There are relatively few markets that would benefit more from open source than home automation, with its myriads of different electrical nodes and associated complexity.
It is this opportunity that led to the creation of Marc Fleury and Mark Spencer's OpenRemote project, and that recently led them to release the Beehive database, a "Web-based open-source application to collect, format, and distribute home automation codes."
Similar to the Volantis Mobile Device Database which serves as a central repository for the growing array of disparate mobile devices (i.e., data on screen size and resolution, keyboard, etc.), Beehive promises to be a central repository to manage the profusion of home-automation codes.
From the OpenRemote release:
Until now, no Web-based open source central database effort of this scope existed to bring cohesiveness to a fragmented home automation, or domotics, market. Beehive is seeded with 100,000 codes that are compatible with 2,500 devices. Anyone can browse through Beehive, download whichever codes they need, and contribute new codes.
"Today, there is simply no central database for these kinds of codes--only scattered collections in different and proprietary formats," said Christian Bauer, Beehive project lead. "Beehive attempts to change this. We believe there is a need for a truly open, unified way to collect and share all code formats and enforce a clean database schema for easy consumption by both professionals and hobbyists alike."
It's an ambitious effort, one worthy of and conducive to open source. The same sorts of people likely to be fiddling with home-automation setups (as opposed to buying expensive home-automation setups) are the same people who are capable and interested in contributing back to an open-source project focused on home automation. Beehive is an important step in this effort.