GNOME OS Migrates to Systemd-Sysupdate

GNOME OS's transition to systemd-sysupdate promises secure and swift updates for a safer, more consistent OS.

Everyone is familiar with GNOME but not so well with GNOME OS, so let’s first shed some light on it. It is not a full operating system in the traditional sense. Instead, it is a reference OS used primarily by developers to test and develop the GNOME desktop environment in real-time.

A key component of GNOME OS’s infrastructure is its use of OSTree, a tool that deploys and manages a read-only root filesystem. This setup allows for quick, delta-based updates and secure rollbacks, ensuring that even in its experimental phase, GNOME OS remains a robust environment for testing the latest innovations without risking system stability.

However, a transformative change is underway with the introduction of systemd-sysupdate, a new update mechanism that integrates deeply with systemd, the system, and the service manager for Linux operating systems.

What’s the main reason behind this move? Systemd-sysupdate promises to enhance security by providing a trust chain that extends from the bootloader upward, accessible both online and offline. Furthermore, it brings the benefits of an image-based design to GNOME OS, including immutability, automatic updates, adaptability, factory resets, and uniformity.

In light of this, as of October 2023, GNOME OS has been releasing images incorporating systemd-sysupdate, running alongside the traditional OSTree-based ones. This dual approach allows for a gradual migration and thorough testing of the new system before it becomes the default update mechanism.


To fully integrate systemd-sysupdate into the GNOME OS development process, developers have created a D-Bus service that allows non-privileged applications to manage updates. However, despite the progress, several challenges remain to fully leverage systemd-sysupdate’s potential.

Among these are the development of a plugin for the GNOME Software app to handle updates, the implementation of delta upgrades to optimize bandwidth and storage, and the ability to manage multiple versions of the OS simultaneously.

For more information, visit the official announcement.

Bobby Borisov

Bobby Borisov

Bobby, an editor-in-chief at Linuxiac, is a Linux professional with over 20 years of experience. With a strong focus on Linux and open-source software, he has worked as a Senior Linux System Administrator, Software Developer, and DevOps Engineer for small and large multinational companies.

Think You're an Ubuntu Expert? Let's Find Out!

Put your knowledge to the test in our lightning-fast Ubuntu quiz!
Ten questions to challenge yourself to see if you're a Linux legend or just a penguin in the making.

1 / 10

Ubuntu is an ancient African word that means:

2 / 10

Who is the Ubuntu's founder?

3 / 10

What year was the first official Ubuntu release?

4 / 10

What does the Ubuntu logo symbolize?

5 / 10

What package format does Ubuntu use for installing software?

6 / 10

When are Ubuntu's LTS versions released?

7 / 10

What is Unity?

8 / 10

What are Ubuntu versions named after?

9 / 10

What's Ubuntu Core?

10 / 10

Which Ubuntu version is Snap introduced?

The average score is 68%