunsetLights  (Lights)
Group:Dimmer                  TVLights      (Lights)

Switch	LivingRoom_WallLights         "Wall Lights"    <light> (LivingRoom, MaghribLights, SunsetLights, Lights, MQTTv2)            [ "Lighting" ] { channel="mqtt:topic:LivingRoomWallLights:OnOff" }
Switch	LivingRoom_CeilingLight	      "Ceiling Light"  <light> (LivingRoom, MLights, MaghribLights, SunsetLights, Lights, MQTTv2)   [ "Lighting" ] { channel="mqtt:topic:LivingRoomCeilingLight:OnOff" }

It shows labels, groups, tags, bindings, icons…
The configuration of items files is detailed there:

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Without further details it’s hard to guess. The first thing to check is that the openhab user has read permissions on the .items files (any file in /etc/openhab2 really). The second thing to check is openhab.log for any errors. There could be a syntax error in your .items file that is preventing it from loading.

The loading of .items files is one of those things that hasn’t really been touched in years so I doubt you’ve uncovered a bug or instability there, but that’s always a possibility.

Because all you have to to is save the file. That’s it. It will get picked up by OH, and if there are no errors in the file, loaded and your Items will be created in memory.

There isn’t anything you need to do. If you save a .items file in /etc/openhab2/items, the openhab user has permission to read that file, and the file has no major syntax errors, that is sufficient.

I’m sorry you find it really hard to believe. But unlike many open source projects, openHAB is 100% volunteer driven. And it’s an old project with a lot of history.

The volunteer(s) who created PaperUI and contributed it to openHAB (Eclipse Smarthome really) built PaperUI using a framework that none of the other maintainers know or have a desire to learn how to work in. And that developer abandoned the project. So now we are stuck with a UI that we can barely keep running let alone add features to.

But there is work ongoing to replace PaperUI (and several of the other UIs as well) for openHAB 3. In the mean time, PaperUI is all we got, as incomplete and broken as it may be.

Start small. “Just want to control Fritz switches with Harmony though Hue Emulation” is almost an end to end project utilizing everything that OH has to offer short of persistence. This isn’t really something you can pick up and get working in a couple of hours. So rather than approach it as an end-to-end all at once, break it into smaller pieces and get them working first. Build up gradually like Vincent suggests.

Pretty much everyone on this thread is actively using .items files and have been doing so for years (largely because of the PaperUI issues you site). And we haven’t experienced nor seen reported of any problems like this.

What’s in your logs? What is the permissions on the file?

It’s helpful to post code like this using How to use code fences, especially for dealing with syntax errors like these. The forum likes to make everything pretty which can mangle the code. In this case, your quotes should be "Switchable" but they are showing as “Switchable” (see the difference?). The latter version cannot be parsed.

If there is a syntax error, you will see it listed in openhab.log with the line and column number of the source of the error.


It is, see this link. As others already responded, there might be syntax errors or wrong permissions in effect to prevent success, but files are (re-)read.
Use openhab-cli reset-ownership and read the Logging section how to enable (more) debugging.

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For some Admin I also have HABmin. For day-to-day there is Basic UI and, if you wish, HABPanel.

Thanks you very much, @vzorglub, this helped a lot - now I can change the .items file and it is being recognized in my openhab installation.

Thank you so much - it is working now - the .items file example from above helped a lot.


I also struggle with what’s the best thing for me. I understand some of the coding and making some rules and items.
I’ve got +/-30 items mostly z-wave actors running and things work and are stable.
What I find confusing is all the different ways you can reach a goal. I understand now the PaperUi is an extra feature designed later to make things easier. So is it also possible to run Openhab without using the PaperUi or any other Ui and configure thing only with .items and .rules etc? Would that be a better way so everything is not getting messed up.
I try now to just create a rule to make a light go on and off when my fibaro motion sensor sees movement and I just cannot get the job done.
The only reason I stick with Openhab and say to myself to try harder is that Openhab has the best Z-wave range I’ve ever seen. I don’t know why but it seems with Openhab every Z-wave actor has a better reach than when I used HA or Domoticz.
I keep on trying, reading and learning