Why did you derive UBOS from Arch Linux, and what is the relationship between UBOS and Arch?


The first version of what became UBOS was actually based on Debian Linux. There are many great things about debian, and things were going great, until early users complained that the versions of the available web Apps were “old”; they wanted the latest and greatest. So we tried upgrading various web Apps to current versions, and failed: current web Apps would require current language runtimes and libraries, and Debian Stable does not generally provide them.

In the second attempt, we worked from Ubuntu. That was better in terms of being current with web Apps. But when we discovered rolling updates as provided by Arch Linux, there was no going back: rolling upgrades are excellent for the types of systems we are building UBOS for.

Today, UBOS is both a subset and a superset of Arch Linux:

  • UBOS only includes a subset of the Arch Linux packages. For example, UBOS has picked Apache2 as its (current) web server and thus does not provide any other web servers.

  • UBOS provides packages such as ubos-admin for one-command device administration, which are not available on Arch Linux. Given that Arch Linux is intended as a very configurable system for the power user, and ubos-admin requires a much tighter set of conventions, tools such as ubos-admin do not make much sense on Arch itself.

  • UBOS provides several Release Channels so we can support users who are not too technical. That would be hard to do on Arch directly.

  • UBOS releases are “full-stack” tested before they are made available. Arch Linux only performs unit testing, and generally requires a system administrator to manually review and resolve possible issues. See also Release channels and UBOS release process.

In spite of this, many packages available on UBOS are identical to those on Arch Linux, and its sibling for the ARM processor architecture, Arch Linux.