Packaging is the process of creating a package for a software or library, so that it can be installed on a distribution. Vanilla OS has a unconventional root filesystem layout, which requires some considerations and guidelines to be followed.

When to Package?

Vanilla OS is a transactional distribution, which means that it receives updates through transactions. The process is handled by ABRoot, which requires a reboot to apply the changes. This means that the user will have to reboot the system after installing a package, and this is not ideal. Also the root partition is very small, this is intentional to prevent the user from installing too many packages, which would expose the system to security vulnerabilities and complexity during the transactions.

For these reasons, it is recommended to package only essential software and libraries. To better understand what is essential, you can check the following table:

Software Essential Reason
Chromium No It is a web browser, which is not essential for the system and can be installed via Apx, Flatpak, Snap or AppImage.
fuse Yes This is a device driver, which is essential for AppImage to work, and must be also installed from outside the Apx container.
GIMP No It is a graphics editor, which is not essential for the system and can be installed via Apx, Flatpak, Snap or AppImage.

Packaging Guidelines

This section is organized in multiple subsections, each one describing a different aspect of the packaging process.


There are no restrictions on the name of the package, but it is recommended to use the same name as the upstream project. I.e. if the upstream project is called foo, the package should be called foo, and not bar. This is important because it allows the user to easily identify the package.


The version of the package should be the same as the upstream version, with minor changes if needed. For example, if the upstream version is 1.2.3, the package version should be 1.2.3, and not 2.0.0. If the package has some minor changes, the version should be 1.2.3-1, 1.2.3-2, etc. The version must never go backwards or forwards the upstream version.


Some applications require a lot of storage, and this can be a problem for Vanilla OS, which has a small root partition. If the application cannot be installed in the Apx container or any other way, it is recommended to edit its behavior to locate its data in the user’s home directory or in the /home partition, which has a lot more storage.

This is also a good practice, since it allows the user to easily backup the data of the application, and also to easily remove the application without losing the data.