System choices for Home Automation

I’m studying the hardware and software for my Home Automation project, namely for the server and clients of the SCADA system. I won’t use Windows for these systems, because I need something that I can trust (and immune to viruses/trojans/attacks), and in the end it gets expensive. MacOS X and Linux comply (better at least) with that, and it’s relatively easy to find good, cheaper systems they run on.

But I’m studying how I can include Amiga-based systems on my project. The reasons for choosing an alternative system are simple:

* Lower power consumption, good for the environment.
* Supports smaller, innovative companies, good for the economy.
* Really small, efficient and fast operating systems.
* Secure (different from mainstream OSs, unexploited).
* Virus immune.
* Usually cheaper than a Windows system (the OS is payed separately, and usually needs better, more expensive hardware to perform well).

I won’t deny that the Amiga had a big impact on my life, during my childhood… a lot of what I know now was learned on an Amiga, and the Amiga community surely influenced many of my (good) choices in life. Including it’s spirit in my project can only bring good things!

As of now, my options boil down to this:

AmigaOS 4
Expensive system (~700€).
Dedicated hardware (ACube’s SAM440ep motherboard).
Hardware available commercially today.
Good performance.
Low power consumption.
Good operating system support of the hardware.
No JAVA.
Has SDL.
Good future perspective.
Developer: Hyperion.

MorphOS
Reasonable system cost (~300€).
Dedicated hardware (Genesi stuff), with support for some obsolete PowerPC G4 Macs (MacMini).
Hardware not really available, as of now only runs on obsolete systems (Efika/Pegasos/Radeon). Will certainly support the new Genesi Smarttop and Smartbook.
Good performance.
Low power consumption.
Good operating system support of the hardware (on the Efika/Pegasos at least).
No JAVA.
Has SDL.
Good future perspective.
Developer: the MorphOS team.

AROS (Icaros Desktop)
Cheaper system (iMica: ~250€).
Generic hardware.
Hardware available, but limited operating system support of the hardware (targets old x86 hardware), although the iMica is available, and can be used to give value to old computers with lower power consumption.
Good performance.
Low power consumption.
No JAVA.
Has SDL.
Uncertain future perspective, since it is developed by the community, with no commercial company backup (although this sometimes means nothing).
Developer: AROS community.

MacOS X
Normal system cost (MacMini Intel: ~500€).
Dedicated hardware (Apple stuff).
Hardware available commercially today.
Best performance.
Low power consumption (30W).
Good operating system support of the hardware.
Has JAVA.
Has SDL.
Good future perspective.
Developer: Apple.

Linux (DSL, Ubuntu, PuppyLinux, …)
Cheaper system (~300€).
Generic hardware.
Hardware available commercially today, and can also be used to give value to old hardware.
Good/Best performance.
Low power consumption (40W).
Good operating system support of the hardware.
Has JAVA.
Has SDL.
Good future perspective.
Developer: the Linux community.

Preliminary observations
It’s not easy to choose the OS by reading these facts. I took a look at AROS, but I’m yet to see AmigaOS 4.1 or MorphOS running, and using the OS is an important part for me. Also, I have to make a bit of development on the three and see wich one feels better.

My emotional side tells me AmigaOS might be the way to go, but it seems to cost more than a Mac or Linux system. From this simple comparison AROS is the best value and MorphOS (assuming it will run on the MX Open Client “Smarttop” from Genesi) is as strong a candidate… I’m eager to try them out, and I’m sure testing sessions will be lots of fun! ;)

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