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

Developing using Arch Linux using Parallels on Apple Silicon with a systemd-nspawn container


Summary of the setup


This setup is for Parallels users on Apple Silicon, such as the newer Macs. It does not work on x86_64 Macs or PCs.

In brief:

  • Download a virtual machine and run it in Parallels. It has all the tools you are going to need pre-installed – build tools, git, IDE etc.
  • In the virtual machine, run a single script to customize your setup for different types of things you might want to develop on UBOS.
  • UBOS itself runs in a Linux container.

Easy, right?

Prerequisites: install Parallels Desktop for Apple Silicon computers

  1. This is a paid product that can be obtained from

Steps in detail

  1. Download the virtual appliance file. To do so, go to and look for a file whose name starts with ubosdev and has extension .pvmp.

  2. Open the .pvmp file with Parallels. A ubosdev VM will show up in the Parallels Control Center.

  3. Double-click the VM icon. This will unpack the file into the format that Parallels needs to run it.

  4. Right-click the VM icon and select “Configure …”. Make adjustments as needed for your situation, such as how many CPUs the VM may use on your host, and how much memory.

  5. Start the VM.

  6. If the VM doesn’t open a window on its own, double-click the VM icon.

  7. Logon as ubosdev, there is no password. root does not have a password either: we assume that’s safe enough on your computer. If you don’t think so, set one :-)

  8. Pick a better screen resolution:

    • In “Search”, type “Settings” and run it.
    • If there’s an error message saying “Network Unavailable” and “Error: NetworkManager not running”: ignore it, we are not running Network Manager but systemd-networkd.
    • Select “Displays” and pick a resolution that makes sense for your computer setup.
    • Close the settings app.
  9. In “Search”, type “Console” and run it (you get the “Search” by selecting “Activities” in the menu bar).

  10. Update your Arch host to the latest:

    % sudo pacman -Syu

    If there are a lot of updates (including the kernel, for example), reboot and resume from here after the system has come back up:

    % sudo systemctl reboot
  11. Set up the UBOS Gears development environment by running:

    % ubosdev-container setup

    This sets up development on the yellow release channel, which is the recommended channel for development.

    This might take 5-30 min, depending on your network, computer and disk speed.

  12. Once this command is complete, you can shutdown the VM any time if you like.

Setting up a container for development

You will perform your actual UBOS development in a Linux container that runs UBOS Linux. In this setup, you can have multiple UBOS Linux container templates, and each of them can be instantiated multiple times.

For example, you might have different container templates for the different UBOS Release Channels. This setup so far has only installed one, which is good enough for most purposes.

To determine which container templates you have available (that depends on the previous step):

% ubosdev-container list-templates

Instantiate one of the available templates into a container to be used for development, such as:

% ubosdev-container create --name ubosdev-yellow --template ubos-develop-yellow

You can instantiate this template multiple times, in case you have multiple workstreams going and want to keep them separate. In this tutorial, we only instantiate one template once.

Ongoing development work

  1. Run your Arch Linux development VM in Parallels.

  2. To determine which UBOS Linux containers you have:

    % ubosdev-container list
  3. Inside your Parallels development VM, run your UBOS Linux container:

    % ubosdev-container run --name <name>

    where <name> is the name of an available container, e.g. ubosdev-yellow.

    This gives you console access to the container. This command is simply a wrapper around the systemd-nspawn command with options that are useful. You could run it directly, too.

    You shut down the container with 3 quick ^]s in the primary container console.

  4. To open up a non-root shell inside your development container, if ubosdev-yellow is the name of your container, open a new terminal and execute:

    % sudo machinectl shell ubosdev@ubosdev-yellow

    This essentially does the same thing as if you were to log into your container as user ubosdev from the console or via ssh, but you don’t need to have any credentials set up.

  5. When you run the container with ubosdev-container run, your home directory on your Arch Linux host will be the same as the home directory of the ubosdev user in the UBOS Linux container. This makes development much simpler because you can edit files either on the host or in the container; they are the same.

  6. To edit your code, two IDEs are pre-installed on the Arch Linux host:

    • geany is a general-purpose IDE;
    • netbeans is an IDE particularly suitable for Java development.

    Of course, you can install others from the Arch repositories or directly.

  7. You can connect to a Site running inside the UBOS Linux development container by using the container’s name as the hostname in the URL. So if one of your running containers is named ubosdev-yellow, typing http://ubosdev-yellow/ into your browser on the Arch Linux host will talk to the web server in your container. Firefox is pre-installed on the Arch Linux host.