Vanilla OS

Taste the GNOME Vanilla experience on Ubuntu with some spice.

This page is the official documentation for Vanilla OS components.
Check out Handbook for user-written guides and tutorials.


Answers to the most frequently asked questions about Vanilla OS.

  • Why a new Distribution?
    Vanilla OS arose out of the need for an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution that would provide vanilla GNOME without any changes to the user experience. Later, its scope got extended to experiment with some tools and technologies, such as ABRoot and Apx (the Distrobox-based subsystem).

  • Does it use OSTree?
    No. Vanilla OS achieves immutability through ABRoot [previously achieved through almost]. Usage of OSTree may be considered in the future.

    We wrote almost utility for On-Demand Immutability based on the immutability attribute of files. This approach worked on any partition schema/file system.

    We introduced a new utility ABRoot replacing the almost utility to provide full immutability and atomicity, by transacting between 2 root partitions (A⟺B). It also allows on-demand transactions via a transactional shell.

  • Rolling Release?
    No. Vanilla OS is a point release and follows the Ubuntu release cycle.

User Guides

Core Components Docs

  • Apx
    is a container-based package manager that allows installing packages from other distributions in a sandboxed environment.

  • ABRoot
    is a utility that allows fully atomic transactions between 2 root partitions (A⟺B).

  • VSO
    is a utility that allows you to perform maintenance tasks on your Vanilla OS installation.

  • Almost
    allows you to make your system immutable by simply toggling the i attribute of files.


  • Packaging
    apps for Vanilla OS requires some considerations and guidelines to be followed.