I add one thing to the subject right away. Of course they are "any good". It depends what you are looking for. I'm basically looking for 2 things:
1. I want a system where a linux(MCE) is the master. It receives notifications from sensors and delivers commands as I have instructed it to do.
2. It must be secure. If I will at some point make it so, that my front door will open when it receives a signal from the master computer I want to be 100% sure nobody other than that master computer can give it that sort of commands.
Now could you guys help me a bit at choosing the right one(s?)?
Correct me if I'm wrong, but as I understand z-wave and x10 are reasonably(?) well supported under LinuxMCE. It's just that x11 is ancient and I hear a lot of criticism about it so I'd rather not go to that direction. Then what it comes to z-wave, I must say I wonder how it has as good support, as it does, on the linux community? It is proprietary protocol and I could not lay my hands on the specification by googling. In any case I also learned that z-wave has removed support for encryption in the newer version of it's protocol so I doubt I'll be getting that sort of system into my home. Or am I misguided here?
As a result I became an immediate supporter of the ZigBee protocol. Unfortunately LinuxMCE doesn't seem to suport it all and I couldn't find any indication that they'd intend to do that. In fact the minus side of the seemingly good protocol began to unveil them selves to me. For some reason not all ZigBee products interoperate together correctly (This information is based on conversations found from some forums, so it might be far from the truth.). Perhaps that is due to incomplete, incomprehensible, too complex and/or too big specification. 4 years ago started project ZigBuzz: "The ZigBuzz project is an open source effort to create a ZigBee™ stack for Linux.", not that it matters, but I might add that in C language. Perhaps due to the above mentioned reasons, regardless of their cool logo and nice website, the project is still on design phase. Someone somewhere stated that he had managed to make something happen with ZigBee and I watched a clip on youtube where someone did something with some plastic boxes (presumably ZigBee stuff) and some text printed on he's linux computers terminal. Amazing!
Then I dug some info about INSTEON.. though propietary as z-wave I was easily able to lay my hands on the developer's guide and detailed info about the packages and such. I got the impression that encoding is possible, but I guess it's not used anywhere.. though that's just a guess. Anyways I quickly learned that INSTEON is not available in Europe though they announced way over a year ago that they'll soon enter the European market as well... I wonder how many birthdays that announcement will see before it actuates.
What else do we have..? EIB/KNX? Hmm.. someone merchandised it as being open protocol.. well 1000€ for a copy of a specification. As a result it isn't open for me, but for some I suppose.. I suppose mainly for people how intend to make a bit of money with it. That usually excludes big part of the OSS community. And the spec is huge (not that I'd have seen it, but that's the impression I've got from various forums etc.) so it might not be the most easiest to understand and implement.. then again if it works with LinuxMCE... maybe that would be a good choice. As an additional note I could not find anything about encryption and KNX, then again if you make a wired installation (as usual with KNX I understand) it might not be necessary..
One more.. LonWorks. It seems like an ok choice. Though it seems to be marketed more for the industrial purposes and had hard time finding any good resources on how to control such a system with a linux computer. There was something but not much. Anybody has any thoughts on that?
Actually I think I've missed one or two of choices here, but I do not have the energy to write any longer message.