Run UBOS in an ARMv7 Linux container (e.g. Raspberry Pi 2, 3)ΒΆ

These instructions are the same for all ARMv7-based devices.

If you already run Linux on an ARMv7-based device such as a Raspberry Pi 2, Raspberry Pi 3, or BeagleBone Black, you can run UBOS in a Linux container with systemd-nspawn. This allows you to try out UBOS without having to do a bare metal installation. The only requirement is that your Linux device runs systemd in a recent version.

We tested against systemd versions 219 and later:

  • running UBOS in a container within UBOS;
  • running UBOS in a container within Arch Linux ARM.

Chances are it also works on other systemd-based distros.

To do so:

  1. Download a UBOS container image from Beta images for ARMv7 containers are at Look for a file named ubos_yellow_armv7h-container_LATEST.tar.xz.

  2. Optionally, you may now verify that your image downloaded correctly by following the instructions at Verify your downloaded UBOS image.

  3. Uncompress and unpack the downloaded file into a suitable directory by executing:

    % mkdir ubos
    % sudo tar -x -J -C ubos -f ubos_yellow_armv7h-container_LATEST.tar.xz

    on the command line.

    If you are running btrfs as your filesystem, you may want to create a subvolume and unpack into that subvolume instead, as systemd-nspawn is btrfs-aware and that can speed up things and save some disk space. However, btrfs is optional.

  4. Consider adding some virtual memory to your device, if you have an attached hard drive. This will alleviate memory pressures on the device that has little RAM.

  5. Run both IPv4 and IPv6 based iptables on your host, otherwise UBOS cannot set up its own firewall and the UBOS container will boot into a degraded state. If you aren’t already doing this, on the host:

    % [[ -e /etc/iptables/iptables.rules ]] || sudo cp /etc/iptables/empty.rules /etc/iptables/iptables.rules
    % [[ -e /etc/iptables/ip6tables.rules ]] || sudo cp /etc/iptables/empty.rules /etc/iptables/ip6tables.rules
    % sudo systemctl enable iptables ip6tables
    % sudo systemctl start iptables ip6tables

    This will not actually perform any firewall functionality (the ruleset is empty), but it will allow the UBOS container to set up its own firewall.

  6. Boot the container. systemd-nspawn has a wide variety of options, in particular for how to set up networking. A private network, as we do it here, is one simple option, but you may want to choose a different option, depending on your needs:

    % sudo systemd-nspawn --boot --network-veth --machine ubos --directory ubos
  7. When the boot process is finished, log in as user root. By default, there is no password on the console.

  8. Now: wait. UBOS needs to generate a few cryptographic keys before it is ready to use and initialize a few other things on the first boot. That might take 5 or 10 minutes on slower platforms. To determine whether UBOS ready, execute:

    % systemctl is-system-running

    The container takes entropy from the host computer, so make sure the host Linux system provides enough. Depending your Linux distro, you may be able to generate more by typing on the keyboard, moving the mouse, generating hard drive activity etc. You can also run:

    % sudo systemctl start haveged

    on your host (not container).

    Wait until the output of

    % systemctl is-system-running

    has changed from starting to running. If it is anything else, consult troubleshooting.

  9. Your container should automatically acquire an IP address. You can check with:

    % ip addr

    Make sure you are connected to the internet before attempting to proceed. If you have difficulties reaching the internet from your container, consult troubleshooting.

  10. Update UBOS to the latest and greatest:

    % sudo ubos-admin update
  11. You are now ready to set up your first app and site. Note that with the private networking setup described on this page, you will only be able to access Apps installed in your UBOS container from the host computer. If you like to access them from anywhere else, you either need to give your container a non-private IP address, or port forward from the host to the container.

  12. To shut down your container, either:

    • hit ^] three times, or
    • in a separate shell, execute sudo machinectl poweroff ubos