Documentation Overview

  1. Operation documentation
    1. Installation
      1. Run UBOS on a PC (64bit)
      2. Run UBOS from a boot stick on a PC (64bit)
      3. Run UBOS in a VirtualBox virtual machine (64bit)
      4. Run UBOS on an Amazon Web Services EC2 virtual server
      5. Run UBOS on Raspberry Pi 5
      6. Run UBOS on ESPRESSObin
      7. Run UBOS in a Linux container on a PC (64bit)
      8. Run UBOS in an aarch64 Linux container
    2. Setting up your first Site and App
    3. Setting up networking and DNS
    4. How to create a website secured by SSL/TLS
    5. How to set up a website as a Tor hidden service
    6. Managing Sites and Apps
    7. Backup and restore
    8. Upgrading and keeping UBOS current
    9. The UBOS Staff
    10. App-specific notes
      1. Reliably send e-mail via Amazon Web Services’ Simple E-mail Service: amazonses
      2. Static website hosting with rsync-based upload: docroot
      3. Notes on Mastodon
      4. Notes on Nextcloud
      5. Notes on Redirect
      6. Notes on Wordpress
    11. Device-specific Notes
      1. ESPRESSObin
      2. Raspberry Pi
    12. Advanced management
      1. Enabling non-standard package repositories
      2. Migrating from one App to another
      3. Pinning resources
    13. Command reference
    14. FAQ, HOWTOs and Troubleshooting
      1. “Package not found error” when installing a new App or Accessory
      2. A UBOS container comes up degraded
      3. Booting UBOS on a PC starts out fine, but then the screen goes blank
      4. Can I run UBOS in a Docker container?
      5. Can I use UBOS without purchasing a domain name?
      6. Cannot access MySQL database. File missing: /etc/mysql/root-defaults-ubos.cnf
      7. Cannot boot UBOS from boot stick on a PC
      8. Cannot connect to the public internet from a UBOS container
      9. Cannot create a temporary backup; the backup directory is not empty
      10. Failed to create file /sys/devices/system/cpu/microcode/reload
      11. How are the various UBOS images different from each other?
      12. How can I install more than one web App on the same Device?
      13. How do I set up WiFi?
      14. How to enable non-standard Package Repositories
      15. How to get help
      16. How to log into your UBOS Device
      17. How to modify the configuration of your Site
      18. How to report a bug or issue
      19. How to use Pagekite to reach your UBOS Device behind a firewall
      20. How to use SSH
      21. I need a Package that isn’t in UBOS
      22. I need root
      23. I own a domain name, and I’d like to use it for my UBOS Device. How do I do that?
      24. I want to move from one device to another, or from/to the cloud to/from a device
      25. I want to run ssh on a non-standard port
      26. I’m running out of disk space, what now?
      27. Installing a new Package or updating fails with a message about “invalid or corrupted package” or “key is disabled”
      28. Installing a new Package or upgrading fails with a message about “unknown trust”
      29. Is it safe to have my Site accessible from the public web?
      30. My non-English keyboard layout is all screwed up
      31. My SD card is much larger than the UBOS image. How do I use the rest of the space?
      32. Nothing happens when UBOS is supposed to be booting
      33. Problems with “IPv6 Packet Filtering Framework”
      34. UBOS is in a “degraded” state
      35. ubos-admin status reports “Systemd unit … has failed”
      36. Verify your downloaded UBOS image
      37. What is the default “root” password?
      38. What text editor can I use on UBOS?
      39. Why did you derive UBOS Linux from Arch Linux, and what is the relationship between UBOS Linux and Arch?
      40. Why is it called UBOS?
      41. Writing a disk image to a USB stick or SD card
        1. Writing an image to a USB stick or SD card on Linux
        2. Writing an image to a USB stick or SD card on macOS
        3. Writing an image to a USB stick or SD card on Windows
  2. Developer documentation
    1. Developer setup
      1. Developing using Arch Linux on VirtualBox x86_64 with a systemd-nspawn container
      2. Developing using a UTM Arch Linux VM on Apple Silicon computers with UBOS in a systemd-nspawn container
      3. Alternate developer setups
        1. Developing using a systemd-nspawn container (Linux host only)
        2. Developing using Arch Linux using Parallels on Apple Silicon with a systemd-nspawn container
        3. Developing using a UTM Arch Linux VM on Apple x86_64 computers with UBOS in a systemd-nspawn container
    2. Developer tutorials for standalone UBOS apps (not UBOS Mesh)
      1. Build and run your first UBOS standalone App
      2. How to package UBOS standalone Apps built with a variety of languages
        1. Hello World
        2. Glad-I-Was-Here (PHP, Mariadb)
        3. An Accessory for Glad-I-Was-Here (PHP, Mariadb)
        4. Glad-I-Was-Here (PHP, Postgresql)
        5. Glad-I-Was-Here (Python, Mariadb)
    3. UBOS Gears Reference
      1. UBOS Manifest
        1. Structure of the UBOS Manifest
        2. Info section
        3. Roles section
        4. Customization points section
        5. Appinfo section
        6. Accessoryinfo section
        7. Variables available at deploy or undeploy
        8. Functions that may be applied to variables
        9. Creating random values
        10. Scripts in UBOS Manifests
      2. Site JSON
      3. A complex deployment example
      4. UBOS Networking
      5. Allocating and opening up non-default ports
      6. Logging
      7. UBOS state
      8. UBOS Backup format
      9. Format of the App Status JSON
      10. Testing standalone Apps with “webapptest”
      11. Understanding ubos-admin
        1. Command: ubos-admin backup
        2. Command: ubos-admin backupinfo
        3. Command: ubos-admin createsite
        4. Command: ubos-admin deploy
        5. Command: ubos-admin hostid
        6. Command: ubos-admin init-staff
        7. Command: ubos-admin list-data-transfer-protocols
        8. Command: ubos-admin listnetconfigs
        9. Command: ubos-admin listsites
        10. Command: ubos-admin read-configuration-from-staff
        11. Command: ubos-admin restore
        12. Command: ubos-admin setnetconfig
        13. Command: ubos-admin setup-shepherd
        14. Command: ubos-admin showappconfig
        15. Command: ubos-admin shownetconfig
        16. Command: ubos-admin showsite
        17. Command: ubos-admin status
        18. Command: ubos-admin undeploy
        19. Command: ubos-admin update
        20. Command: ubos-admin write-configuration-to-staff
    4. Release channels and UBOS release process
    5. Miscellaneous
      1. Potentially useful infrastructure for standalone Apps
        1. The UBOS rsync server
      2. Middleware-specific notes
        1. Node.js notes
        2. SMTP notes
      3. Setting up an Arch Linux system as a UBOS development system
        1. How to create a UBOS development VM for VirtualBox on x86_64
        2. How to create a UBOS development VM for UTM on x86_64 Apple computers
        3. How to create a UBOS development VM for UTM on Apple Silicon computers
        4. How to create a UBOS development VM for Parallels Desktop on Apple Silicon computers
      4. Creating cloud images
        1. Amazon Web Services EC2
    6. Developer FAQ
      1. Doesn’t apt / dpkg / yum / pacman etc. does what UBOS Gears does already?
      2. Doesn’t puppet / chef / ansible etc. does what UBOS Gears does already?
      3. Doesn’t Docker do what UBOS Gears does already?
      4. Is it possible to run UBOS Gears or Mesh on an operating system other than UBOS Linux?
      5. Can I manage apps packaged as Docker containers with UBOS?
  3. Architecture
  4. Glossary
    1. Accessory
    2. App
    3. AppConfigId
    4. AppConfigItem
    5. AppConfiguration
    6. Arch
    7. Arch Linux
    8. Attribute
    9. blessing
    10. Bot
    11. Context Path
    12. Customization Point
    13. Data Transfer Protocol
    14. Deployment
    15. Depot
    16. Device
    17. Device Class
    18. diet4j module framework
    19. EntityType
    20. Flock
    21. Gradle
    22. Handlebars
    23. History
    24. Home Server
    25. HostId
    26. Hostname
    27. IDE
    28. Installation
    29. LetsEncrypt
    30. mDNS
    31. MeshBase
    32. MeshObject
    33. MeshObjectIdentifier
    34. MeshType
    35. MeshTypeIdentifier
    36. Middleware
    37. Model
    38. Network Configuration
    39. Package
    40. Pagekite
    41. Parallels Desktop
    42. Personal Server
    43. PKGBUILD
    44. Property
    45. PropertyType
    46. Relationship
    47. RelationshipType
    48. Release Channel
    49. Repository
    50. Retention Bucket
    51. Role
    52. RoleAttribute
    53. RoleProperty
    54. RoleType
    55. Rolling Release
    56. Shepherd
    57. Site
    58. Site JSON
    59. Site JSON Template
    60. SiteId
    61. Transaction
    62. Transaction Log
    63. UBOS Gears
    64. UBOS Linux
    65. UBOS Manifest
    66. UBOS Mesh
    67. UBOS Mesh code generator
    68. UBOS Project
    69. UBOS Staff
    70. unblessing
    71. UTM
    72. VirtualBox
    73. VMWare
    74. Wildcard hostname

Testing standalone Apps with “webapptest”



webapptest will be superseded by feditest some time soon.

About webapptest

It’s very important that Apps on UBOS deploy correctly, undeploy cleanly, and that their data can be reliably backed up, restored, and migrated when your App moves to a new version. We do not ever want to ask a user to “fix the App installation” manually if we can help it.

To aid in testing this, we use a test tool called webapptest (source is here), which has been written specifically for this purpose. webapptest is not a regular application testing tool; it is not intended to find out whether, say, your App runs nicely in Internet Explorer. Instead, it focuses on testing installation, uninstallation, backup and restore; something typical testing tools don’t focus on.

To install webapptest on a UBOS Device, run:

% sudo pacman -S webapptest

Example: Testing Glad-I-Was-Here (PHP, MySQL) locally

To test the Glad-I-Was-Here (PHP, MySQL) toy application with all the default settings on a Device, execute:

> webapptest run

(see in Git.)

This will go through a series of steps deploying gladiwashere-php-mysql on your local Device, interacting with the App by filling out a guestbook entry, backing up the App data, undeploying the App, re-deploying and restoring from backup. In other words, the types of things that the App needs to do correctly to behave on UBOS.

The exact steps depend on the test plan you are using. To see available test plans, execute:

% webapptest listtestplans
backup-all-states  - Creates a local backup file for each State.
default            - Walks through all States and Transitions, and attempts to backup and restore each State.
deploy-only        - Only tests whether the application can be installed.
deploy-update      - Tests whether the application can be installed and updated.
redeploy           - Tests that the application can be re-deployed after install at different hostnames.
restore-all-states - Restores from a local backup file for each State, and tests upgrade.
simple             - Walks through all States and Transitions in sequence.
well-known         - Walks twice through all States and Transitions in sequence, checking well-known site fields only.

To employ a test plan that is not the default, specify --testplan <name> as an argument to webapptest.

Alternate scaffolds

webapptest also knows the notion of a scaffold. To show the available scaffolds, execute:

% webapptest listscaffolds
container - A scaffold that runs tests on the local machine in a Linux container.
here      - A trivial scaffold that runs tests on the local machine without any insulation.
ssh       - A scaffold that runs tests on the remote machine that is already set up, and accessible via ssh.
v-box     - A scaffold that runs tests on the local machine in a VirtualBox virtual machine.

If using webapptest with the here scaffold, webapptest deploys the to-be-tested App on the local Device (which needs to run UBOS). This is also the default.

By using the ssh scaffold, the to-be-tested App can be tested on a remote UBOS Device over ssh. This is particularly useful for cross-platform testing, or if you want to test your App on a dedicated test Device or server.

The v-box scaffold sets up and tears down an entire UBOS virtual machine for the test. This is only available on x86_64 and requires VirtualBox to be installed.

Finally, the container scaffold creates a Linux container into which UBOS and the to-be-tested App will be installed, using systemd-nspawn.

Some of these scaffolds need parameters (e.g. the hostname of the ssh host or the image to boot from), which are specified by appending them to the name of the scaffold like this:

% webapptest run --scaffold container:directory=/build/my-ubos-image-dir

Test description

To define a test for webapptest, follow the example in

The essence of the test description is a series of states and transitions between them. The states are states (with different data) that the application can be in. In GladIWasHereTest1, those are:

  • virgin: the App has just been deployed, and nobody has filled out a guestbook entry yet
  • comment-posted: a single comment has been posted

Obviously, depending on the App, many more states can be defined.

For each of these states, a script is run that tests that the App is indeed in this state.

Transitions capture instructions for how webapptest can move the App from one state to another. Here, we have only one, called post-comment, which contains the code to post a guestbook entry.

The essence of the test are the getMustContain and similar statements in the states. getMustContain will perform an HTTP GET operation on the provided URL (relative to the location at which the App was installed), and make sure that the received content contains a certain pattern. If not, it will print the provided error message.

The full API is here.