Starting a new project

Hello Guys.
Currently i am running my OH on Windows, but planning to do a fresh installation of the OH 2.4 (currently running 2.2)
What is recommended? Running it in a minimal Linux environment or in a Windows10 environment?
Is this just religion - or is there any pros / cons of it?

The requirements, etc. are geared toward a Linux environment, IMO.
Ig you must run Windows, it may be possible to run OH in a VirtualBox Linux VM with a bridged NIC but I have not tested that personally.
At least, that is my opinion.

Was thinking on starting in a VMware now, to split it more up… one instance for OH, another for sql, another for firewall and so on…

I assume you have a beefy server then. I have a lowly Raspberry Pi 3B+

Yeah, I have one running a lot other stuff like backup and so on…
so basically I am not “stuck” on one OS - but can choose :slight_smile:

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Well much of this is religion but all devs and most users run Linux, plus there’s openHABian to ease setup and complement OH with a set of fine tools. So if you’re agnostic go Linux.
You can go VM but think of the big picture: what if your $$$ server fails ? I suspect you don’t have spare HW at hand. A RPi also does the job. Either way I’d start with 2.5M1.


I started out on a Windows box because I had a box available to play on and learn. Once I figured out the basics and decided to give OpenHAB it’s own dedicated hardware I decided to go for a Linux box. I run Debian. If I did it over, I’d probably go for a different deb based distro like Mint or maybe Ubuntu. Reasons why I went with Linux instead of Windows were many but from formally being a system admin I was farmilar with Linux and knew it was much more lightweight and powerful

When I started my smart home journey, I started in a Linux VM on Windows until I got comfortable enough to move to a dedicated Raspberry Pi.

I would whole heartedly suggest investing in a dedicated headless Linux machine.

For example, having tried a selection of different devices, I’m extremely happy with the ODroid C2, which is a four core 64 bit device.
Even through OH appears to run in the 32 bit Java environment, (I could be wrong) I’ve not had ANY problems with this hardware.

Mostly I access it via SSH with WinSCP and Samba shares from various Windows based machines.

To present another view, if you have an existing Windows box doing other business, why not use its spare capacity to run openHAB as well. It works just fine.

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I’m primarily a windows software developer with tons of windows boxes and devices, but I like to keep my home automation separate from all this. It would be really annoying if my home automation was affected by servicing other boxes.

For this reason, I run mine on a raspberry pi 3B+. The Pi is plenty fast enough for running openHAB and Mosquitto, and pretty low power usage as well.

This is also giving me my first real foray into the linux world – it’s the first time i’m using it for anything more than just a file server, which will be a very useful skill to have in the future as windows 10 keeps circling the drain, getting worse and worse for every update (which is why i locked mine down to 2016, when it peaked in my opinion).

And, finally, the Pi is cheap enough that you can have another two in your drawer as backups. This cannot be stressed enough. You need backups of both the hardware and software. Starting over from scratch because you choose to is a great idea, but imagine being forced to start from scratch because something failed and you didn’t have a backup? I’m pretty sure that would suck. I’m not planning to find out :slight_smile:.

  • Most people running openHAB do so on Linux so the population of users able to help will be much higher for Linux issues than Windows issues. Most if the examples will be Linux centric as well.

  • Most (all?) of the developers/maintainers are developing on Linux or Mac (which is also a POSIX environment so not so different really) so problems having to do with the OS environment will be detected and fixed first for Linux.

  • openHABian is provided for any Debian (apt-get) or RedHat (yum) distro which provides a ton of installation and configuration of third party applications commonly used with openHAB. You have to do all of this installation and configuration by hand on Windows and I’m not entirely certain tools like frontail are available on Windows. I think on Windows you even have to manually configure OH to run as a service.

  • A lite/minimal version of Linux is far better able to run idled and openHAB on a low powered machine like a really old laptop or a single board computer like a RPi.

  • Support for OH Bluetooth on Windows is currently completely broken.

  • Running on an SBC gives you access to GPIO pics that allow you to directly interact with the outside world through sensors and actuators directly from your OH machine.

OH runs perfectly fine on Windows and have users do so. But the bulk of users do run in Linux and that is where you will find the most support. Running on aVM is an option but not a requirement.

This is how I run and I can recommend it. I would recommend a dedicated machine for the firewall though. But deducting a separate VM at that fine if a level is probably overkill and a water of resources. Consider fewer VMs and use containers for isolation. For example, I have one VM for home automation where I have OH, Mosquito, InfluxDB, Grafana, and Shinobi running. Another hosts my NAS. A third runs Plex, Calibre, Gigs, and Nextcloud (and it’s associated PostgreSQL). And so on. All of the above mentioned services run in containers.

There is/was a problem with 64-bit Zulu Java on ARM processors with it’s ability to use serial devices.

This is actually the official recommendation. The best platform to run OH is what ever you happen to have.

This is where a good configuration approach can help. I have all my Linux config defined as Ansible playbooks. As long as I have Git (which takes like 10 minutes to set up) and ssh, I can turn any apt Linux into an exact duplicate of any of my VMs, or even change things up a bit. So if my big server died, I can be up and running in some RPis in half an hour.

I would love to see an ansible tutorial video from you, as it relates to openHAB! I looked at it a bit and it seemed way over my head.

I don’t do videos but here is a little intro with examples.

nailed it
what ever you have, what ever you want to use, whatever platform you feel most comfortable using is your best bet for starting out because with OpenHAB, you are going to have a few new things to learn (that is the fun!) but if you have to learn a new OS, that may be to much and become frustrating

When I changed server, I decided to try Unraid and run Openhab in a docker, this works very well for me.

My server is based on a E3-1230v2 cpu, and 32GB of ram, way more than what is needed for Openhab, but I also got other things on that need that cpu and memory. Running it in a docker gives Openhab access to all cpu and memory, so it only use what it needs. As of writing this, I can see it using 0.02% cpu, and 803MB of ram. If I for some reason need to restart it, I can do it fast directly from the gui, and even do it easy from my phone too.

Running it on Unraid also made it easy for me to install nginx to handle access from the internet, and handle login with fail2ban on top. Same docker also takes care of the certificate from letsencrypt, and makes sure to refresh it when needed.

The reason I tell all this, is because you also mentioned a Windows machine to run it on. A machine capable of running Windows, would easy be capable of running Unraid with multipler dockers on too. :slight_smile:

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Thanks for all the good replies…, it makes perfect sense… I’ll go for the Linux model, and maybe use OpenHabian… seems like a good starting point…

I think I start with a Vm machine on my local laptop to setup and get all running - later port that to a VMware Esxi environment… since I already have a esxi Server running… :slight_smile:

Before on my Windows machine running Hyper-V and a lot other stuff, I often had delays on my OH installation, after a knx item changed it took very long time before rule executed… I think the allocation of hardware resources is easier with VMware - at least for a test :slight_smile: