Which Linux?

Ok. Last night was the last straw with forced Windows udpates and force reboots. 98% of what I do and use is directly available in Linux. And I used to run Unix systems all the time.

So - opinions. Ubuntu? RedHat? Other?

I use Mint Linux
It is a very slick version, beautiful interface and everything works. I started on Debian but could not get the onboard audio on a brand new Dell desktop to work.
Mint is a Debian based distro

Unless you have a strong preference, I recommend Debian (not I did not say Debian based, openHABian is known not to work on some Debian based distros including Ubuntu) and use the manual instructions for installing openHABian (unless of course you are running on an RPi in which case just download the image). There is so much good stuff built into openHABian you’d need a good reason not to use it.

Personally, I have an Ubuntu 22.04 Server VM running on Proxmox which runs OH using the official Docker image. But that’s because I wanted to normalize my setups and configs as much as possible. Even though openHABian does a lot for you, it doesn’t do Plex, Nextcloud, Vaultwarden, Heimdal, Calibre, etc.

The best for you is going to be based on your circumstances and prior knowledge. But under the philosophy that I’d rather solve home automation problems than installation and configuration problems it’s hard not to choose openHABian.

Note: I do have a second instance of openHAB running at my dad’s house. That one is running on openHABian.

If you do choose to go your own way, choose a distro that supports either apt, yum, dnf, or pacman as package managers. The vast majority of users here on the forum opt for an apt based distro (Debian based use apt). You won’t be gaining much if you move to Linux but stick to a manual install.

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I would say Debian :wink:
However what you choose depends heavily where you coming from and where you intend to go.
Debian is superious for staying in it for a long time perspective (and therefore in severs).

And the Debian derivates (like Ubuntu, pop, whatever) are more pholished than raw Debian but still has the excellent apt package system.

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It actually will involves two systems. One is currently my Plex Server which will run Linux. And will also host my OpenHab.

The other is (I can’t believe I’m saying this) my personal laptop which needs an office-y thing (open office?), a paint thing (I like Gimp). The rest is email and web and… For something like Solidworks, I’ll run a VM (I assume there are linux hosted VM’s?)

Glad you mentioned OpenHab and various debian BASED distros.

What’s really funny? My laptop is – a M$ pro.

Note: My biggest to gripes with M$? It isn’t exactly a clean environment anymore. It’s loaded with bloatware the will simply resinstall if you remove it, and the FORCED reboots are a KILLER.

Note, there are some shared ports that openHAB and Plex both want to use. You’ll need to configure one of the to ignore the network discovery port (5000 IIRC).

It may be surprising but I do recommend a good Chromebook for this sort of thing except for the Solidworks. In the end, for my 3D printing stuff I ended up getting a Windows machine and run all the 3D stuff on bare metal so there’s access to the GPU.

But for a daily driver Linux distro, back when I used one, I used Ubuntu. It’s not the best but it’s has a lot of popularity. You will always find someone who has had and solved the same problem you run into somewhere on the internet.

In the past I’ve also used Debian, Mint, Arch, SuSE, Fedora, CentOS, Red Hat, and Slackwear. SuSE was probably my favorite but it’s been a long time.

I am using SuSE for years, currently on an old Macbook and in several VMs and I still like it.

For servers I prefer Debian stable, but would not use this on a „daily driver“ desktop. SuSE, Ubuntu, Mint and some others distros would not be a bad choice for that.

I would first choose a desktop environment (e.g. KDE or Gnome) and then a distribution with this environment.

Debian is excellent for hosting openHAB (headless), you just have to invest a little bit on the apt system.
Personally I do not bother with “raspian” on Raspberry either, I go for undistorted raw Debian.

On the desktop i use KDE/plasma, those gnomes have always seem to me like a bunch of weirdoes :slight_smile:

Now, if you should listen to me, I do not know, I am a greybeard who have been working mainly with networking since the previous millennia.


I’m running multiple instances of openHAB, either on Debian or Ubuntu. Either way they’re all installed via the package repository method described in the documentation, after installing the correct version of Java first.

Both Debian and Ubuntu are incredibly popular, so you shouldn’t find it difficult finding fixes if you come across issues.

(And that’s the reason I use Ubuntu on my desktop PCs - tonnes of guides if you need them, though it’s mostly been a case of It Just Works™.)

Anymore??? Heck, that was my gripe with windoze twenty years ago

Every search you do on windows (10 and up) will also be reported to MS.
It is quite substantional bandwith usage…
(This can be switched off, the win admins did just that where I work)

Depends on the manufacturer. Personally, I don’t mind apps/utilities that will help average consumers (even if I don’t need them), but hate when there are a bunch of shortcuts to Facebook, Candy Crush, McAfee/Norton, and other stuff that gets downloaded from the MS Store as soon as you touch them.

I recently bought a Beelink SEi12 mini PC that has Windows 11 and nothing else installed. I’m really pleased with it. I’ve heard that the quality control isn’t exactly stellar, but I’ve had no issues.

If I was going to repurpose an old PC for openHAB, I’d put Linux on it and install openHABian.

Some interesting strides have been made in the Linux landscape over the last couple of decades and if you are interested in a different approach which will give you a whole different set of benefits, I can highly recommend one of the distributions that support declarative configuration such as Guix or NixOS:

Being able to say “this is how my home automation system is going to look” and be able to reproduce that on new hardware is mind-blowing.

In my case there is just no going back to fiddling with traditional linux systems.

You can always go one step further and pick either yocto or buildroot! :wink:

That escalated fast!

There are lots of ways to achieve that goal. I use Ansible but there’s Chef, Puppet, Salt, Terraform, Vagrant (if you are using Type 2 Hypervisors) and I’m sure there’s more. These tools let you keep using a more common Linux distro and still get the advantage of being able to reproduce a whole config on new hardware (I just did this in fact when my ESXi machine decided to lose my VM volumes).

As with all things having to deal with computers, there are always lots of options.

Though, if you really want to fiddle with everything in the OS to make it just so, there are the various BSDs to choose from. :wink:

WHAT? You’re kidding?