If you feel your system works well. Then use it.
With that said, I think what we have is significantly superior to anything else out there....but I am one of the developers, I am rather biased.
It comes down to a simple realization: building a home automation system on top of a permissive distributed messaging system produces a system in which the barrier to entry to do large scale integration is lowered significantly.
LinuxMCE (and its parent Pluto stack), is made up of many different device software, each talking to each other, sending commands, events, and data between each other, and the side effect is...we get a smart home system.
While LinuxMCE does wrap a number of pieces of software, such as Xine and Asterisk, the amount of code in the wrapped software is dwarfed in comparison to the software which wraps these components. The amount of logic in the wrapper code is nothing short of staggering, and the overall system understands its topology.
Okay, so what's the effect?
I have LinuxMCE controlling all my AV gear, my TV, my Amplifier, my VCR, radio, etc... all via different methods.. my amp talks RS-232...my TV and other AV gear talk IR (which I have connected via an USB UIRT IR blaster), all of these devices had their own remotes, which I programmed into the system their codes that they emitted by training them to the ir blaster....
now? all my remotes are put up in the kitchen junk drawer
As I am a developer, I have one of each type of remote that can be used:
* Nokia 770
* Fiire Chief gyro remote
* Windows MCE remote
* Tablet PC
* The touch screen on a Cisco 7970 IP phone
* A Windows CE PDA
* A Nokia N70 Symbian based phone
Unlike the remotes I had put in the kitchen drawer, each of these remotes can control anything in my house, the TV, the lights, climate control, security system, etc.. and they all stay in sync.
Furthermore, if I am watching cable TV, the button presses on an orbiter, go to the right place. I do not have to switch modes myself, I do not have to pick up another remote, the software does the right thing.
Magic? no. This is a direct consequence of passing messages.
The same with media. We have the ability to distribute media across any number of PCs in the network, connected as set-top boxes to your TVs. Using a floorplan you upload, you can instantly bounce media from room to room, and between multiple rooms.....
And lighting? you don't have to wholeheartedly commit to a particular lighting system. If you have interfaces for X-10, and Z-Wave and Insteon...you can use them all together, and it doesn't matter what interface a particular light or sensor is hanging off on from the user's perspective..they select it from the floorplan, and the core translates the message to the appropriate protocol for each interface. It doesn't matter whether the lighting interface is connected on the core, or one of the media directors, it just works.
why? passing messages.
And since we do have a rich set of event triggers ranging from everything from sunrise/sunset, to presence detection, and reacting to sensor input, we can have any event emit a series of commands to any set of devices under LinuxMCE's control. I use this to turn on the weather channel in the morning as my alarm clock...which also turns up my lights to 30% (due to the showtime event)... I also use it to turn on the lights when i approach the house, it detects my cell phone as an event, and can thereby trigger to it. My cell phone and Fiire remote also trigger follow-me events, so that when I leave a room, and go to another one, my TV follows me.
With that said, I do use Z-Wave at the moment. I do not have X-10 devices.. but there are many on here who do, and have a substantial investment in X-10 devices....and basically, they're just another node in the system...a very complete set of the protocol specification is supported...we use the CM11A as the standard interface, sending messages directly from the core to the X-10 interface... and for those things that you can't do with X-10...guess what? you can jump to Insteon as a solid upgrade path.. or Z-Wave... or use a series of GC-100's connecting contacts and sensors! mix and match... to get what you need...
So you ask, why fix it if it's not broken? ... It isn't fixing it, if you're improving it. :-)
And I'm sure, the geek in you, would appreciate the flexibility (minus a few very specific and currently immutable requirements) that only this system can provide.
Last year I took the plunge and dumped Windoze in favour of Ubuntu, I've been using it ever since for both work and play and am very happy with it. I've also been a long time user of 'the other' MCE and currently have a unit set up as our main media controller in the lounge. I'm very keen to get a Linux MCE installation up and running to replace it but would like to hear from other users who also use it for X10 home automation as I've not found a lot of info on it.
Our current setup basically consists of
An MCE unit that stores all the music / photos and has TV tuner cards in the lounge
A separate PC running as the home automation server (HAS)
Various network storage drives.
The HAS has a touch-screen mounted in the hallway and provides the main interface for the home automation. it also has 2 cameras connected to it. In addition I have installed mControl as the main HAS software - this is pretty feature packed and is also accessible as a menu item on the MCE unit. At the moment we have X10 controlling lighting, irrigation and some other stuff.
The system has been in use without any problems for the past 2-3 years everything works and it rarely needs 'fixing'
So why fix it if it isn't broken?
Guess that's the geek in me
I'd like to hear from others experiences with X10 equipment and also camera integration; what events can be used to trigger X10 devices? Can events / X10 signals also be used to trigger things in the LMCE core - ie can a motion sensor be programmed to switch the display to a camera? does the camera integration include motion detection?
Also, does LMCE actually control the X10 devices or does it upload the program to the CM19a memory so that the CM19 unit runs programmed events?
With thanks in advance.