Open Source

Are there any open source drivers or control software to communicate with Z-Wave, Insteon, X-10 devices, etc?

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Check out the links from this site:

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Some is info on open source solutions. Some is open platform built on top of a proprietary library.

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Zensys (Z-Wave) charges a hefty fee for their SDK and requires an NDA so it's unlikely you will find open source for it although there are a couple of vendors who do document the protocols for their Z-Wave controllers (but not for the Z-Wave protocol itself).

Insteon doesn't charge much for their SDK but they also have a very restrictive license. The initial license prohibited any discussion of hardware, software, protocol, performance, et al. The current license has softened the restrictions but I'm not sure whether they will allow open source.

You can find tons of open source code, drivers, etc. for X-10. You need to be a little more specific about what you want to do and what hardware you want to use. Then you will probably get numerous pointers to the information you seek.

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Reply to
Dave Houston

Yeah. I thought there was probably some attorney in Southern California who was quite proud of the murky ambiguity of their initial SDK license.

I have noticed a few developers have posted short code snippets to the public Insteon forum. Once I'm ready to release roZetta, I'll ask but not before.

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Reply to
Dave Houston


HomeDaemon - see my home page.

Runs on Unix.

Reply to
Karl Denninger

Zensys can bite me; it is not difficult to figure out the wire protocol for most of the devices and for those where that doesn't work you just pound the shit out of the vendor in public (e.g. Intermatic) and often you can get results (I did with their PIRs)

Vendors, if they want to sell product, can document their shit. I don't care what Zensys thinks - I not only won't pay them for their SDK I'm not buying their shit.

I'm buying devices from vendors and THEY OWN THE SPECIFICATIONS ON THEM; they both can and should document the wire protocol for their equipment.

BTW HomeDaemon's ZWave interface works very well.

Reply to
Karl Denninger

Ah, and with that attitude you're certainly likely to encourage change... not.

Reply to
Bill Kearney

I don't give a f*ck about change in attitudes.

If you know anything about me and my history, you know that what I care about is results.

As I said, its trivially easy to reverse-engineer what I need to know in nearly all cases, and for those where its not, I'm perfectly happy to call people out in public and blast them mercilessly and recommend that people NOT buy their stuff.

Home Automation has been cursed with incompatible and undocumented proprietary crap for twenty years. The reason X10 developed such a following, even though it fundamentally sucks rocks through a hose, is that the protocol is relatively clean and available to anyone who wants to use it.

ZWave has tremendous promise at the underlying technical level, in that it solves 90% of what made X10 suck:

  1. It has two-way communication (e.g. you can POLL devices to see what state they're in)
  2. It confirms command reception at the time of transmission, and tells you if the RF transmission was successful or not. This allows your software to only update the state of a device IF the request reached the target.
  3. It supports (although not all devices implement) notification of local changes (e.g. user pushes a wall switch.) This allows instantaneous knowledge of a local change.
  4. It is considerably faster and X10 and, with sufficient device density, it is also vastly more reliable.

ZWave's biggest flaw is that it cannot "span" significant distances as the transmitter power is simply too low. This means it is useless to, for example, control the lights on a dock as the dock is likely beyond the RF range of the closest other device.

That sucks, but it is what it is.

When the response to someone who is publishing FREEWARE to "pay me", my answer is "f*ck you."

I don't publish Home Automation software for money. If HomeDaemon was a commercial product, or I had any intention of making it a commercial product, then I'd see this differently - the cost of the SDK and data definitions could easily be rolled into the cost of doing business.

But HomeDaemon has been freely accessible, in source, for nearly 10 years. Clearly, my intent is NOT to make a business out of this.

Reply to
Karl Denninger

For x10:

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Reply to
Amadeus W.M.

I'm sure that Home Daemon is an excellent app. I don't run a Unix box so I have no need of it but I'll take your word for it.

That's fine but Zensys is in it for business. They don't offer a freeware SDK or even a cheap one. Giving it away to everyone who wants it won't help their business plan. If they sold it for cheap, they would then have to field tech support calls from hundreds of garage developers. That would add overhead without any gain. If you run a business you must know that adding expense without adding profit is not a good thing.

So, when folks like you or Dave ask for a free SDK, their answer is, "f--- y--." Sound familiar?

Reply to
Robert L Bass

And yet you post with such juvenile anger.

Yeah, that's what you tell yourself.

As opposed to actually engaging in the "trivially easy" process.

And as a result you get what you deserve from them. Nothing.

Reply to
Bill Kearney

Fine with me.

See how their "f*ck you" was effective in preventing me from adding ZWave support?


The amusing part of this is the arrogance of Zensys in thinking that the MANUFACTURERS of devices who speak Zwave have interests aligned with theirs.

Of course they do not; the device manufacturers have an interest in selling devices! Their interests align with mine - that is, to have protocol definitions and support available.

This is simple economics - the more different pieces of software and hardware that can "speak" to their devices, the more devices they will sell. Without other products ability to speak to their devices they are worth far less.

This is the conorundum of so-called "consortia" specifications where some "central body" holds the specs and sells them off for what are often rather insane prices.

The members of the consortium have a decidedly strong reason to ignore that and publish their own interface documents, because by doing so they gain competitive advantage.

As just one example, HomeDaemon now explicitly supports the CA9000 Intermatic PIR. That is, it knows how to manage the device in "battery friendly" mode, including keeping track of the battery power level.

This makes the CA9000 the ONLY PIR-class device that HomeDaemon explicitly supports, because Intermatic disclosed that which I did not obtain via brute-force reverse-engineering (after I went after them verbally.)

The result? Those who wish to run HomeDaemon, use ZWave devices, and want to use a ZWave PIR will buy Intermatic CA9000s in preference to the other brands and models of PIRs that may be on the market, now or in the future.

This gives Intermatic a competitive advantage; that is the "quid pro quo" that they obtain by disclosing their state machine details to the public.

I now have no interest in hammering any of the OTHER PIR manufacturers to obtain the same documentation. In fact, I have a strong interest in REWARDING Intermatic's behavior (their disclosure), and for that reason the only way other PIRs are going to be written into the code with specific programming support is if those manufacturers SEND ME ONE AT NO CHARGE, or if THEY disclose all the programming frames necessary to speak to THEIR devices.

My interest is in seeing Intermatic's behavior replicated; ergo, I act in a fashion that REWARDS Intermatic's actions by supporting their product and STRONGLY RECOMMENDING that people buy it.

It is also why Zensys' position is economically bankrupt, as it is in the best interest of the manufacturers to intentionally undermine their attempt to force people to buy their SDK, and those manufacturers who DO work to undermine Zensys gain competitive market share as a direct result of the actions of people just like me.

Reply to
Karl Denninger

Ever think it is the other way around. I know nothing of this market but many get stuck in the idea the hardware is the money item.

Look at printers. They will give you the printer so they can sell you expensive ink cartridges over and over.

Reply to
John J. Bengii

I seriously doubt they care whether you add Z-Wave support to your app. That doesn't mean I think your program isn't good or that they think so either. The point is that to companies like Zensys small, independent developers like yourself are irrelevent. You don't contribute to their revenue so they don't offer you support of any kind.

The only thing that matters to Zensys is that numerous major manufacturers are developing hardware and software that will use Z-Wave. However, the intersts of Zensys' manufacturer-clients are similar to those of Zensys. They want to make money selling their products. As long as they are paying Zensys for the privelege of doing so, that's alignment enough.

Actually, they mostly don't care about you either. Again, that's not a snipe at you or the quality of your product. It's just the fact that you're a tiny player selling a product that very few of their potential customers are going to buy.

The economics aren't quite that simple. They are interested in relationships with companies that can sell tens of thousands of Z-Wave products. Developers like Zensys spend considerable resources building a support team to work with major buyers. The return on that investment needs to be far more than you can offer. For example, lets say one of their engineers might spend 20 hours assisting Leviton in getting their Z-Wave line up and running. Leviton, in turn, buys licensing to build and sell 250,000 dimmers a year. Perhaps the engineer spends only 2 hours working with you but in return you and your future customers buy 500 dimmers a year. Zensys has a finite number of engineers. Two hours spent with each of 10 developers means they have no time for one Leviton-sized developer. The result is you get nothing from them.

There's a parallel in the electronic security industry. I'm an alarm system dealer spending over $1M a year on alarm parts. An end user spends between $500 and $3000 on alarm parts once every five or ten years. Honeywell (one of our manufacturers) offers me unlimited tech support but they won't even talk to an end user. The reasons are simple enough. They have only just so many engineers and if they spend their time talking to John Q Public they won't have enough staff to talk to people like me. There's another, darker reason as well. Many alarm dealers won't buy from a manufacturer who supports end users. Fortunately, the home automation industry doesn't precisely parallel the alarm trade in that respect.

The what? This is a very simple matter of IP rights. Zensys developed it. It's their property to do with as they please. If they wanted to sell to small companies and freeware developers they'd set their prices accordingly. Clearly, they're not interested. You've found a way to do what you want without their help. That's great, but it means nothing to Zensys.

For companies like Zensys, the fact that some fraction of the small number of people who use Home Daemon might buy a few devices from Intermatic is not significant enough to merit their attention. They're looking for companies whose licensing fees will pay them in the millions -- not a few hundred dollars -- per year.

It gives Intermatic a cometitive advantage among the small fraction of HA users who implement Home Daemon. It's nice they co-operated with you and I'm glad to hear your software works with it. Had I an interest in running a Unix HA server, I'd probably be using your app myself. But like the vast majority of HA users (and dealers) I don't.

Do you think so? They have among their clients most of the largest players in the industry. Here's a partial list:

Cooper Wiring Devices, Danfoss, Intel, Intermatic, Leviton, Monster Cable, Universal Electronics, Wayne Dalton, 4HomeMedia, A-1 Components, Actiontec, Advanced Control Technologies, Aspalis, Betronic, Boca Devices, BuLogics, ControlThink, Crayon Interface, CyberTAN Technology, Digeo, Digital Gardener, Digital Media Research, ELDAT, Electronic Solutions, Embedded Automation, Embedit, Everspring Industry Co., Exceptional Innovation, Goggin Research & Engineering, Hawking Technology, HIGH-DEF Technology, HomeSeer, Horstmann Controls, Hunter Douglas, Hunter Fan Co., ICOM Technology, iControl Networks, Impact Holding, Inlon, Ingersoll Rand, Innovus, Jasco Products, Jet Home Automation, KTC Tech, Lagotek, Lantic Systems, Logitech, Merten, Navicom Technologies, Panasonic, Pelham Sloane, Portable Innovation Technology, Prevas, Reitz, Scientronic, Seluxit, Semilink, SMK Corporation, Superna, Synergy Consult, Techniku, Tell It Online, Tridium, uControl, ViewSonic, Visualize, Westell, Winegard, Xanboo, Z-Wave Tecnologia, Zykronix, Allion Computer, Capitol Sales, CasaWorks, C & S Electronics, DEL Motorized Solutions, DPC Distributors, Draper, Inc., ELK Products, Emergency Power & Automation Specialists, Empower Consultants, Express Controls, Home Director, Prodea Systems, PSI Contact Center, RCS, SmartHome-Products, Twisthink, Vero DUCO, Window Modes

Reply to
Robert L Bass

Oh I certainly understand that Robert.

But let's look at history, shall we?

What is the ONLY HA protocol that has ever managed to get any sort of real following and penetration?

The ONLY one, despite multiple contenders?


The worst of all from a technical perspective.


Because they didn't have their head up their asshole.

That's all.

Crestron, Compose, etc - all very nice, all very proprietary, all niche products with no material market share. Zensys is just another pretender in a long line that includes these, UPB and others.

None have gone anywhere, and a big part of the "why" is attitude.

The "Microsoft" model (we f*ck everybody) simply doesn't work when you're not first and can't build enough of a base to effectively lock everyone else out.

But heh, what works works. I don't give a shit if Zensys likes me or thinks I'm the anti-christ. I write this code because I enjoy it. If others find it useful, that's great. If not, well, I still have my own home and my own uses for it, so there you go.

Reply to
Karl Denninger

Comparing the home automation industry with the alarm *trade* is ludicrous. There *are* no "parallels".

Who with? GE? Elk? ADI? You're "small potatoes" to every one I mentioned. You're not even "on the radar". ADI purchases over $1M, Brinks is a close second (we're on the subject of "alarm parts", not CCTV, commercial fire alarm, or access control just so that we're "clear").

I have end users that don't spend that much in fifteen years. It's really hard to convince someone to upgrade their equipment when they're happy with the original installation and it meets their needs. You do a proper job of selling the job in the first place and you won't ever see them again. :-)

Honeywell is a manufacturer you represent (and you do a piss-poor job at that). It's strange how you're a supposed "Napco" expert, yet you never mention them. In threads involving Ademco equipment (which you *say* you represent), you're strangely silent. Why is that, you suppose?

When's the last time you called them???

Oh no!!! The "darker reason". I just knew there had to be one.

Nope. That's not it. Many manufacturers won't sell to end users. Alarm installation manuals aren't written for them. Many end users are unaware of specific code issues, NEC, or the proper way to wire a panel. End users aren't invited to manufacturer sponsored training seminars. Many manufacturers (or their distributors) won't even sell to unlicensed dealers/stores. How is it you get around that one??

Exactly. So starting off this paragraph with "there's a parallel in the electronic security industry" was completely incorrect.

I fully expect you will not respond to this post. I'm sure Kearney will (on your behalf) though. :-)

Reply to
Frank Olson

Correction: That should read "ADT".

Reply to
Frank Olson

Not having performed the examination, I'll take your word for it.

I disagree. Z-Wave is quite different from Crestron (I don't know much about Compose so no comment) in that it's not *just* a proprietary format. It's available to anyone who wants to pay for the SDK and sign up. As I explained earlier, scores of the top players in the industry have already done so. Zensys' future success depends on companies like Leviton and Intel for whom the SDK price is so trivial it's a non-issue. They have specifically chosen NOT to market to folks like you because they're not interested in your tiny (albeit useful) segment of the market.

They're not trying to lock everyone out -- just you.

I doubt they give it a thought. You're just not their customer. If anyone there who might have been inclined to try to find a way to deal with small operators like yourself happened to read your post, I'm sure they'd say "screw him" and forget about it. End of story.

I'm glad you're doing it. Anything that makes a positive contribution to the overall HA universe is a good thing. I hope some day it becomes popular enough that you decide to turn it into a business. Either way, best of luck.

Reply to
Robert L Bass


Its been out there for 10 years, works very well, and is quite popular.

Why turn it into a business? I have all the contract work I'd like and frankly see little reason to "businessize" this, although it would be trivial to do so.

Reply to
Karl Denninger

As long as you're happy with it, no problem.

Reply to
Robert L Bass Forums website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.