Gladys Assistant Is a Privacy-First Smart Home Platform — and Now Installable in Raspberry Pi Imager

Designed for ease of use combined with a privacy-first perspective that keeps data local, Gladys Assistant aims to please.

A Raspberry Pi-powered home assistant aims to bring smart functionality to your home without sacrificing privacy, and in a user-friendly manner that doesn't see the user fiddling around editing config files over an SSH connection: Gladys Assistant.

"Gladys was designed from the beginning to be a consumer software, meaning: No SSH needed, no files to edit, no 'you-need-to-configure-grafana'," claims project founder Pierre-Gilles Leymarie. "Everything happens in a very simple UI that the whole family can use, that's our end goal."

Simplicity may be near the forefront of the Gladys ethos, but it's not the most important principle: Rather, the software — which is fully open-source — is designed around a privacy-first model, in a clear response to proprietary smart home systems that shuttle user data off to remote servers.

Gladys has been around for a few years now, but recently received some major updates including Zigbee2MQTT integration, a new dashboard with a sensor chart front-and-center, Node-RED MQTT integration, and zone presence detection. The biggest change, though: Official recognition from Raspberry Pi itself, which has added the software image to the Raspberry Pi Imager tool — making it easy to flash onto a blank microSD card.

"It works on any Raspberry Pi," Leymarie says of the software, "but depending of what you want to do with Gladys, some older/smaller Pi can struggle a bit. A Pi Zero W will work fine if you just have a few devices that don't publish too much data, but if you want to integrate cameras it'll struggle. A good Raspberry Pi 3B+ or 4 is best for the long run IMO. I also recommend running Gladys on an external SSD to avoid SD card failures."

More information, including instructions for installing and configuring the software, is available on the Gladys Assistant website. The source code, meanwhile, is published to GitHub under the permissive Apache 2.0 license.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
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