"The fact that Mainlobby/Homeseer would have cost me $1500 and still not be able to replicate that which I have made me feel good about that decision *for me*."
But, what Cinemar has found is that our ala carte, buy only what you need, when you need it, pricing model meets the needs of the Majority of the customers (great majority).
As far as replicating what you have, that is debatable. If you buy a Ford, why would you want it to be like a GM. Each will have their own style, their own features, but at the end of the day, they both will get you from point A to point B for routine tasks in a reliable way.
BTW, the link you post with the MainLobby (and then CQC) pricing discussion is a little dated. You inflated your price to include Homeseer 2 software to support your Aprilaire thermostat. Even at that time, I believe Aprilaire was supported by the ELK M1, so you could have bidirectionally controlled your thermostat for the cost of the ELK M1 plugin (also included in your "estimate"). So, wipe $230 off of your estimate. I haven't gotten any further into your "estimate" to see how much else was over estimated.
For those that don't use an ELK, MainLobby now supports the RCS, Aprilaire and Proliphix IP thermostats natively with add on plugins (buy what you need, not what you don't).
Also, MainLobby's price includes all updates to those products. I believe CQC charges an annual maintenance fee. From history, this looks like this would be about $200 or so more for CQC as from history, MainLobby major versions come out about every 2-3 years. Interim updates (many, many with new features and yes, fixes) are free.
Back to the original poster Jarcher, Cinemar would also welcome your creativeness and software development savvy. There is an available plugin API that allows you to go nuts. You will spend literally years trying to home roll up to to what MainLobby and CQC and Homeseer and HAL have gotten to. You could save a ton of time (and money) and still roll your own if you start with a commercial package and then code whatever else you need. If you are a Linux maven, look at Misterhouse which runs on Linux. Speaking of which, you could build a MainLobby / Misterhouse plugin that allows you to use MainLobby's user interface with Misterhouse backend. You could then mix and match Linux and your Windows PCs. Just a thought on how to use your abilities