What is arkOS?

arkOS has been discontinued. This page is maintained here for archival purposes only. Software found here is offered as-is, and source code is available on Github. For more information, see the blog.

arkOS is a system for securely self-hosting your online life from the comfort of your home.

It is a flavour of Arch Linux ARM with a focus on easy self-hosting of a variety of content. It allows you to easily host your own website, email, "cloud" and more, all within arm's reach. It does this by interfacing with existing software and allowing the user to easily update and change settings with a graphical interface. No more need to depend on external cloud services, which can be insecure "walled gardens" that require you to give up control over your data.

arkOS has several different components that come together to make a seamless self-hosting experience possible on your embedded device or dedicated server. Each of these components will work with each other out-of-the-box, allowing you to host your websites, email, social networking accounts, cloud services, and many other things from your arkOS node.

Built for embedded devices.

arkOS is primarily an operating system for embedded devices. In fact, arkOS was initially designed for use on the Raspberry Pi, which is a simple single-board computer not much bigger than a credit card. Embedded devices are prized for their relatively low cost (usually less than $100), their availability, and their general-purpose nature. Other embedded devices boast more impressive specifications, enabling you to pay only for the performance you need. Choose the device that works best for you!

Easy to set up.

Download one of our easy installation programs and run it on your home computer. It will guide you through the process of downloading and installing arkOS to whichever type of media your embedded device supports. Setting up a home server couldn't be simpler.

Get connected.

Plug the installation media into your device, plug the device into your home router, and you're ready to host your own files, sites and cloud data. arkOS works right out of the box. Connect to the device via your home computer, and finish installing and customizing your arkOS node.

Easily managed from your browser window.

arkOS allows you to stay on top of your online life from an easy-to-navigate web panel. From here, you can easily install new applications, upload files, manage your cloud, update your system and much more. You can monitor the health of your system and get alerts if a problem occurs. arkOS can even back up your information, encrypt and store it offsite in case you need to roll back some changes.

Open and fully extensible.

arkOS is open source, meaning that any developer can take a look inside and tweak it to their liking, or submit improvements for everyone to enjoy. It has an open application architecture, so new functionalities can be easily developed and included in the arkOS App Store. A full REST API allows you to network your servers, remotely control them with your own software... the possibilities are endless!

What do I need to get started?

1. Pick up a compatible device.

arkOS must run on a dedicated computer that can be always on and connected to the Internet. A cheap and energy-efficient option is an embedded single-board computer like the Raspberry Pi or the Cubietruck. arkOS can also support full-sized computers, perfect for that old system that is gathering dust in your closet!

2. Download the arkOS Assistant.

The arkOS Assistant is your gateway to your arkOS device. It runs on your home desktop or laptop, and allows you to install arkOS to installation media that is required for the target device. It will also easily get you connected to your device once the installation process is complete. Advanced users can also download and flash images manually.

3. Install, plug and play!

We have handy documentation to guide you every step of the way, no matter what options you choose for your setup. And if you get hung up anywhere, our friendly community is always here to help!

Raspberry Pi is a trademark of the Raspberry Pi Foundation.