Exec Binding

This binding integrates the possibility to execute arbitrary shell commands.

Supported Things

Currently, the binding supports a single type of Thing, being the command Thing.

Binding Configuration

The binding does not require any specific configuration.

Linux: Note that the commands are executed in the context and with the privileges of the process running the Java Virtual Machine. On a Linux system the system user openhab needs to have the privileges needed to execute your intended command. It is advised to test the correct operation of the command in the scope of the openhab user on the command line first:

sudo -u openhab <YOUR COMMAND>

It is not advised to run the virtual machine as superuser/root.

Thing Configuration

The "command" Thing requires the command to execute on the shell. Optionally one can specify:

  • transform - A transformation to apply on the execution result,
  • interval - An interval, in seconds, the command will be repeatedly executed. Default is 60 seconds, set to 0 to avoid repetition.
  • timeout - A time-out, in seconds, the execution of the command will time out, and lastly,
  • autorun - A boolean parameter to make the command execute immediately every time the input channel is sent a command.

For each command a separate Thing has to be defined.

Thing exec:command:uniquename [command="/command/to/execute here", interval=15, timeout=5, autorun=false]

The command itself can be enhanced using the well known syntax of the Java formatter class syntax. The following parameters are automatically added:

  • the current date (as java.util.Date, example: %1$tY-%1$tm-%1$td)
  • the current (or last) command to the input channel (see below, example: %2$s)

note - if you trigger execution using autorun or the run channel, the %2 substitution will use the most recent command sent to the input channel.


All Things support the following channels:

Channel Type ID Item Type Description
input String Input parameter to provide to the command
output String Output of the last execution of the command
exit Number The exit value of the last execution of the command
run Switch Send ON to execute the command, the current state tells whether it is running or not
lastexecution DateTime Time/Date the command was last executed, in yyyy-MM-dd'T'HH:mm:ss.SSSZ format

Minimal Example


Thing exec:command:apc [command="/usr/local/bin/apcaccess status", interval=15, timeout=5]
Thing exec:command:myscript [command="php ./configurations/scripts/script.php %2$s", transform="REGEX((.*?))"]


String APCRaw "[%s]" (All) {channel="exec:command:apc:output"}
Switch APCRunning {channel="exec:command:apc:run"}
Number APCExitValue "[%d]" {channel="exec:command:apc:exit"}
DateTime APCLastExecution {channel="exec:command:apc:lastexecution"}

Full Example

Following is an example how to set up an exec command thing, pass it a parameter, debug it with a rule and set the returned string to an Number Item.


// "%2$s" will be replace by the input channel command, this makes it possible to use one command line with different arguments.
// e.g: "ls" as <YOUR COMMAND> and "-a" or "-l" as additional argument set to the input channel in the rule.
Thing exec:command:yourcommand [ command="<YOUR COMMAND> %2$s", interval=0, autorun=false ]


Switch YourTrigger
Number YourNumber "Your Number [%.1f °C]"

// state of the execution, is running or finished
Switch yourcommand_Run {channel="exec:command:yourcommand:run", autoupdate="false"}
// Arguments to be placed for '%2$s' in command line
String yourcommand_Args {channel="exec:command:yourcommand:input"}
// Output of command line execution 
String yourcommand_Out {channel="exec:command:yourcommand:output"}


// Name of file and name of sitemap has to be the same
sitemap demo label="Your Value"
        Frame {
            Switch item=YourTrigger
            Text item=YourNumber


rule "begin your execution"
   Item YourTrigger changed
      // here we can take different actions according to source Item
   if(YourTrigger.state == ON){
      yourcommand_Args.sendCommand("Additional Argument to command line for ON")
      yourcommand_Args.sendCommand("Additional Argument to command line for OFF")

      // Trigger execution (if autorun false)
      // the Run indicator state will go ON shortly, and return OFF when script finished

rule "process your results"
   Item yourcommand_Run changed from ON to OFF
      // Logging of raw command line result
   logInfo("Your command exec", "Result:" + yourcommand_Out.state )
      // If the returned string is just a number it can be parsed
      // If not a regex or another transformation can be used
   YourNumber.postUpdate(Integer::parseInt(yourcommand_Out.state.toString) as Number)


OpenHAB community thread with a detailed example.