Home Assistant Is Now an Open Home Foundation Project — As Its Creators Cast a Wider Net

Acting as a parent organization for Home Assistant and over 240 other projects, the Open Home Foundation sets its sights high.

The creators of Home Assistant have announced an effort to break away from being behind an enthusiast-centric platform for home automation and into delivering a rallying point for privacy, choice, and sustainability in the smart home market — through the launch of the Open Home Foundation.

"We created the Open Home Foundation to fight for the fundamental principles of privacy, choice, and sustainability for smart homes. And every person who lives in one. Our aim is to have the resources to be an active political advocate," the Open Home Foundation board, made up of Paulus Schoutsen, Guy Sie, Pascal Vizeli, and J. Nick Koston, writes of its formation. "Serving to educate the public, public servants, and the companies making smart home devices and services, about the importance of open standards, open source projects, and privacy, choice, and sustainability when it comes to the future of smart homes."

Home Assistant's creators are branching out, forming the Open Home Foundation to promote privacy, choice, and sustainability in the smart home market. (📹: Open Home Foundation)

Home Assistant started a little over a decade ago with Schoutsen's desire to control a smart lighting system from Python without having to involve any proprietary platforms. It has since grown into one of the most popular platforms for open home automation around — but the road hasn't always been smooth. The growth of proprietary platforms and developers including Schoutsen beginning to feel the pressure of burn-out led to the formation of for-profit Nabu Casa in 2018, both to provide funding and stability for the project and to invest in others including now-Nabu Casa-owned ESPHome.

"Early on, some people questioned whether starting a for-profit company was an altruistic move," the board admits. "But over the following years, Nabu Casa established a clear and accountable track record. This included practicing what it preached: speaking up to protect open source ideals when other developers came under threat; directing full-time employees to devote their days to open source, community-driven, smart home projects; and joining organizations like the Connectivity Standards Alliance and Z-Wave Alliance, and the general fight for critical open standards like Zigbee, Z-Wave, and Matter."

Now, the team wants to do the same for the wider smart home sector with the Open Home Foundation. Designed to promote and support Schoutsen's vision of an open home and now the official parent of the Home Assistant platform, the Open Home Foundation will not only serve as a central umbrella organization for Home Assistant and over 240 related projects including Zigpy, Piper, and ESPhome, but will also participate in lobbying and other activities to promote privacy, choice, and sustainability.

"We see this as a living project," the board writes, "in fitting with the mosaic threads of DNA that represent our past. We've always stood for open source, creativity, and taking initiative. And we have no doubt that this organization will evolve over the years. We will remain true to our principles of privacy, choice, and sustainability for the smart home. And always open to finding the best way to achieve our goals."

More information is available on the Open Home Foundation website; the organization has indicated interest in partnering with "other organizations with a proven track record and a willingness to commit their resources."

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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