Fork me on GitHub

VMware Photon OS™

Minimal Linux Container Host

Fork Photon™

Track our progress in earning the Linux Foundation's Core Infrastructure Initiative's Best Practices Badge!

What is Photon OS™

Photon OS™ is a minimal Linux container host, optimized to run on VMware platforms. With the 1.0 release, we have greatly expanded the library of packages that are in our repository, making Photon OS™ more broadly applicable to a range of use-cases. We invite partners, customers and interested community members to collaborate on both running containerized applications in a virtualized environment and the potential of an operating system tightly coupled to underlying virtual infrastructure.

  • Optimized for vSphere - Leveraging more than a decade of experience validating guest operating systems, Photon OS is thoroughly validated on vSphere; and, because VMware is focused on the vSphere platform, we're able to highly tune the Photon OS kernel for VMware product and provider platforms.
  • Container support - Compatible with container runtimes, like Docker, and container scheduling frameworks, like Kubernetes.
  • Efficient lifecycle management - Contains a new, open-source, yum-compatible package manager - tdnf - that makes the system as small as possible, but preserves robust yum package management capabilities.

See the FAQ for more information.

Getting Photon OS™

The latest binary version is 1.0, Revision 2. These revised binaries build upon the expanded package library and guest OS validation on VMware platforms from the original 1.0 release. Revision 2 refreshes the binaries to include all the package updates that we’ve pulled in since 1.0. The new binaries will eliminate the need to update so many packages on a newly created instance. As with the original 1.0 release, we're offering pre-built ISO, OVA (for both virtual hardware v10 and virtual hardware v11), Amazon AMI and Google GCE-compatible images:

For the complete catalog of binaries available for download, along with checksums and previous binaries, please see Downloading Photon OS.

Getting Started

We've provided a few guides to help get you started over on our Photon OS™ GitHub Wiki


Photon OS™ is released as open source software and, presently, provides community support through our GitHub project page.If you encounter an issue or have a question, feel free to reach out via GitHub issues for Photon OS™.


The Photon project team welcomes contributions from the community. If you wish to contribute code and you have not signed our Contributor License Agreement (CLA), our CLA-bot will walk you through the process and update the issue when you open a Pull Request. For any questions about the CLA process, please refer to our FAQ or contact us through the GitHub issue tracker.


The ISO and OVA images are distributed under the VMware Photon OS™ EULA. Open source license information may be found in Photon OS™ Open Source License file.