Has anyone heard from Gene

Now that Homegenie v1.1.15 has been released I was curious to know if anyone has heard from Gene to get his views on what is happening to his original project.

I’m still amazed that he decided to halt development of this project and thought he might start development once again now that others are actively involved. I do understand that he stated Homegenie was a finished product (which I do not agree with) and he had no interest in developing it any further.

Personally I feel a little uncomfortable referring to v1.1.15 as Homegenie even though I accept that the source code is open source. Also I’m not even sure he has given his blessing for this to happen.

Maybe the aim here should be to move away from the name Homegenie and using similar concepts, start from the bottom up using a completely different name.

I’d be interested to hear from other users on this subject. Maybe even from Gene if he is in a position to reply.

Do you need someone’s blessing to make a fork of open source? Gene hasn’t answered anything for several months, maybe even year. If we have to wait for his blessing to do anything we can just abandon everything.
What is happening now is that a few people think HG is to good to be abandoned and forgotten. And I am very happy that those people do this and take the time to understand the code and make it better. I really don’t care about what Gene thinks about this.
Everybody would be happy if he had continued with HG. But he didn’t.

He made it open source, and also put a lot of work into HG and we all appreciate it. Appreciate it so much that we move HG forward and won’t let it die. If anything Gene should be happy that his project is moving forward without him. You can’t make a better open source project than that. That live after you don’t have time to take care of it.

I also hope that I can contribute with code to HG in the future.

Well, our fork is not ready for production use now, as we refactor sources and break everything that could be broken.
I thought about changing the name of the project, but a more suitable point to do this would be when we will break backward compatibility with existing interfaces/gateways/widgets. :wink:

Gene has done a giant amount of work but some technical decisions made supporting the project very hard and uncomfortable. Hopefully after refactoring some of these technical issues will be eliminated and this will help us to involve new developers.

PS. Also, I have a dream to completely rewrite web UI from jQuery Mobile to something more modern (like Angular, React or Vue) but this is a shit-ton of work. Maybe during this, we will change the project name.

Thanks Bounz.

I figured that backward compatability will break at some stage anyway. HG is beginning to look it’s age now so as you say a rewrite will be an ideal time for a name change. The HG concept is great and should transfer nicely into newer designs.

I’m not sure if contributors from the old forum have either abandoned HG or just haven’t bothered to reregister here. Either way if you come up with a user friendly solution I have no doubt some may well return.

These new efforts should benefit from group input too both from a design and testing perspective and help avoid the mistake of leaving one person to decide the fate of a project.

While many users of HG benefited from Genes efforts many too were disappointed at his decision to halt development and abandon his user base in the form closing down the HomeGenie Forum. I really do wish you all the best with your endeavours.

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From a user’s perspective, my first impression of HomeGenie was one of a professional product. Homegenie.it is easy to navigate. A first time visitor can download a copy for their hardware and have it running in minutes. The few you tube videos that I have found are also well done. I secretly suspect that like in the movie Sim0ne, Gene is throwing his voice via AI. From what I can gather Gene has a broad and well honed skill set for software product development. I am adverse to speculation, but I don’t think Gene left HomeGenie. Something in his life, more than a paycheck is demanding his attention. I hope he will find the best outcome. Moreover, I am sure he would be welcomed back in any capacity.

For me to be fully plugged into the world of technology is beyond my reach. So, to get my head around the current situation, I need to layout a sketch of the landscape. Microsoft, for example has sold Windows as a bundled product with manufacture’s hardware. This is a mixed blessing. On one hand, Microsoft receives a large, but discounted volume of cash from manufactures. This also entangles consumers to stay in the Microsoft ecosystem. The other side of the story is that consumers don’t expect to pay for Windows, but support comes back to Microsoft. Last Fall, with a major revision, a commentator stated that this update marked the transition of Windows as software to a service. I don’t fully understand. I expect it means that there will be more embedded advertising and possibly an annual user fee, like Office 365. Every time Microsoft pushes out an update, I am reminded that our house has too many PC’s. Moreover, Microsoft has a huge amount of resources devoted to rollout updates. All with a cost. As a footnote, Microsoft developed, what they called HomeOS in 2010. Although there appears to be a team still actively working on the project. No plans are in place to make the product commercial. Window Home Server reached end-of-life in 2016. “Better late than never” Microsoft has introduced Cortana as an appliance. To be sure Microsoft is motivated by profits. Sometimes, short sided.

My point is that HomeGenie needs some sort of revenue stream. There are different models out there. Samsung Smart Hub includes their software. X-10 just released a WIFI hub that includes interface software. In these cases revenue is generated with the hardware sales. Amazon and Google are using the promise of customer entanglement to support the generation of revenue from advertising and indirect product sales. Donations have been used to support Open Source software. Wikipedia lists 16 models https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_models_for_open-source_software There are many articles on how Open Source makes money. Beyond Glabs, I do not what Gene had planned to support his products. Regardless if a product is proprietary or Open Source, a laser focus on what the product is going to do is needed for sustainability.

What is it that I like about HomeGenie? Short answer, it works. Unlike other home automation packages, where add-ins are a separate package, such as Heyu or Mochad, HomeGenie feels like the add-ins are an integral part. I also like the Android version. It is a huge leap forward for me. One consideration on any home automation package is the time invested to go through a learning curve. So, far I have found HomeGenie to be the least painful. Functionality, ease of use, relevance, and stability are all important to attract users.

Functionality is definitely a moving target. Amazon is selling a 6 pack of Sonoff appliance modules for $US 39. About what one X10 module costs or 20% less than a z wave module. A game changer. I will just leap frog over zwave for common lighting. Using a simple on/off module to control appliance is about as good as it gets for X10. I will not use X-10 to control live appliances like a coffeemaker or toaster. There are no safeguards in place. In that respect, X-10 and zwave are legacy products that will need to have support for a while. More appliances are getting WIFI control. WIFI accessible thermostats are becoming the norm. I see HomeGenie as capable of supporting new technologies as well as the legacy ones, we just need to grow the catalog of devices.

Ease of use – I probably will not get around to implementing the IR feature in HomeGenie. Where is the @#$! Remote will become a Shakespearian phrase in the not too distant future. Even technology minded people do not want make mundane tasks a hassle. Smartphones have certainly changed the ease-of-use dynamic. HomeGenie not having an Apple app is probably one of the biggest gaps that needs to be filled. I am not a fan, but Apple will be around for a while. Not sure what kind of discussion there was on the old forum or what road blocks Gene was confronted with for an Apple app. Like I stated earlier, I really like the Android version. I have yet to master the touch with my fat fingers and I am not convinced the problem is personal. Although I have used some of the other home automation packages (OpenHab, HAAS, Domoticz), HomeGenie ease-of-use is as good or better than any of the others.

Relevance – almost like functionality, but not. Recently one of the lead moderators on the X-10 community forum purchased a Raspberry Pi to as he stated see what the options are. Well, HomeGenie got a lot of attention, not all good. He was coached by a couple of the better members ( who I think are here too), and me. He gave up on Homegenie and moved on to Domoticz. Not any better. One of the members even offered to send him a SD Card ready to run. I don’t know if he tried some of the others like OpenHab. It appears he has a fair amount of home automation kit and is tech savvy. He also mentioned that he has many voice control devices. My key learning here is relevance. One site is selling a 6 pack of Google Home Minis for $US 249. One for every room. I have been thinking about setting up a Raspberry Pi with Alexa and/or Google Assistant. OK. Go to you tube and search. WOW. I viewed 6 or so videos and each time more came up on the side bar. I would never get to the end of the internet this way. Yes, HomeGenie has voice control that works. Alexa and Google need to be easily incorporated into HomeGenie. The relevance here is that HomeGenie and Raspberry Pi was a hot topic since last December. Authinx just released the WM100 WIFI module for X-10. Now the chatter is how to connect Alexa to the WM100. The community moved on. I am thinking maybe one way to keep HomeGenie in the forefront is to attract people involved with home automation professionally. Like engineers at Sonoff, X-10, or companies using zwave.

Stability – really not much to say here. The postings on HomeGenie.club are clear evidence that a plan to build in continuity and support HomeGenie is forming. Just so, it does not laugh at you during the night(Alexa). I am still stuck on r526. But will get it. My hope is that versionitus does not set in. Uninstalling or updating supporting packages to get HomeGenie running will not present a stable package.

Microsoft will need to sell the Cortana appliance at $US15 to make a presence in voice control. Amazon and Google are going head to head and will dominate voice control. One key is being connected to Alexa and Google. Some people will consider whether to cloud or not to cloud. I think that there is room for home automation packages to coexist. Getting face time is just as important. Jason Baker runs a list of open source home automation tools. https://opensource.com/life/17/12/home-automation-tools I was sad that HomeGenie was dropped from his list this year. Technical discussions need to take place, but also there needs to be a place to talk about presence and relevance in home automation with HomeGenie.

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