Skip to content
A kernel designed to run one and only one application in a virtualized environment
C Makefile Shell Assembly Go C++ Other
Branch: master
Clone or download
Latest commit 1595117 Aug 21, 2019



Nanos is a new kernel designed to run one and only one application in a virtualized environment. It has several constraints on it compared to a general purpose operating system such as Windows or Linux - namely it's a single process system with no support for running multiple programs nor does it have the concept of users or remote administration via ssh.

Read more about the Nanos Charter here.


It is highly encouraged to use ops to build and run your applications using Nanos unless you are planning on modifying Nanos. OPS provides sensible defaults for most users and incorporates our understanding of how to appropriately best use Nanos. It is also currently highly coupled to Nanos.

If you are running in a vm already (which is a bad idea) you'll need to specify that you don't want hardware acceleration. For instance you can run Nanos in virtualbox on a mac but it will be slow and hard to configure.

You can build and run on mac and linux. Nanos supports KVM on linux and HVF on osx currently for acceleration. OPS has facilities to deploy to the public clouds (AWS/GCE).

To build:

make run no-accel


To run tests:

make test-noaccel

Development Running Instructions

For Nanos try running the first example first:

make run

To try a different target currently found in examples/ you can:

  1. cp the manifest file to target.manifest
  2. add your code and set a target in examples/Makefile
TARGET=mynewtarget make run

You may also wish to use to develop locally. If that's the case a commonly used idiom is to simply copy the 3 required files to an appropriate release:

cp output/mkfs/bin/mkfs ~/.ops/0.1.17/.
cp output/boot/boot.img ~/.ops/0.1.17/.
cp output/stage3/bin/stage3.img ~/.ops/0.1.17/.


Pull Requests

We accept pull requests as long as it conforms to our style and stated goals. We may reject prs if they violate either of these conditions.

If you are planning on spending more than a day to fix something it's probably wise to approach the topic in an issue with your planned fix before commiting to work.

Also, NanoVMs has paid kernel engineers with internal roadmaps so it's wise to check in with us first before grabbing a tkt. Tickets tagged 'low-priority' have a lower probability of collision.

Reporting Bugs

Please scan the issue list first to see if we are already tracking the bug.

Please attach debugging output ('-d' in ops). Please provide the config.json and anything else that allows us to reproduce the issue.


TFS is the current filesystem utilized by Nanos.

Optional Manifest Debugging Flags

thread tracing:

futex_trace: t

syscall tracing:

debugsyscalls: t


fault: t

Read more about Security here.


Debugging Help

Manual Networking Setup

Build Envs

Reference Materials

You can’t perform that action at this time.