I couldn’t agree with you more. I started having a look at this about 6 -8 weeks ago having bought a raspberry pi b some 4 years ago and it just sat there. i now have the new 3b+ a number of esp8266, a coupple of feather huzzah, arduino uno and other odds and ends. What fun I’m having in my man shed.
I have reinstalled hassio about 6 times now having crashed it through incompentence and little knowledge of linux.
I am a tinkerer but love the learning i’m doing.
I’m finding that small changes in your setup sometimes present the biggest difficulties as you need to find a correct matching guide with exact same build.
Anyway I like what i see and strangely I tend to have luck choosing good startup software.
I still haven’'t got all the above to talk with each other but I know I’ll get there - it might take a few more beers in the man shed.
MQTT is the magic key.