I've settled on Openhab as my house controller. little challenging to learn but seems like the best choice right now. that might change with in the year, there are many young contenders out there now. I do wish it had a better looking UI. PI-dome looks very nice. i have hopes for Openhab2 and will move on that as soon as possible.
and i'm going with mysql just out of familiarity. was a simple matter to add persistence and watch a chart of my radio's temperature automatically updating and the output form the ultrasonic sensor.
i've decided to pretty much abandon the Raspberry Pi. it's not clear how it can be useful to me. I do not like to intentionally work with slow systems, and it seems not surprising that Openhab would be sluggish. even the raspberry pi 2 would make me feel constrained.
and i have a windows machine running 24/7 for years now, so why not make it earn it's keep a bit more. i'm using a serial/USB connection straight into the PC and into Openhab. no problems. I am really interested in MQTT and expect to pick that up before long, but i don't think i waste much effort by going serial for now.
still waiting for bits and pieces to start assembling some hardware.