Candle 2.0 (new Webthings Gateway 1.1 disk image for the Raspberry Pi)

Hey everyone

I’ve been working on a new Raspberry Pi disk image that uses the latest version of the Webthings Gateway. It’s part of my research into privacy friendly smart home design with the Candle project:

https://www.candlesmarthome.com

A direct download link to the disk image (1.2 Gigabytes):
https://candlesmarthome.com/img/Candle_2.0.img.zip

It’s essentially just Gateway 1.1 with some things bolted on top. For example, it comes with lots of new addons that are only available with that image because they weren’t being accepted into the Webthings addons list. It also comes with updates to lots of other addons (mostly because the Webthings 1.1 API has seen significant changes). All other Webthings addons are of course also available, although I dont know if any of them will have trouble with the API changes in Webthings 1.1.

There are also some limitations:

  • Tunneling service is disabled by default. In its place there are two new addons that allow for external control.

A full list of updates can be found here:

I’d love to get your feedback.

Read the announcement and tried to find additional information on the main web page. It’s rather lite. Found it’s GITHUB repository which is a fork/clone of Webthings with local addons/features. It’s great that a project with current funding can pick up the code and continue a privacy-focused home automation system…

  1. Is there any “contract” how long funding will last for the project? Who funds development?
  2. Will the software/project remain open-source and free to end users?
  3. Is a docker image planned? I expect that due to linux integration and the extra addons this could be difficult to implement.
  4. After WebThingsIO stagnation I’ve installed Home Assistant on a spare Linux box to migrate to over a year or 3. It’s sometims difficult to use/configure, even at my technical level, but it’s very easy for known devices that don’t require manual configuration settings. Providing a simple interface and addons that just work is key.
  5. Is there a plan already in place to support MATTER/TREAD? Without this candle is a dead project. Is candle a member of the matter working group?

If a docker existed, I might actually spin an image up for evaluation. I’m out of PIs to dedicate for an evaluation.

I’ve been using WebThings since Mozilla released it, written my own X10 Mochad addon, and been very happy with it’s reliability. It mostly just works. Hope Candle continue in this vein.

  • Is there any “contract” how long funding will last for the project? Who funds development?

So far I’m relying on public funding.

  • Will the software/project remain open-source and free to end users?

Cande is just Webthings 1.1 plus some unique addons. All the source code for those addons is on Github, although not all of them have an open source license. Maybe in the future there could be a businessmodel?

  • Is a docker image planned? I expect that due to linux integration and the extra addons this could be difficult to implement.

No, sorry. The disk image is highly optimised for the Raspberry Pi, and has lots of higly integrated special features. For example, the main partition is read-only to avoid accidental damage, and it has the ability to act as a bluetooth speaker through BlueAlsa.

  • After WebThingsIO stagnation I’ve installed Home Assistant on a spare Linux box to migrate to over a year or 3. It’s sometims difficult to use/configure, even at my technical level, but it’s very easy for known devices that don’t require manual configuration settings. Providing a simple interface and addons that just work is key.

Yes, ease of use is vital. Candle’s target audience is beginners who care about privacy.

  • Is there a plan already in place to support MATTER/TREAD? Without this candle is a dead project. Is candle a member of the matter working group?

Candle is a privacy research project, not a big commercial party. The goal is
(1) to explore new ways to protect privacy
(2) to find out how privacy protections can be made easy to use.

I don’t believe the success of a smart home system only relies on how many technologies or protocols it supports. For example, we recommend specific devices to purchase in order to keep privacy 100% protected. Quality over quantity.

On that note: the Matter standard is not privacy friendly - Google is attempting to have all IoT devices be able to autonomously connect to the internet, destroying Zigbee’s barriers in the process. That said, if Webthings gains a Matter addon it will also work on Candle (since it’s just Webthings 1.1).

Thanks for your clear feedback. I think your goal to deliver a pre-configured private interface/system with value-added features is admirable. Concentrating on devices that can be used securely is key to your model.

Also hope that WebThingsIO developers & community continue to integrate new technology and protocols as they are released over time to avoid obsolesce.