Run HA as dedicated or shared OS?

Hello all,
I am currently looking for the right home automation system and am currently trying to figure out which one to select.

Now I saw that there is hass.io, so a dedicated HA OS without a desktop environment.
I am currently running my RPi as a VPN server, media server etc. and would have liked to continue to use it as such.

Is it possible to run HA on a “normal” Raspberry OS Desktop or will I run into problems? Or is it not even possible to install it other than using HA OS?

If I were to use HA OS, can I just install a desktop onto it? I would much prefer to connect it to a monitor and input directly than using a ssh connection. Especially if I want to play around with VPN and other network adjustments that quickly make a device “permanently” unreachable via network.

Additional question:
The hass.io website states that one needs the 64 bit version to run it on Pi4 8GB. That’s the model I have, but I am using Raspberry OS 32 bit (because Kodi/Widevin DRM and many other things don’t work on 64 bit).
Is this a problem? LPAE is used on Raspberry OS, so although not available to one individual app, the full 8GB are available to the system. And I’m assuming HA does not need 8 GB of RAM.

Thank you all for you help

Best regards
Alex

Hassio has not been a thing for 12 months. Here is a table of the installation methods and their properties:

If you want to retain your other servers then you would choose the supervised, container or core installation methods.

Thank you @tom_l for the overview.
Whenever I googled anything on House Assistant and Raspberry, I always ended up on hass.io. But good to hear that HA has moved on from that.

However, looking at the instructions etc. I always see that for my 4B 8 GB, the 64 bit is mandatory. Why is that? Raspberry.org still recommends 32 bit for all devices. And I have not yet found any solution to getting e.g. DRM working on a 32 bit system (which would be nice). So given the risk of incompatibilities, is 64 bit really necessary?

Sure, I would love to go for 64bit and find it rather annoying that in 2021 so many apps, libraries etc. are still only 32 bit. But not much I can do about it right now.

And another question: According to the instructions, GPIO only work on 32 bit OS. Is this correct? So would cameras, USVs etc. hooked up to the Pi no longer work?

I don’t use a pi but it’s probably something to do with the address word size required to access the full 8GB of memory. A 32 bit word can only address 4GB.

I believe the 32bit OS requirement is only for using the GPIO ports directly as switches/sensors. Not 100% sure on that one.

Also ‘Home’ Assistant not ‘House’.

Unfortunately there are a lot of historic posts about Hassio and only one blog post about the name change. So it’s no wonder it refuses to die.

I’m sorry, of course Home and not House. I meant no disrespect.

But is Home Assistant OS to hassio then like Raspberry OS is to Raspbian? Basically a name change and upgrade?
Or is the dedicated HA OS outdated or no longer recommended?

It seemed from your link and my subsequent searches that the recommended approach is now Debian 10 plus the supervised installation.
This approach would suit me quite well even though I could not quite find out why Raspberry OS (which is based on Debian but optimized for Pi) is deprecated and the original Debian is now the way to go.

Yes. Home assistant OS is the operating system.

No, not just a name change, a completely different OS. Read the blurb here: https://github.com/home-assistant/operating-system#home-assistant-operating-system

No, very much alive and kicking and recommended if you want an “appliance like” experience without having to muck about with Linux or Docker. But it is locked down and if you want to run extra applications on the same host they have to be run as addons.

The devs picked one OS to support due to the proliferation of installations on different Linux flavours causing issues. Debian, no derivatives was picked. Simple as that.

The other OS’s should still work but you will have to rely on community support as they are not officially supported.

Which means you are being led to information that is outdated because the name change occurred many months ago. Since the name-change, there have been many new versions released so content that still refers to hass.io is likely to be out of date.

The core development team doesn’t have the time or resources to test Home Assistant Supervised on multiple linux distros so they limited it to Debian (and not even any derivatives of Debian). The decision is documented here:

You can install Home Assistant Supervised on other distros but then you have an instance that is not officially supported. That means if you encounter a problem, you will have to turn to the community for support.