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

How to use Pagekite to reach your UBOS Device behind a firewall


If your Device is behind a firewall – such as behind a home broadband router or a company firewall – your firewall will block all incoming traffic and none of the site(s) on your Device are reachable from the public internet. That’s the whole point of a firewall, of course, and a good idea for security reasons.

But what if you do want to make your Site accessible over the internet, either for the general public, or for your friends, or even just for yourself for when you are on the road?

One approach is to register with a dynamic DNS provider, to open a special port in your firewall and forward that special port to the IP address of your Device. This certainly can work, but it tends to be difficult, clumsy (now you need to remember a funny port number!) and is often unreliable; some internet providers block such traffic, others prohibit it in their terms of service, and sometimes the firewalls themselves aren’t cooperating.

About Pagekite is open-source software combined with a paid service that has been developed by The Beanstalks Project ehf in Iceland. It provides a much simpler alternative: through some ingenious proxying, Pagekite accepts traffic destined for your device at public servers they run, and then securely routes that traffic to your device by tunneling through your firewall. All without compromising your privacy.

To set it up on UBOS, read on. UBOS bundles all necessary software, and integrates Pagekite a bit more tightly than other Linux distributions, making your life easier. Please ignore the installation instructions on and follow the ones here if you are running Pagekite on UBOS.

Step 1: Sign up for

Go to and sign up for an account. They have free trials, so you can sign up without cost and see how you like it.

Let’s say you signed as user johndoe and you picked johndoe as your “kite” name, to use their terminology. When you are done with the following setup, you will be able to reach your Device at

Step 2: Make sure you have a Site on your Device that corresponds to your kite name

This only works if you have a Site on your Device that actually corresponds to your kite name, otherwise UBOS will not forward any traffic. So if your Pagekite kite name is, make you sure that your Site either has hostname or the Wildcard hostname *.

You can determine the hostname of your Site with ubos-admin listsites.

Also note the section on SSL/TLS/HTTPS certificates below.

Step 3: Configure Pagekite on your UBOS Device

Log into your Device. Then, execute the following commands:

% sudo pacman -S --noconfirm pagekite
% sudo ubos-admin start-pagekite <NNN>

where <NNN> is the name of your primary kite ( in our example). UBOS will then ask you for the secret that goes with this kite. You can find both the kite name and the secret on the website after you have logged into your account there (open section “Your details”). You need to provide this information to UBOS so your Device can be securely paired with your account.

You only need to do this once, for sign-up.


After you initially setup Pagekite, it may take a few minutes until your kitename correctly resolves to your Device. This has to do with DNS propagation. In the meantime, you will get a “Temporarily Unavailable” message when attempting to access your kite.

Pagekite status

To determine the status of Pagekite on your Device, execute:

% ubos-admin status-pagekite

Stop using Pagekite on your UBOS device

If you ever wanted to stop using Pagekite, simply execute:

% sudo ubos-admin stop-pagekite

UBOS Site names and Pagekite domain names

If you tell that your Kite name is, all public web traffic to that domain name will be routed to the website on your Device, or, if a Site is deployed on your Device with hostname *, to that Site.

If you do not have a Site with hostname or * on your Device, you will either be seeing the UBOS “Site not found” error page or a Pagekite error message.

Just like if you access your Device directly, the hostname you type into your browser must match the hostname of the Site you created on your Device. If you use Pagekite, it might be easiest to give the “kite” name to your Site when you create it on UBOS.

Note that Pagekite allows you to use sub-domains at no extra cost, so you could run sites and on the same Device, and Pagekite will forward traffic accordingly. To make this easier, you can start Pagekite with:

% sudo ubos-admin start-pagekite --all --kitesecret <SSS> <NNN>

and UBOS will attempt to set up a kite for all Sites you currently have on your Device, and all future Sites you will deploy to your Device in the future. Of course, this only works if you have configured the right “kites” on the site.

Pagekite and SSL/TLS/HTTPS certificates

Encrypting your web traffic, particularly over the open internet, is of course a good idea. The UBOS/Pagekite integration will automatically take care of it if your Site has been set up with a certificate, such as one from Letsencrypt.

If your Site exists already but does not have a certificate yet, we recommend:

  1. Get Pagekite working without SSL/TLS/HTTPS first. That makes it easier to troubleshoot if anything should go wrong.

    Make sure you can access your Site without SSL/TLS/HTTPS over the public internet before going to the next step.

  2. Then, redeploy your Site after adding the SSL/TLS certificate information. This is described here.