Key design principles


  • UBOS should be able to run on a wide variety of hardware.
  • UBOS should be fully functional and usable in headless mode (without attached keyboard, mouse and monitor)
  • UBOS should expose a consistent set of core conventions and APIs to application developers that does not depend on the underlying hardware.
  • UBOS should not require WiFi, Bluetooth, or other wireless hardware. If available, UBOS should be able to take advantage of it.


  • Provide a simple set of high-level administration commands in the shell that is structured around what the user wants to accomplish, not around how to do that.
  • The same commands can maintain apps built with a wide variety of technologies (e.g. PHP vs Ruby vs Java vs Python etc., databases etc.)
  • Fully support virtual hosting, and multiple apps at the same virtual host. Let users pick hostnames and context paths to the maximum extent possible.
  • Make sure developers of different apps do not step of each other’s feet, even if they aren’t aware of each other.
  • Users expect port 80 and port 443. Don’t use other ports where users can see them.
  • Let users pick domain names and paths; many users feel strongly about that.
  • Administration via ssh instead of device agents. It’s easier to bootstrap and maintain.
  • The primary user interface is shell commands.
  • Use Linux package management (i.e. pacman) wherever possible.
  • Can be pre-installed on boot medium (e.g. SD Card)
  • Use good defaults which can be overridden if/when needed.
  • Make automated testing possible / simple.

Economics of administration

  • The larger cost is in ongoing maintenance, not in initial installation of apps, so automate maintenance as much as possible.

User centricity

  • No backdoors.
  • Free and libre to the maximum extent possible.
  • No mandatory dependencies on “somebody else’s website”.