The Open Home Foundation will manage Home Assistant, ESPHome, Zigpy among over 240 open-source Smart Home projects

The Open Home Foundation is a non-profit organization that will manage over 240 Smart Home projects, standards, drivers, and libraries including  Home Assistant, ESPHome, Zigpy, Piper, and Improv Wi-Fi with the goal of “fight[ing] for the fundamental principles of privacy, choice, and sustainability for smart homes”.

The non-profit was introduced during the “State of the Open Home 2024” (see video embedded at the end of this article) with Nabu Casa – the for-profit company behind Home Assistant – transferring all their projects to the new entity, and the Open Home Foundation will also help with the development of critical external projects such as Z-Wave JS, WLED, Rhasspy, and Zigbee2MQTT.

Open Home Foundation

The foundation further explains the goal of teaming multiple projects together in a stronger structure:

We’ve done this to create a bulwark against surveillance capitalism, the risk of buyout, and open-source projects becoming abandonware. To an extent, this protection extends even against our future selves—so that smart home users can continue to benefit for years, if not decades. No matter what comes.

Our aim is to have the resources to be an active political advocate. Serving to educate the public, public servants, and the companies making smart home devices and services, about the importance of open standards, open-source projects, and privacy, choice, and sustainability when it comes to the future of smart homes.

The way I understand it the current users won’t be impacted, and the main purpose of the non-profit organization is to make sure the open-source projects stay that way and don’t end up being sold to commercial entities or simply abandoned. The close to three-hour stream below covers the announcement and includes a roadmap for Home Assistant and ESPHome at about the 2:07 mark, but I did not see too many specifics there.

YouTube video player

In an interview in The Verge, Pascal Vizeli, co-founder of Nabu Casa, and a foundation board member further explains that “Nabu Casa will continue as a for-profit entity running the cloud and selling Home Assistant hardware and will operate as a commercial partner of the foundation”. This interview makes the move become clearer to me. So all open-source software development will be done by the Open Foundation Foundation which will get funding from membership fees, donations, license programs, and contributions from partners, while Nabu Casa will provide commercial services and sell hardware devices to consumers. So even if Nabu Casa ends up being sold or becomes bankrupt in the future, the foundation would still exist as a separate entity since “Swiss law prohibits members of a non-profit from benefiting from it”.

Thanks to Hedda for the tip.

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