We are all familiar with the adage of “You get what you pay for”. Home Assistant is free, by the the measure of the adage it should either be total trash or pretty close. The Home Assistant community is free, again it should be worthless.
Neither of these statements are true. Yes, your free software has bugs and may glitch from time to time but so does any product that you do pay for from Microsoft, Apple or anyone else.
I’m on a Git ticket about Nabu Casa and the ability to managed multiple instances from that system, which costs around $60 USD per year to have. It went from a simple request to flaming Nabu Casa to heads exploding over this issue (my contribution was “this would be nice to have”). The gist by the end was “well if Nabu Casa can’t do this then I’m canceling my subscription” - of course presumably they are only canceling Nabu Casa and still using Home Assistant. There were also plenty in the camp of “If Nabu Casa can’t do this then I won’t pay them”.
My rant is that people don’t seem to understand the effort it takes to manage a project of this magnitude. They don’t really know that not only is the management a pain but this same team of people are building the core Home Assistant out, so now there’s development time. On top of all of this there are amazing contributors to this forum that freely give their time and experience to supporting others. Add to this building and maintaining web sites and repositories and all of that and this isn’t your average small open source project, it’s pretty massive.
So, you aren’t paying for remote access, you aren’t paying for Alexa integration - these are benefits to encourage you to voluntarily contribute in the first place, you are paying for all of the time and effort it takes to bring you a totally free product that is arguably the strongest home automation platform on the market with a support network of thousands of people and your willingness to contribute to the effort gets you a few extra bonus features.
Since the days of freeware to the the modern times of “buy me a coffee”, if I find value in a product I contribute money to the people who spend endless hours providing something I use regularly. I just gave Octoprint $100 because I find it invaluable to my 3D printing, I gave BackupList+ $200 because it was a crucial part of my disaster recovery - the list goes on and on. This is to say that even if Nabu Casa gave me nothing at all, I would give them money because my entire home (and other places) center around this magnificent brain they created.
The moral of the rant is: before you go off on a tangent about this free software, give some thought to what it took to make it and ask yourself if have the ability to build a better mousetrap - and if you do then just build it already and stop hammering people over the software you downloaded from them for free.
And, yes, I understand that some folks buy hardware from Nabu Casa, they have a legitimate reason to raise their voices if something is wrong, but given the user base of Home Assistant I believe that to be a very small number comparatively - and, anyway, they are buying HARDWARE, not Home Assistant.