Wow, This is a geate thread and couldn't come at a better time. I am currently moving my HA logic from my Elk M1 onto a software platform for more versatility. I am in the middle of a trial with HomeSeer because on paper it appeared to be the best choice for my needs. This thread got me thinking so I spent a little time doing a little more research and trying out other products. My basic needs are full support for Insteon as well as integration with my M1 via network connection and not serial. Also I will be integrating weather information from my Davis and VWS software. I use aot of events/rules with multiple conditions so this is another important factor. The UI is not critical to me at this time because I am not using any sort of touch screen.
I have to say that I am pretty happy with HomeSeer in all of these important areas to me. Their Insteon Beta has been pretty solid and had good group support and keeps track of all linking in internal tables so it knows what state everything is in, even if controlling lights locally. The M1 plugin works well and is very easy to set up. I have noticed a few quirky things such as double event triggers on alarm state change but this is easy to deal with through event trigger logic. I like the event configuration approach and the flexibility to use multiple conditions that include OR logic as well as AND. Its a little confusing at first but the help documentation and user board are very helpful.
I looked at HAL briefly but didn't find support for my M1 via a network connection. Also, I am not sure how robust their Insteon support is. I did add a few lighting devices and they did work OK but HAL seems very "black box" so I couldn't find a log of what HAL was actually doing with my Insteon devices or what links it was creating, etc. I was not impressed with the level of information on HAL's website and I almost bypassed them becuase I couldn't figure out what they actually did and didn't support.
I loaded up MainLobby and was very impressed with their UI, as one would expect. I was also impressed with the available information on their web site. I loaded the M1 plugin and it seemed to work but I didint' get very far in my testing to really check this out. The Insteon plugin was not available for trial so I couldn't try it. I spent some time playing around with rules/events. I have to say that this seems like a very powerful and flexible area but is not user friendly at all. The available options and selections when setting these up is not specific to the action being performed. For example, I would expect the tool to know that I am using an M1 trigger and would expect it to present the specific, user friendly, options to choose from (such as disarmed, armed away, back door opened or secure, etc) and not the raw variables used within the sofware. How am I supposed to know which of the 6 variables to use to check the state of a zone and then what the valid values are. I think that setting up alot of complex events would be a nightmare using this software.
I am going foward with HomeSeer but am a little reluctant becuase I have read about issues with support for some plugins in the past. I see that the M1 plugin I am using (its now free) is becoming open source so who knows what will happen with this one.
I have not tried other packages becuase of a lack of either Insteon or M1 capabilities.
Just my experience based on my needs. Your mileage my vary.