Vanilla OS: The Ubuntu-Based Immutable Linux Distribution

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Ubuntu is simply a celebrated Linux desktop distribution, but immoderate of its creation choices person been criticized lately.

What if location was a friends desktop distro based connected Ubuntu but kept unwanted changes retired of nan halfway system? Vanilla OS whitethorn beryllium what you're looking for.

What Is Vanilla OS?

Vanilla OS is simply a Linux distribution that intends for higher information than different desktop Linux distros. It's built connected Ubuntu but adds a twist: nan halfway strategy files are immutable. This intends that it's locked down from changes that third-party programs mightiness make.

The sanction comes from nan thought that nan original volition for nan distro was that it would connection a banal acquisition without immoderate modifications that Canonical had made for Ubuntu.

Why an Immutable Linux Distro?

Immutability successful Linux distros is simply a conception that is becoming progressively celebrated successful containerized systems. Immutable distros are standardized truthful that they're nan aforesaid crossed each installation.

Immutability increases security; arsenic nan halfway parts of nan strategy for illustration nan kernel can't beryllium modified, it's theoretically intolerable for a malicious programme to messiness pinch it. Additional packages are installed successful a abstracted area from nan main system.

Even an immutable strategy needs updates arsenic bugs aliases information vulnerabilities are discovered. How does Vanilla OS negociate these updates? It uses thing called ABRoot.

ABRoot maintains 2 strategy states, "present" and "future." Suppose a caller kernel is packaged for nan system. When nan personification installs updates, this caller kernel will beryllium added to nan "future" state. When nan strategy reboots aft installation, nan "future" authorities becomes nan "present" authorities while early updates will get added to nan caller "future."

Installing Vanilla OS connected a PC

Vanilla OS installation screen

Installing Vanilla OS is akin to installing different Linux distributions. First, you request to download nan installation image from their GitHub page and extract it to your installation media if you're installing it connected a beingness machine.

As pinch nan banal Ubuntu, you'll footwear into a unrecorded environment. By default, Vanilla OS uses a modular GNOME 3 environment. You tin research nan desktop and erstwhile you're fresh to install, click Install Vanilla OS.

The installation programme is beautiful standard. It will inquire you to prime nan thrust and group up a partition scheme. You'll past take a username and password and past instal it connected nan difficult drive. After that, you'll footwear into nan caller environment.

The Vanilla OS Desktop

Vanilla OS GNOME desktop

The Vanilla OS desktop uses nan regular GNOME 3 desktop environment. It comes pinch nan default group of GNOME apps and not overmuch else. This intends you'll person to trust connected nan package manager, but Vanilla OS is hardly different among Linux distros for that.

Vanilla OS doesn't moreover travel pinch an agency suite. If you request to do connection processing aliases spreadsheets, you'll person to instal thing for illustration LibreOffice. Fortunately, it's easy to adhd caller packages contempt Vanilla OS's unorthodox architecture.

It does travel pinch a web browser, imaginatively named Web. You tin besides instal different browsers that you whitethorn beryllium much acquainted with, for illustration Firefox and Chromium.

Package Management successful Vanilla OS

Vanilla OS's immutability presents a situation for installing other software. A batch of awesome packages see configuration files and require different dependencies. The accepted attack of APT and RPM is to instal a bunch of packages successful nan main strategy directories.

The main problem pinch this attack is that it tin beryllium difficult to show which components are portion of nan banal strategy and which were added by third-party programs. This tin complicate troubleshooting and moreover origin information problems.

One solution to this problem is to vessel much programs arsenic self-contained packages that person each their limitations together. This is nan attack taken by Flatpak and Canonical's ain Snap packages. Flatpak is nan default package format successful Vanilla OS, possibly successful guidance to nan contention among Ubuntu users complete nan alleged bloat of Snap packages.

This caller attack to programme distribution complements Vanilla OS's immutability by keeping applications from meddling successful nan affairs of nan underlying system.

Vanilla OS GNOME Software store

The main graphical method of installing applications is utilizing nan banal GNOME Software store. By default, it will instal Flatpak packages. One bully point astir utilizing these is that they're installed successful personification space. This intends that you won't person to proviso immoderate passwords to instal caller apps.

You tin besides instal packages pinch nan bid line, arsenic pinch modular Debian aliases Ubuntu systems. Since accepted package managers make modifications to nan system, you mightiness deliberation you couldn't instal other packages pinch Vanilla OS' immutability. Vanilla OS gets astir this pinch APX.

Vanilla OS APX connected nan bid line

APX is nan built-in command-line package manager. APX is akin to APT but it installs packages successful a instrumentality that's isolated from nan main OS. Any limitations are installed successful this instrumentality arsenic well. Better yet, you tin besides instal programs without having to usage sudo. Everything is done correct successful personification mode.

For example, to instal Firefox:

apx instal firefox

The syntax of APX is very akin to APT and different Linux package managers. Installing and upgrading packages will consciousness acquainted to those already comfortable pinch nan Debian/Ubuntu attack to package management.

Is Vanilla OS for You?

You whitethorn beryllium wondering if Vanilla OS suits your computing needs. It's still a very caller distro, moreover if it builds connected nan way records of Debian and Ubuntu.

The distro whitethorn entreaty to those wary of Canonical's caller changes to Ubuntu. While nan main Ubuntu distro besides uses GNOME arsenic nan default desktop, it's made immoderate modifications. Canonical has besides attracted disapproval for Snap packages and advertizing its paid services successful nan terminal erstwhile updating packages.

It will apt besides entreaty to users concerned pinch security. While immutability is touted arsenic a solution to information problems, it's still unclear really good it will beryllium long-term. It's still absorbing to spot really it develops successful nan meantime. The task is impervious of really open-source OSes for illustration Linux let group to research pinch caller concepts successful machine subject much easy than proprietary systems.

Vanilla OS Tries to Stamp Out Bugs

Vanilla OS is simply a newcomer successful a crowded section of Debian and Ubuntu derivatives. Its unsocial architecture is an effort to trim problems by making nan halfway of nan OS unmodifiable by extracurricular programs. While this complicates package management, Vanilla OS looks for illustration an absorbing task to travel successful nan future.

Vanilla OS is conscionable 1 of nan Debian-based distros retired there. Some of nan astir successful Linux distributions successful usage today, including Ubuntu, person built upon nan coagulated instauration of Debian.

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