Book review: Smart Home Automation with Linux

Last few days, I was looking for tools for building automation (I’m investigating the technology I may be using in my future home), so I borrowed this book. It seemed to be on a par with my ideal of home automation: Linux as a ground basis for steering the automation. Let’s see if it kept its promises.

Content and opinions

The book starts with two protocols that can be used, X10 and C-Bus. X10 uses the power lines to communicate between elements, and C-Bus uses a proprietary protocol on a specific bus that must be installed by a specific company. It can also use a wireless protocol. Both seem to be widely available in America, but in Europe, it’s different. The chapter presents a lot of appliances, but I don’t know f they are available on Europe power lines for X10 or even if they are sold in Europe (for both of them). It’s too bad the author didn’t choose a better support (like a real ISO and open standard like KNX). X10 is somewhat limited like C-Bus is although in a different way.

The second chapter is about different hardwares that can be used. The first is the well-known NSLU2, then are other gaming consoles. It seems that safe for the high end consoles, every other hardware is either discontinued or difficult to hack (there are a lot of hacking to do according to the book). For instance Arduino needs some soldering. What about hardware like the Sheeva plug ?

The next chapter explains how media data can be stored and accessed. It’s more or less a sum up of what can be found on the Internet. In fact, the rest of the book is material like this. A real big sum up of what can be found on media use on the Internet, and a lot of shell code to make it work.


It’s not that the book is of no use. If you have X10 appliances or C-Bus ones, if you need a big tutorial on media control, this book might be for you. If you want to do home automation, I’m afraid only the first chapter deals with what home automation is mainly about: light and heating control.

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