this post was submitted on 20 Apr 2024
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  • Home Assistant is now part of the Open Home Foundation, a non-profit aiming to fight against surveillance capitalism and offer privacy, choice, and sustainability.
  • The foundation will own and govern all Home Assistant entities, including the cloud, and has plans for new hardware and AI integration.
  • Home Assistant aims to become a mainstream smart home option with a focus on privacy and user control, while also expanding partnerships and certifications.
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[–] [email protected] 136 points 2 months ago (2 children)

Is HA not already the mainstream option for privacy and user control? Maybe I just live in a bubble, but it seems like it's already the go-to if you care about those things.

[–] jimerson 65 points 2 months ago (2 children)

I took it to mean they're going to put it in prettier packaging, simplifying its use for the average Joe.

[–] [email protected] 40 points 2 months ago (4 children)

I have been using it for years and still find some things confusing. Like idk why it's so hard to figure out how to customize the dashboard and create new widgets for it. I've been a professional web dev for 8 years and if I'm struggling with it, you can bet most people aren't even going to bother. Idk what's so hard about providing simple html, css, and js like every other web framework.

[–] just_another_person 26 points 2 months ago

Because it's either full-auto, or full-manual, with no wiggle room in between. That being said, they have made the right moves in hiring the right people in the community to be ICs on the project to fix stuff like this, and they are killing it. Ex: they hired the Rhasspy dev a year ago, and he has already revamped the entire voice assist workflow in HA. Great work.

[–] [email protected] 14 points 2 months ago (2 children)

yeah nothing ever makes me feel stupider than my home assistant, which half-works for random reasons, even though like, I can actually develop things. Woe unto anyone wading into that without any coding background/inclination or interest. I hadn’t really ever encountered YAML before working with HA (I’ve been using HA now for like 6 or 7 years I just realized).

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[–] crossover 5 points 2 months ago

I love my HA dashboard but it took seemingly far too much effort to get it sensible. I had to know how to ssh in and edit a locked YAML file and create new template sensors just so I could have some temperature sensors show as “50” instead of “50.0028472” or some shit.

I think they fixed that in an update though. But there’s always something that requires multiple extra layers of digging around.

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[–] [email protected] 13 points 2 months ago (8 children)

I'm totally cool with that. Even as a more technically-minded user, I see a lot of things that could be way more streamlined.

[–] jimerson 4 points 2 months ago

I totally agree! They've come a long way, but making it easier to use can only help grow support for the project.

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[–] SpaceMan9000 40 points 2 months ago (3 children)

For technical people... Yes.

For people who aren't that technical? No.

Don't get me wrong, the Home Assistant Green and SkyConnect dongle is great and massively makes maintenance for the regular joe easier (no pis or other hardware that loads from the SD/hardware considerations).

But some stuff in UX would have to improve, which it already is doing ofcourse.

[–] [email protected] 19 points 2 months ago (1 children)

You would need to make touching a config file non existent. They've improved this over time, but not quite there I imagine.

[–] Flying_Hellfish 6 points 2 months ago (1 children)

It's especially true when it comes to things like HACS. I love HA but I've also told everyone I know that, if I die, rip all that shit out and replace all the "smart" stuff with regular stuff.

[–] AA5B 10 points 2 months ago (3 children)

Or ….. I choose stuff that work’s normally, with “smart” being an addition.

  • Smart thermostat works exactly like a dumb one, if you’re not online and there’s nothing programmed.
  • Smart switches work exactly as a dumb one, if there’s no automation saying otherwise.
  • Alexa works exactly like Alexa, if there’s no integration with HA.
  • Flood sensors do beep, even if nothing is integrated to notify your phone
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[–] [email protected] 50 points 2 months ago (1 children)

I run it in a docker container and it works great.

[–] [email protected] 19 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago) (15 children)

For others, beware that in a docker, each plugin needs its own docker container.

I run everything in docker except for HA which I run in a VM (HaOS) which makes it super easy to use.

Edit: by plugins I meant add-ons

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[–] paraphrand 44 points 2 months ago (12 children)

To become mainstream the install process for a fully featured setup needs massive work.

[–] [email protected] 17 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago) (3 children)

You can buy preinstalled hardware like the Home Assistant Green if you aren't up for it. I don't think you can really make it much simpler without just selling the hub itself.

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[–] [email protected] 30 points 2 months ago (4 children)

I like the idea of Home Assistant. I just can't be arsed to set it up.

[–] [email protected] 32 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago) (2 children)

I was of the same mindset for a long time; SmartThings, Hue and Google Home all worked well enough together to do what I wanted. But holy shit, Home Assistant is on another level and I only wish I'd installed it sooner.

The only real downside is that it makes home automation somewhat addictive and, by extension, expensive. I spend quite a lot of my time thinking about how to automate more of the things, and have a never ending list of stuff that I want to add to my setup.

[–] nrezcm 14 points 2 months ago (1 children)

Oh it's not as bad as your making it. My water sensors were only about $20 - $30 shipped and I mean if you're going to make an order you might as well get that $30 z wave extender so the fence gate sensors I spent $40 on have good coverage. I pair those with about $100 in temperature and humidity sensors for the attic, garage and freezers. I mean I needed to justify the SDR I picked up for like $45 you know. My $20 garage opener has also made life that much simpler. Wait how much have I spent already?

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[–] [email protected] 22 points 2 months ago (7 children)

Yeah, Well, everybody's day only has 24 hours, need to pick the battles, right.

I finally did and it runs everything, from my lights to my energy and heating management. Worth the saved money, literally.

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[–] ikidd 6 points 2 months ago

If you're down on the "editing YAML until you're blue in the face" part, they've pretty much transitioned entirely to a good UI for that. Going into the yaml is rare now. I was of the same opinion a year or so ago, but tried it and it's improved immensely in the last year for configuring things. There's room left for improvement, but it's usable now.

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[–] LifeLikeLady 25 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago) (1 children)

Can't wait to ditch Google Home. Nothing to do with their warmongering. Just hate that the assistant is such a dumb bitch.

Thankfully someone is going to make a localish smart speaker.

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[–] [email protected] 22 points 2 months ago (8 children)

I've dabbled a little with it, but I really want something that's as easy to use & set up as the commercial offerings like Google Home and Amazon Echo. I want to have an interface where I can connect my light bulbs, and have little hockey pucks that will listen for a wake word and do what I ask of it, and play my music. I also want to be able to get under the covers and do something that solves an odd problem that might come up.

I'm very hopeful for the project and I do think it will get there eventually.

[–] [email protected] 26 points 2 months ago (2 children)

Ease of setup in exchange for google/amazon spies in your house and your data. Seems like a very bad deal to me.

It’s really not that hard to setup for a basic setup and after that it’s working problem free with all kinds of manufacturers devices, not just one brand.

[–] Prethoryn 9 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

"Ease of setup in exchange..." I think people tend to forget what "ease" is for others. This is nothing against you as I agree with your statement but I work a job where doctors can't figure out how to even unplug a keyboard.

We tend to associate just being on a social media platform and typing on a computer with tech literacy. Not saying you did this just using it as an example. I think ease comes with more than just setup it comes with dealing or having patience with that setup.

We use Home Assistant in our house but I also have Google Assistant and even with Home Assistant I still find there are many more things to troubleshoot that Google Assistant just doesn't give me problems with.

For example it updated and our Camera just stopped being viewable outright and the time and money it actually took to fix that and yes I said money because it had to do with our camera hardware and upgrade on Internet service. So not directly Home Assistant but indirectly to fix it we had to buy another camera. Where Google Assistant just works.

I don't see anything wrong with the users statement either. All kinds of FOSS apps and services offer ease of use setup and platforms. I am not sure Why Home Assistant couldn't be set up to do some easy to add integration as well or offer competing products against things like Google Assistant aside from cost and not being a hardware company.

If the idea is to be inclusive the being easy as an exchange is a reasonable request from an end user. We also forget people don't have the hardware or time to learn to self host. Some of us have day to day jobs that don't involve this kind of understanding as well as kids, etc. Ease of use as an exchange is why many platforms the Lemmy community doesn't understand are so popular and maybe open source platforms should adopt that mentality somewhat to bring more people in.

You can live in both worlds and want the other world to give you something another world might. However, don't get me wrong I don't disagree with you. Home Assistant isn't terribly difficult to learn but if I were to hand it to my parents I would be doing it for them. There is also a laziness to be said that can be attributed to people not wanting to learn to set up something like this but I don't believe that to be the same as entitlement as a consumer is entitled to want more from a product.

Anyways, I have said my bit and this isn't meant to be an argument just providing my perspective. I would argue we should stop nagging people about "easy isn't a good trade off." Easy is why so many services people hate on Lemmy are so popular and there is nothing wrong with ease. We should encourage easy in products we want more people to be a part of and companies to engage with users to make those products easier because in the end it makes Doctors life easier and easier for me to recommend to someone with no experience in the world of open source and self hosting. It also brings competition to the table and awareness can spread if something is easier to use and recommend. I wouldn't recommend Home Assistant to my girl friend as an example because what she does for a living is type in excel spreadsheets and word docs but I wouldn't expect her to deal with home assistant and that is not against her because she is absolutely intelligent and does all sorts of things with numbers I can't even as someone in IT who should be able to do so. She absolutely and 100% could figure it out but why would she when her life doesn't pertain or really care about things as such because those things aren't as open as something like Echo's platforms and Google Assistant which makes setup and access easy to use?

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[–] AnUnusualRelic 12 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago) (2 children)

The problem is that commercial entities have the leverage to get hardware makers to design stuff for their environnement. It's the same issue Linux has vs. Windows. Mostly, it works great when you use things that conform to standards. But sometimes you'll hit an edge case. All in all, it's a small price to pay.

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[–] egeres 20 points 2 months ago (2 children)
[–] just_another_person 19 points 2 months ago (1 children)

They have the 'Nabu Casa' entity, which I thought was doing well. Last I heard, all their subscriptions were doing well, as were the dedicated devices they sell. Don't see them doing anything but accelerating growth as interest in this space, availability of useful devices grows.

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[–] [email protected] 15 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago) (7 children)

I had it briefly up and running and can only say... it's a bear, at least if you are trying to use it as a drop-in replacement with existing hardware. I'm sure I'll go back and sort it out at some point, but it left me just feeling tired and frustrated even when I had it doing most of what I wanted.

If you were thoughtful about hardware from the ground up, maybe it would be more straightforward, but I tried getting it running on just an old workstation with ubuntu installed on it that I use for very basic stuff like syncthing and it was just painful. Mix of Kasa/Wyze/Philips devices that are just what I've somehow collected over time.

It would be nice to see better first-class add-on support. I found myself needing to SSH into a VM to get stuff into it, and even then it was twitchy in all the wrong ways. Would also be nice to see better support for the containerized version, because that's so much easier to distribute and execute compared to a VM. Next time I'll probably just try to do it all with docker and see if it hurts less, since I don't think any addons I was using were critical to begin with.

That said, if you're doing HA, get a dedicated piece of hardware for it. I suspect it vastly simplifies things.

[–] just_another_person 12 points 2 months ago (1 children)

It's not really a "bear", but it IS highly configurable down to the tiniest detail, so requires a certain level of technical expertise. Definitely not for a novice, but that's what Amazon, Apple, and Google try to cover. I will say there are other options out there that are great for offline home automation, but HA is the most competent and complete.

[–] drphungky 4 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago) (3 children)

I'd argue it's a bear and I still use it. YAML is just fucking awful and I'm glad they've been hiding it more and more over the years but it's still there. Zwave is still wildly confusing compared to something like a Hubitat which is just plug and play (guess who has to just rebuild his Zwave stuff from scratch). It's also insanely organized where add ons are different than integrations, and are hidden in different menus, as are system functions and just... It's a mess from UX POV. It's also a nightmare to try to interact with the codebase or documentation or even ask questions, much less make a suggestion. As an aside to address the point of the article, I have absolutely zero worry that they will ever forget about power users, because I, and many other power users who have interacted with Paulus on boards before agree he is kind of an asshole who absolutely does not understand why anyone would want to do anything different than how he imagines it - including documentation or UX or whatever. Home Assistant is totally safe for power users.

Now of course I'm not trying to say it's bad, just that it is kind of a bear even for the tech savvy. You can't beat HA for being able to interface with absolutely anything. There's almost always already an integration written. It can do anything, and if you're persistent enough you can kludge together a solution that works in exactly the way you need. You might even be able to hide all the kludge from your spouse. It's also all free, because Paulus and a hundred other devs contribute their time for free and they're amazing for it. Absolutely awesome for power users. But being simple or easy just isn't one of its many, many pros.

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[–] [email protected] 5 points 2 months ago

I bought a dedicated mini PC for it, and if you just manage it using proxmox it's pretty straightforward (if you already know how to do Linux things and paste the right commands from the tutorial in there).

There's still stuff I need to fix to make it the only smart home controller, right now I have a ton of different stuff (switchbot, meross, Google home and HA).

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[–] [email protected] 13 points 2 months ago (2 children)

I wish it had better SSO integration with keycloak

[–] RunningInRVA 11 points 2 months ago (1 children)

Thanks for volunteering to build a new integration for HA! I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

[–] emc 10 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

Some have tried working on this. Authentik even developed a hack to make it work with HomeAssistant. Unfortunately the core devs of HomeAssistant have historically viewed external auth as a niche feature that users don't care about.^[] Not sure if that is still the case, but until that mentality changes we are stuck with native auth because PRs are just going to get denied.

I think this post pretty much sums it up:

In 2024, Home Assistant sticks out like a sore thumb among FOSS projects for its lack of modern authentication and authorization.

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[–] [email protected] 10 points 2 months ago (1 children)

I hope it won't go closed source

[–] [email protected] 13 points 2 months ago (1 children)

There's way too many open source licenses involved to then pivot to closed source.

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[–] [email protected] 6 points 2 months ago

This is the best summary I could come up with:

Home Assistant is known for its unmatched power and flexibility, but so far the platform, which has an estimated one million users, has struggled to reach the mainstream.

The foundation will also advocate for the development of “better” smart home products, says Schoutsen, “Devices with local APIs and that are built sustainably.

The launch of the for-profit Nabu Casa five years ago provided a revenue stream for Home Assistant through an optional cloud computing service that now supports 33 full-time employees.

Nabu Casa will continue as a for-profit entity running the cloud and selling Home Assistant hardware and will operate as a commercial partner of the foundation.

“Our articles state ‘There will be no direct distribution to members in return for activities performed for the association or as any other form of gratuity in any kind,’’’ he says.

In the meantime, Matter is also providing other platforms — such as Aqara, Homey, and Hubitat — the tools to expand and grow into more viable alternatives to big tech in the smart home.

The original article contains 1,317 words, the summary contains 172 words. Saved 87%. I'm a bot and I'm open source!

[–] Willer 5 points 2 months ago

Bit of a detour but Companies need to realise that AI needs to work FAST and have access to ALL the periphery that is available to the user to effectively put itself in our situation. This requires insane trust. This and the fastness aspect requires AIs to work offline only.

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