For years, the traditional Linux operating system has been a top pick for its flexibility and ability to be customized. But as great as it is, there are use cases in which stricter security rules and higher reliability standards are needed. That’s where immutable Linux operating systems come in – offering a more secure and reliable option, especially in settings where security is paramount.
In this post, we’ll be addressing some common questions to help you understand the principles behind immutable operating systems. We’ll also be exploring the various solutions available and the challenges faced in this field. So, get ready to dive in!
I’m quite interested in this concept, as I feel it might be something the desktop Linux world is slowly moving towards. There’s considerable advantages, but also the risk of making the whole system far less flexible than desktop Linux is today.
My linux distro has this same immutable property. A union file system backed by a read only image that’s updated atomically. Back in the day this used to be based on AUFS before linux had a mainline union file system. These can mount writable file systems for data persistence, but the OS becomes one static image. There were lots of distros using this configuration but it’s best known for booting linux on live cds/dvds/thumb drives including knoppix, puppy linux, damn small linux, etc. Whatever you did to the environment, it was temporary and a reboot returns the OS to a known state.
This has pros and cons. On the one hand it is less flexible in terms of persisting modifications, but on the other hand it’s really hard to brick such a system and the ease, reliability, and security that come with atomic updates are quite beneficial.