What Features Are CORE Users Missing?

Good day,

When I started this journey, I looked into the best ways to run HA, and decided to build a NAS, and run it in a BSD Jail. Besides a few quirks, this has been fine. At the time, the only thing missing was the HASS.IO dashboard, but it was more a pretty front end to do things easier from what I understood.

Now, a couple years later, I watch videos that show all kinds of things you can do on the HASS.IO version that I don’t have in CORE. So have we (now) CORE users become the stepchildren? What features are we missing? Is there a way to get them into CORE?

Thanks,
Steve

The only functionality that Docker/venv users don’t have is (1) the add-on store, (2) snapshots, and (3) ability to update from the UI. However…

  1. Add-ons are just Docker containers that are able to communicate with the Supervisor. You can find regular Docker containers for most, if not all, add-ons (except specialized ones like the SSH and web terminal add-on) and install them manually, or you could just find and install the software on the host.
  2. You can just back up your config folder. I have a bash script that zips the config dir and backs it up to my server and Google drive on a regular basis.
  3. I made a bash script that lets me update to the newest version of stable, beta, or dev from a terminal. I run a Docker (Home Assistant Container) install so that script just references the appropriate docker-compose.yaml. Even if you don’t have a script for it, updating via command line isn’t difficult (or I suppose you could use Portainer if you run a Home Assistant Container install and really want a UI).
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Now? It’s been like that since the dawn of hass.io. It started as a means of simplifying the installation and management of Home Assistant and related services (like Node-Red, mosquitto, etc). hass.io was always a superset of Home Assistant.

Several months ago it became the recommended way to use Home Assistant and its name was changed from hass.io to Home Assistant (and Home Assistant was renamed to Home Assistant Core).

FWIW, there’s information in the Architecture repo indicating an upcoming name-change to Home Assistant One.

@wormuths

I’m curious as to what you are seeing now that you hadn’t concluded you didn’t need years ago. None of that has really changed. What features are you referring to?

Well, when I started, I’d read lots of stories about Pi limitations, trouble with flash drives, storage space, etc… It seemed all the limitations were overcome with dedicated virtual environment, and I had built a NAS, so I could create a FreeBSD jail on that, and centralize the thing to that. I had an always-on system, expandable storage which didn’t rely on the network to get to it’s files, plenty of horsepower, etc…

The only thin it seemed I wouldn’t have was an “add-on” architecture of HASS.IO, and simplified installation. I dug in, and here I am…

But now I see lots of people posting screenshots of things I don’t have. One example is the last update adding a Calendar tab, which I don’t see in Core (albeit I have no calendar components configured yet)… People have tabs for Node-Red, etc… My question isn’t meant to start a battle, but merely to clarify what exactly I am missing by using Core? Is there going to be something I can’t do with Core that I can do with a full HASS.IO install?

Backup doesn’t matter, because on the NAS I take periodic snapshots of the whole OS with Core installed on it. I can always recover, and have snapshots of my configuration available. I don’t mind setting things up the “hard way”, but being as this is my home platform, I feel uneasy pressing forward on Core to be limited down the road.

What is this “Supervisor” thing, for example? I don’t see that exposed in Core anywhere… I could be just confused here, but I don’t see any real information about the differences/limitations.

Thanks!

I struggle with this too. Supervisor basically controls instals and updates of ha, addons and itself. My supervisor didn’t update properly a couple of days ago and whole system halted. I do wonder if I should go back to docker with core.

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Home Assistant One? What is that?

Is it out of the realm of possibility to add the HASS features to Core? I mean, why can’t you install the “superset” features onto Core?

The idea of the installation on my central file server was to make it easier to share directories, maybe integrate grafana or something… All in one, always-on machine.

I’ve been overall happy with Core. But when you are building your home automation around a platform, you want it to be the right one. That’s why I’m looking at the differences now that HASS has gotten much more mature.

Other good things about supervised (of whatever install method)

  • combined auth - you can use your ha users in things like mosquitto addon.
  • the ingress feature of adddons with the built in panels, all accessible in one place.

Home Assistant already contains “Core”. So if you want “HASS features”, install Home Assistant.

I mean, why can’t you install the “superset” features onto Core?

Install Home Assistant and you will have Core plus the “superset features”.

What you cannot do is install Core first, then add on the “superset features” afterwards. Most find the existing product names and installation methods confusing enough without introducing a Lego-like version.

BTW, to be precise, HA Core is a python program. When distributed as a docker container, it is called HA Container. So if you actually could add “HASS features” you couldn’t start with Core but would have to start with Container (because all the “HASS features” are also docker containers).

You need that first before you will see a Calendar view … and that’s true for all flavors of Home Assistant.

Home Assistant and Home Assistant Supervised are effectively eco-systems centered around Home Assistant Container (docker container version of Home Assistant Core) a management piece called Supervisor (yet another docker container) and several other containers. The Supervised version can be installed on Debian Linux whereas the other comes with its own operating system (Home Assistant OS).

The eco-system aspect simply provides convenience for managing additional services (like adding Node-Red, mosquitto, Samba, etc) and administrating backups and upgrades.

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Now my brain hurts… LOL

To be fair, and if I had one criticism, when I started back in like the v0.40’s, the marketing said “Home Assistant was a platform that could be run many ways, including VM’s, Docker, or a pre-made image for a Raspberry Pi”. It didn’t say, “Choose anything but the pre-made image and you may have to start over in a couple years”.

So, this lead to the thread…

Yep, and if you chose the Hassbian version, it was eventually discontinued and required choosing one of the alternatives.

My belief as to why hass.io was promoted to flagship status, and re-branded as Home Assistant (and to be re-branded yet again in the near future) is because there was a realization that some services (like MQTT) have become so ubiquitous for home automation that there should be an easy way to install and use them.

The Add-on system is nothing more than curated services (Node-Red, mosquitto, Samba, etc) distributed as docker containers customized to work seamlessly with Home Assistant. It’s not hard to install and configure Eclipse Mosquitto as a docker container, but it’s much easier if you use the Add-on version of it.

I just updated the garbage collection custom component and this release creates a calendar, which magically popped up :slight_smile:

No idea why that would have happened. 2 years of running hass.io/supervised and I never needed to do that.
I originally started with the RPi all-in-one installation, now depriciated before hass.io (ResinOS first) then HassOS before Supervised on Debian…

I am very happy with the supervised method of managing all HA containers and addons with the ability to run other docker containers as well. A NUC only running HA seems kinda a waste.

What Features Are CORE Users Missing?

The very short answer is pretty much nothing.

The longer answer is that there is nothing that the other versions of “Home Assistant X” do that you can’t do with “Home Assistant Core”. You just have to install all of the other apps that would otherwise be considered add-ons manually on the OS, manually create backups and do manual updates thru the CLI.

“Home Assistant Container” (which is just HA Core installed via Docker) alleviates some complexity of some of those manual tasks. You can install Dockerized versions of almost every add-on and you will pretty much get the same functionality of those add-ons. And if you install Portainer to manage your Docker containers then the updates are literally a couple of clicks and done. You still have to do backups “manually” tho (or with some script or third party software).

“Home Assistant One” (formerly “Home Assistant” formerly “Hassio”) & "Home Assistant Supervised are basically the same thing. Both Have all of the same functionalities - add-ons with the built-in compatibility with HA and ingress, one click update from within HA, one click backups called “snapshots”. The only differences between the two is that “One” is it’s own limited OS that can only support the installation of other apps via the Docker environment. While the “Supervised” version is installed on a pre-existing Debian OS and you can (theoretically) install other apps directly on the OS just like any other version of Debian or thru the Docker environment.

I say “theoretically” because looking at the discussion of the officially supported install methods on github the requirement to get support from the HA dev team is to not have any other apps installed on the OS except the ones provided by HA itself. So if you don’t care if you get “official support” then you can install whatever you want. Otherwise you might as well just install “Home Assistant One” and be done with it.

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How is this done in Portainer? Maybe I missed the button. I use watchtower to update all my non-HA containers and normal updates in HA Supervised for HA containers.

If you click on the container in the list then on the next “container details” page there is a “recreate” button second from the right. You click it and then click “recreate” in the “are you sure?” window that pops up.

So recreate pulls the latest image and creates a new container with the original settings? Cool.