Bringing distros together on the same desktop


© Photo by Daniel Olah on Unsplash

© Photo by Daniel Olah on Unsplash

Article from Issue 276/2023

blendOS uses container technology to allow different distributions to coexist on a single desktop environment. Bruce talks to Rudra Saraswat, blendOS's 13-year-old developer.

Although several hundred Linux distributions already exist, new technologies and purposes are constantly spurring the creation of more. One of the most ambitious new efforts to emerge recently is blendOS [1], which uses container technology to allow packages from different distributions, as well as Android, to coexist in a single desktop environment (Figure 1). The result is ideal both for developers who package for different distributions and for everyday users who want the latest releases.

As I write, blendOS is little more than a year old, with the latest version released in May 2023. Based on Arch Linux, blendOS currently supports Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, Arch Linux, Kali Linux, AlmaLinux, and Rocky Linux, with the potential to support even more distributions. blendOS also features a minimalist install (Figure 2), graphical tools to create containers and connect to Android stores, and clear and comprehensive online documentation [2].

blendOS was created by Rudra Saraswat (Figure 3), a 13-year-old developer who is also involved in the continued development of Unity, the desktop discontinued by Ubuntu, as well as its port to Arch Linux, plus Gamebuntu, Ubuntu Web, Ubuntu Remixes, UbuntuEd, an alternative Snap store called lol, and una, a version of Arch's AUR for Ubuntu and Debian. In many ways, blendOS can be seen as a natural development of Saraswat's other efforts at cross-distribution development. Fortunately, Saraswat was finishing exams when contacted, so he had time to briefly answer questions.


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