What is the difference between a dedicated Home Assistant OS install and a Supervised Install?

Hi what is the difference between a dedicated Home Assistant OS install and a Supervised Install? It looks to me like they have all the same features, except no ‘managed OS’. What’s meant by a ‘managed OS’? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this? Also is it possible to install a supervised Home Assistant instance on Rasbian? I looked at some guides and they said that it’s recommended to use Debian 11? Is this the only option? (I mean is it the only option with a reasonable guide to doing it?)

Also I don’t want to repeat work that’s already been done, but is there maybe an ISO or disk image/installer for a Linux distro that includes a supervised Home Assistant version?

Looking at the guide I found (which is lengthy) it would save a lot of work if there was.

Correct. With HAOS you have a thing that’s fully managed. You don’t have to install packages on the host OS or keep it up to date.

It’s the only supported option. If you fail to follow the requirements you will have problems.

Honestly, bluntly, don’t use Supervised. Use HAOS, or use Container (native Docker, no add-ons). Supervised is a trap.

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HA OS is a minimal Linux operating system with “just enough” functionality to run HA and it’s associated Supervisor & add-ons. Nothing more. It is a very restricted system. The “management” aspect is that it is auto updated (which I hear you are a big fan of :wink:) along with the Supervisor and the associated “supervisory” docker containers (_audio, _dns, _multicast, etc). But you still have to manually update HA itself even with this install type.

A HA Supervised install is just a HA OS type installation (with all of the associated containers) that is installed in a normal Linux OS in which you have pretty much complete control over.

You can install anything else you want on the system either as an add-on, in docker as a standalone container not managed by HA or even as a linux package/app.

the disadvantage is that you don’t get auto updates of the OS (which I don’t consider a disadvantage) and if you install something that the HA team deems “forbidden” then you can either end up with an “unsupported” system (which isn’t nearly as ominous as it sounds - it just means you don’t get official support thru github or discord but there is still plenty of help here) or worst case your system is “unhealthy” and you won’t be allowed to update your HA until it’s fixed.

I run a test version of HA Supervised and I have all kinds of stuff installed outside of it on a Debian 9 OS and in Docker and and mine is just unsupported but not unhealthy so I’ve never been blocked from updates.

However, I use HA Container (HA in docker without the Supervisor) for my production system.

You can install HA Supervised on any Linux style distro (I think…) so Raspberry Pi OS (formerly known as Raspbian) should work.

You also have to know more about Linux to properly maintain that type of install.

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I’m not even sure I know what docker is, or a container, lol? Do I still get the full feature set if I go this route? Also if Home Assistant ‘supervised’ means I have to manually update, what would this entail?

Yes I quite like the idea of autoupdate, but it hasn’t been my experience that a native install does this.

The reason I want another solution is I have Home Assistant running on a massive SSD, of which Home Assistant uses only a tiny proportion. I also want to mess around and refamiliarise myself with Linux a little maybe.

Supervised comes with the warning that you should be a Linux and Docker expert before using it.

If you haven’t got the message already, I’ll be very clear - stay away from Supervised.

You could run HAOS in a VM, with something like Proxmox installed on that computer. The only other sensible option would be to use HA Container.

Run HA OS in a VM as suggested.

Then if you want to “mess around with Linux” install a different Linux based OS in a VM and mess around with that. You can even install a second HA Container install type in that VM too and learn that way without it impacting your regular production HA.

If you really want to combine the two you can but it really depends on how much time you want to invest in learning the stuff necessary.

I didn’t know almost anything about all of this when I started 4 years ago so it’s not that hard but it’s going to take time and a commitment to learning it.

I really just want to be able to take advantage of the mass of unused space I have on the SSD I’m using. It seems massively wasteful to have a 1TB SSD of which only 300Mb or so is being used by Home Assistant.

That’s my first objective. Sure I could also install a virtual machine on my laptop. But that defeats the purpose of having spend over £500 on a very snazzy Raspberry Pi set up, which after all was designed to teach people about the inner workings of computed and programming etc.

I assume you mean you spent £500 on home automation equipment that includes an RPi. Because that amount of money for an RPi plus storage seems awfully high.


FWIW, you’re not obligated to install Home Assistant OS in a virtual machine, even though it’s a fairly popular method. From here:

Screenshot from 2022-02-22 16-59-27

You are free to install it on the RPi using the instructions found here:

FWIW, I run Home Assistant Supervised on Debian 11 on a 12 year-old laptop. For my needs it works very well but I do agree with others that if you don’t want to maintain a Linux OS you should choose Home Assistant OS.

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No, I have built a rather extreme Raspberry Pi system, using the best of everything I could find. Admittedly it may seem like overkill now, but I wanted to hopefully use the system as I said to refamiliarise myself with Linux and maybe as a backup to my already existing Home Automation system. But the system itself is besides the point. I don’t want to complicate things with unimportant details. At it’s heart it’s just a simple every day Raspberry PI and that’s all that matters I would just like a system I can use to relearn some Linux skills (which prior to now I haven’t used in over 12 years) and to maybe use the Pi for the reasons it was intended for - and have it run some home automations too. All the suggestions for other things I could do are interesting, but don’t fit with my particular needs or usage case. But thanks all the same. :slight_smile:

Well you volunteered the amount you spent for your “rather extreme Raspberry Pi system” so it would be educational for others to know what inflates a bog-standard RPi to such lofty heights.

We could have helped you with that but you overlooked to mention your precise “needs or usage case” (beyond installing Home Assistant on an RPi). All you asked for was the difference between two installations methods for use with an RPi and that’s been more than adequately covered.

Good luck with whatever it is you choose to do with your £500 RPi.

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Nobody said anything about installing HA on a laptop.

We only said to install it either in a VM or as a docker container. The choice of machine wasn’t part of the discussion.

Can you run proxmox on a RPi? I think you can….

you can definitely run it in Docker. Supervised or not.

Problem solved.

Sorry I wasn’t trying to be ‘lofty’ or ‘boastful’ or anything like that. I just genuinely didn’t think providing a comprehensive shopping list of components was very relevant to this discussion, particularly when at heart it’s still just a Raspberry PI 4. Sorry if I gave the wrong impression.

That’s what’s puzzling; how it becomes a USD$680 RPi4.

Anyway, I respect your right to privacy about the details.

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I would like to chip-in, so others could consider their options in the future.

If you are not going to experiment with electronics projects a RPi is not the best option to go for, especially if we are talking setups of > $250. For that amount of money you can get an entry level x86_x64 PC, install Proxmox VE, then HAOS, for production, plus you have the luxury to install everything else for experimentation, like HA Supervised, HA Core, Debian, Ubuntu, Elementary, Windows, LAMP stack, PiHole, your imagination is the limit.

For inexperienced users setting up and maintaining a supervised install is a thankless task (most of your time will be spent troubleshooting rather than learning HA). Core is OK to start, but limiting, especially longer-term, if control & automation (integrations) is not the only thing you want to do. HAOS is worry free, because all the hard parts are managed by the experts, the HA team.

Thanks. That’s an interesting consideration for another day for sure. :slight_smile: But to dispel some of the mystery I in fact have two large SSD’s both of which in combined value are only slightly south of the £300 mark. The rest is taken up by a snazzy case and internal SSD controller board and a power management module and a very good keyboard, dedicated small monitor, good speaker and microphone so I can set up a voice assistant on it too maybe and some other stuff too. So the costs soon mount up. I’m sure I could have bought an old second hand PC, but to be frank for now I’m done with PC’s. I have a couple of Macs that I do most of my work and daily life related tasks on. Buying an underpowered PC would just seem regressive right now, not least because the PI system is what it is. I have it here now - and part of the attraction and advertised blurb is that it should be used as a learning and teaching tool. It’s this idea I bought into when I originally decided to go down this route. So it would rather defeat the purpose of having constructed this system, only to then neglect it in favour of an old or underpowered PC.

I don’t like the idea of having to constantly maintain my Home Assistant Install, but equally I don’t like the idea of the wastefulness of having this fun little system with a poop-ton of storage and effectively doing very little with it, except run a Hass.io install on a tiny little ~300MB partition. That would just seem like a pretty big waste of resources and money.

So that unfortunately perhaps is my ‘usage case’ and is the situation I’m stuck with. Exchanging the Rasbperry PI system for a full blown PC wouldn’t make much sense. Plus I run it in my living room under my large TV (the dedicated screen is attached to my wall near the entrance to my home, so my other family members can have an easy way to control automations, without having to remember the exact verbal syntax I have set up for everything). So having a big PC in my livingroom with probably very large fans would simply not work either.

What kind of “constantly maintaining” do you envision you will need to do?

One of the commentators here suggested that a supervised install would require ‘a lot of work’ and ‘constantly fixing things that were broken’. Not a direct quote, but close enough. But opinions here do seem to vary quite a bit in this regard.

I honestly don’t know what the best option is to make the fullest use of this system possible. But dispensing with the Pi doesn’t seem like one of them.

I’m very confused. I don’t know what a ‘docker’ is, or if it’s even possible or desirable to run a Home Assistant instance inside a virtual machine running on a Pi? Given that the Pi is no speed deamon already, wouldn’t a VM install just slow things down massively?

Are there any current step by step guides that can help me to achieve either end? And which is likely to be the most desirable given my specific set of circumstances? I would like to Run Home Assistant in a way that would still let me do other things with the system, but that wouldn’t force me to compromise on the PI install either, (Like I still want access to Supervisor and a full blooded Home Assistant experience.)

I had switched to a supervisor install due to issues I was having with HAOS. For me it was almost identical to the HAOS install. The only issue I had with supervisor is it seemed that each update of supervisor would cause different issues, i.e. unhealthy, unsupported install etc. Once HAOS was fixed I switch back. As to updates required there are a couple of forums here that tells when an update is needed and with directions on how to do them. Supervisor install was no issue for me to keep current.

Sorry, I just spotted this response. Thanks. I’ll look into it.

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Container

Native Docker, do what you want with the host. No Supervisor though.

If you want Supervisor then it’s time to go HAOS.