Growing up I used to watch the BBC TV programme Tomorrow's world and was in awe of the amazing futuristic houses and gadgets.
So while at University in 1989 I wired up our doorbell to our Novell Netware server in our shared house we could all know someone was at the door (although being students it didn't make anyone get up to answer it.)
When I bought by own house in 2000 I was determined to see what home gadgets would actually be useful and fun. There are many, many existing home automation systems at all price ranges, but most are based on Windows. It seemed much more fun to experiment for myself and implement some home automation for our house on a small budget. And the final requirement was that everything would run on Linux or open source software -- I didn't want to risk my house on an instable OS that I had no control over.My system has been running since 2001 and I've documented a few of the projects, failed attempts, and software here.