An innovative, immutable filesystem

Totally Relaxed

© Photo by Christine Donaldson on Unsplash

© Photo by Christine Donaldson on Unsplash

Article from Issue 253/2021
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With its immutable filesystem, rlxos prevents a broken system while simultaneously allowing changes via OverlayFS.

When it comes to the Linux distro scene, variety is unrivaled. Willing Linux users can choose from hundreds of distributions. Although this delights die-hard distro hoppers, others might find it too much to handle. While many distributions differ only in the minor details, the strategy behind rlxos [1], an immutable filesystem, is definitely not that of an off-the-shelf Linux distro.

Pronounced Relax OS, rlxos is one of the modern Linux derivatives with a progressive strategy (others include Fedora Silverblue, for example). The developers of Red Hat, Fedora, Endless OS, systemd, and the Gnome desktop see these strategies as the future of distributions, but this has not yet been universally accepted in the various communities.

Unbreakable System

In general, these strategies envisage immunizing the filesystem against vulnerability through updates by always replacing the complete image during updates. In tech speak, these systems are dubbed immutable (i.e., unchangeable). If something goes wrong during the update, the user can roll back to the previous image upon restarting GRUB. In addition, such distributions often prefer new package management systems, such as Flatpak or AppImage, over packages in the classic DEB and RPM formats or those maintained by the respective distributions.

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