Why are things so difficult?

Hello,

I am new to Home Assistant. I like all of its features and the possibilities seems endless. However, I dont understand why this is such a walled garden?? I ran into several network issues (still not resolved) and it is an extreme pain in the @ss to get those resolved because I have to bend over backwards in order to access the underlying operating system settings. In fact I got so frustrated with it that I gave up and just installed Raspberry OS and then installed Home Assistant on it (a method for which the documentation is a lot harder to find by the way) This immediately solved all my network issues and gave me back total control over the hardware again. Unfortunately it also meant I lost functionality in HA, like the supervisor stuff for instance.

So… why is it made so difficult? What is the idea behind this?

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If you want to have Raspberry OS and Supervisor, follow this guide :

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Thanks. I will try that.

This is however, another fine example. Difficult.

Please keep in mind that currently this installation method is not officially supported by the Home Assistant team, and therefore you are responsible for updating and managing updates and security on the base OS, no official support will be offered. This install method may cease to work at any time, so use at your own risk.

it does have a bit of a steep learning curve. It is however getting easier and better. a year ago was much more difficult to get started. Once you learn the basics its much more user friendly.

Im in over a year, and still learning new stuff almost every time I play with my setup (daily.)

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I have been a Node-Red user for several years now, even developed and extended a few custom nodes there. Node-Red feels a lot more open and more accessible but unfortunately its dashboard functionality is too limited ( and too slow) so I went looking at HA. Again, because I already tried last year and then almost immediately gave up.

Anyways, I can so relate to Paul Hibbert’s findings in his 'Home assitant!, Home Assitant! Home Assiatant video, https://youtu.be/WGiFUpiYjEE?t=10 :grinning:

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I understand that some of HA’s quirks can be frustrating, but I do have 2 issues with what you said:

  1. HA is about as far from a walled garden approach as anyone can possibly get…it is an ecosystem that pretty much allows you to connect everything to everything.

  2. You said you had network issues…does that mean that your home network is more complex than “just DHCP everything from your ISP’s router”? If so, it means you took the time to configure your network, so I don’t see why spending some time to make HA compatible with it would be much worse than configuring a router or a Linux server.

Ultimately, though, Paul Hibbert is right: if you treat this like a fun hobby (gardening always comes to mind as a comparison), it’s for you. If you expect it to work like Philips Hue, but for a varied ecosystem of hardware that you’ve accumulated in your house, it is not. What is amazing about HA is that once configured, it will actually work great with that varied hardware :slight_smile:

edit: I would also like to add that time spent with HA (and self-hosting in general) is actually a pretty good investment in yourself, making you more familiar with a ton of concepts that are highly sought after in the workplace today. When Postman was introduced at work, I was the only one that knew how to use it already because HA had needed a Plex API key :slight_smile:

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It is by all means a walled garden. Home assistant (HassIO? HassOS? HassBian?) is a stand alone OS that is designed to keep users out. I understand this makes it a controllable ecosystem that limits possible user created problems. But at the same time it is patronising towards more experienced users because there is no (supported) alternative.

Indeed, I have a more complex setup at home. But even so, it is designed to work similar to a setup with a router that does it all. The 40+ other devices (including Ubuntu servers, VM’s several Raspberry and Orange Pi’s, Mac books and Windows machines) are proof that it doesn’t have to be difficult. Heck, I just formatted the HassIO/OS/bian sd-card and replaced the content with Raspberry OS. And immediately network worked fine.

I am by the way, by no means a clueless hobbyist. I am a Java developer by trade and perform quite a lot of technical setups and maintenance on a number of (ubuntu based) VM’s at work. What strikes me is, however, that it seems that knowledge is working against me. Surely you must agree with me that the network problems I had are strange at best, and that fixing them should not be so difficult. I mean, having to first install an add-on in order to be able to SSH into the system is not a feature, it is a restriction. Only to find out that the add-on still doesn’t allow me full acces. This add on by the way refused to work initially because it found my password in the have-i-been-powned-database ! It didnt ask me if I wanted my password checked against that, nor did it mention that it refused to work because of it, it just said ‘bad gateway’
That is also not what I call a feature.

I have been messing around with HA for the last couple of weeks. During that time I have seen a very unstable Ikea Tradfri component which requires me to restart HA several times a day, and I have seen entities suddenly disappear for no clear reason. And that is just a few things.

I am more then willing to play around with a system in order to get it to work the way it is supposed to. It is just that I feel that HA despite its many many possibilities is also at the same time making it difficult and restrictive.
And I was wondering why this path was chosen.

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Probably the best way to go it’s with the pre-built VM images. It is the most effortless, easiest to maintain, backup and restore.

I found myself having issues with the format “Hassio” install on RPi3. It’s always picky and for many it doesn’t start and gets stuck somewhere along the way for random things like network issues or it gets picky about microSD cards. Also a reinstallation is inevitable once the microSD fails.

The fact that RPi3 is underpowered doesn’t help, I have found myself in situations where it will freeze or slow down after an update or when I added something new, it will be so bad that you won’t even be able to boot up (or it is horribly slow to do anything) so you’ll find yourself doing a fresh install again and restoring an older snapshot.

Docker installation is missing the supervisor and other goodies. It is a charm for people who are already used to docker and they self-host everything. But if you are coming from a version with the “Supervisor” and all the goodies, you’ll feel lazy to move to a non-supervised version of HA and get all the docker containers you had as “Add-ons” in “Hassio” (or whatever it is) from scratch.

Yes, this is true. But you aren’t the target user for Home Assistant OS. This is for people who know half as much as you do. These people do not understand what SSH is, let alone any linux commands.

You’re the type of user who should be using home assistant core or home assistant supervised. Both, are very easy to install, just a few lines of cli.

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I’m curious as to what networking issues you had?
I recently set up a RPi3B+ to repave a VirtualBox setup and it worked very easily. I had moved to a VM a year back after finding the RPi slow, but recent updates have dramatically changed that. As long as you’re not installing a bazillion add ons or keeping months of history it seems to work pretty well.
Anyways you made the post and mentioned network issues, would be great to be able to help you solve them. :slight_smile:

Looking through his post history, it seems to be related to HA connecting to a network via wifi. I would have helped but it’s a route very few have gone through, including me. Most people hard wire HA for the fastest network connections.

@grv NetworkManager could see my wireless network just fine when I asked it to show the available networks. But it refused to connect saying that it couldn’t find it. (oh the irony).
I didnt investigate further, I had spent way to long debugging it already.

@petro Ah, don’t get me wrong. I will also end up using the pi with a physical lan cable. Put purely because I will have those available once the cabling is up and not because I think WIFI is not fast or stable enough for something like HA

Physical lan connection points are not available all throughout my house, so for now I am bound to use WIFI.

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Yes, I understand. I think you’ve just had a bad break mainly because you’re on a path less traveled with HomeAssistant OS. Personally, I use Home Assistant Supervised. It’s the best of both worlds. I have debian as my OS and have access to all the add-ons.

If you want full control over the addons, you may want to try dockerized HA (Home Assistant Container). Then you can just go to the add-on pages, copy the docker files and modify them to your liking. Or you can just install HA with a venv (HomeAssistant Core), but you have to manage everything on the main os. Check out the discord channel for help with any of the installs.

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Yeah, Home Assistant Supervised really is the way to go for people who want the simplicity of the addons but also full access to the host OS.

As for Tradfri, I have many devices from them but never used their gateway, mainly because a lot of people were complaining about its stability even without getting HA involved. Tradfri devices+Conbee+Deconz are rock solid and very easy to set up.

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Thanks. I have indeed chosen for Home Assistant Supervised. I will also see if I can move away form the ikea hub. Thanks again.

Yeah I use node-red extensively as well. almost all of my HA automations are in NR now.Together they blend great.

as i sit here in a household with apple devices, nest devices, and google home, none of which let me access things outside their ecosystems without either 1000 hacks or private API access, i think you and i have very different definitions of “walled garden”

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i’ve tried ‘all’ the different HA configurations and found that using my pi4 with their raspbian lite os + HA unsupported supervised install to be the most flexible and stable way to use HA. (i did not install networkmanager and install gives warnings during install that its missing, but find the default networking with raspbian lite work fine for wifi, ethernet, and usb tethering)

if i didnt have the pi, i would probably feel comfy doing a debian lite + HA supervised install

lol, if you can relate to Paul Hibbert then there is no hope for you

have a look at this post to see what the methods are and what each offer

Then look at the community supported ones
https://community.home-assistant.io/c/community-guides/51

if you cant find one there to your requirements. then my first statement stands.

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