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20 March 2016

HOWTO: Easily install openHAB on a Raspberry Pi

by Steven B. Combs, Ph.D.

This post shares the process I use to install openHAB, the “vendor and technology agnostic open source automation software for your home,” on a Raspberry Pi 2. While I use the Raspberry Pi 2, this process should work on any variant. After scouring the web, I found multiple tutorials, but none worked for me exclusively. After much experimentation, my process became an amalgam of several online resources.

My tutorial assumes you have a working Raspberry Pi running the Raspian Operating System with Internet connectivity. I connect to the Raspberry Pi remotely using SSH on my Mac, but you can use the Terminal to follow these steps directly on the Raspberry Pi.

Verify Java Version

openHAB makes extensive use of Java and version 1.6 or higher is required. The first step is to ensure our Raspberry Pi includes a recent version of Java.

java -version

The Raspberry Pi will present the version of Java installed as shown below.

java version "1.8.0_65"
Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.8.0_65-b17)
Java HotSpot(TM) Client VM (build 25.65-b01, mixed mode)

In my case, I have an install version of 1.8.0_65. I’m good to go. If your version does not meet the requirement, use the following commands in the terminal:

sudo apt-get update

This will update your Raspbian (Debian) packages. Type the following:

sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

After a bit of time, the Raspian OS will update; including Java.

Add the openHAB repositories

We can install openHAB from a download, but being able to install from the apt-get package manager makes the install easier and allows easy updates. Before we can use apt-get we will add the openHAB repositories to Raspian.

First we download the repository key:

wget -qO - '' | sudo apt-key add -

We now add the repository to our apt sources list:

echo "deb stable main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/openhab.list

With the new repository in our list, we update our list of available applications:

sudo apt-get update

No errors should display and we are now ready to install openHAB from the repository.

Install openHAB

The command below will install openHAB on the Raspberry Pi.

sudo apt-get install openhab-runtime

Start the openHAB server

If all went according to plan, we can now run the openHAB server:

sudo /etc/init.d/openhab start

The Raspberry Pi will display the following to verify server operation:

[ ok ] Starting openhab (via systemctl): openhab.service.

openHAB Status

Check the status of the openHAB installation with the command below:

sudo /etc/init.d/openhab status

Stop the openHAB server

Use the command below to stop the server:

sudo /etc/init.d/openhab stop

The Raspberry Pi will display the following to verify the server has stopped:

[ ok ] Stopping openhab (via systemctl): openhab.service.

Just the start…

The install is just the start of my openHAB journey. As I learn to control my home with openHAB and the Raspberry Pi, I will continue to add additional instructions. For now, if this install process works for you, please drop a comment below and let me know. I’m looking forward to my openHAB experiments.

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