The issue of whether proprietary software is a necessary evil crops up on a frequent basis. Supporters of proprietary software contend that there will always be an unwillingness in the open source community to write detail-laden code designed for certain niche markets. For example, a dental practice will certainly have a need for specialist software, and code developed for that practice may be difficult, or impossible, to adapt for other fields. Proprietary software advocates argue that open source developers would be unwilling to design a customized system for a particular dentist’s practice. Whilst there may be circumstances where proprietary software is more attractive, it ultimately causes more problems than it solves. This also applies to proprietary protocols.
Many home automation systems use proprietary networking protocols. The protocols used will be specific to the company that developed the system. The software company may favor such an approach as it ties the customer to their products only. However, this can only be detriment to the user of the home automation system. It is therefore important to evaluate a home automation system to ensure that it is built on open protocols.
X10 is an open standard for controlling home electrical equipment remotely. It works across home power lines and is extremely low-bandwidth. This communications protocol can control lights, appliances, and other electrical devices, and be used to implement a custom security system. This protocol has the virtue that it is simple to set up, flexible, yet at the same time can create a very sophisticated home control system at a low cost. By using X10 components you can control one company’s modules using a different company’s controller.
The purpose of this article is to identify useful open source home automation control software that uses the open X10 protocol. Here’s our open source recommendations.
Let’s explore the 5 X10 home automation software at hand. For each title we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, a screenshot of the software in action (where applicable – some of the applications are command-line), together with links to relevant resources.
|X10 Home Automation Software|
|HEYU||Highly configurable console based backend|
|Minerva||Complete, easy to use, open source home automation suite|
|MisterHouse||Supports X10, voice recognition and several serial devices|
|BottleRocket||Utility to control X10 Firecracker devices for home automation|
|BlueLava||CGI interface for x10|
Read our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. The collection covers all categories of software.
The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There's tons of in-depth reviews, open source alternatives to proprietary software from large corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, Corel, and Autodesk. There are also fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.