I’ve created this webpage as reference information for my presentation at the 2018 Maker Faire.
MisterHouse is home automation software written in Perl by Bruce Winter starting way back in 1998. It was first released a year later and then in 2000 this article was published:
Home Automation with MisterHouse - The Perl Journal, Spring 2000
I would have discovered MisterHouse shortly afterwards as I have always been interested in home automation especially for lighting control. I even had some X10 devices at the time with some kind of computer interface and so MisterHouse seemed like an amazing way forward.
Those were the days of Pentium processors (PCs) and PowerPCs (Mac) and I would have had an old 386 based laptop kicking around to try it on. I remember that it worked well for me from the first time I tried it and I have used it ever since!
Over the years I ran it on various discarded computers running Windows or Linux, usually on a laptop in the kitchen. It always ran better on Linux and would run for months without needing a restart even on a decrepit old laptop that wasn’t good for anything else.
I never really had much programming experience in Perl but writing the scripts to adapt it to my setup was easy by following the numerous examples provided by the very active community.
When the T.I. BeagleBone came out at the end of 2011 I knew this would be the perfect platform for MisterHouse. Since the primary user interface is via a web browser to the built-in web server it meant I could hide the computer behind the love seat in the family room instead of sitting on the counter in the kitchen. A much better solution!
The BeagleBone was a little underpowered for the job but it worked ok. When the Raspberry Pi came out I switched to that and it has run flawlessly ever since.
Since switching to the Raspberry Pi I have updated MisterHouse several times to take advantage of Insteon devices and then UPB as X10 has pretty much disappeared.
MisterHouse is still being developed and in fact Version 5 was released 6 months ago (October 31, 2017). Here is the GitHub repository:
I can’t think of any other open source application software that I have ever used that has lasted for more that 20 years!