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Project Photon OS™ by VMware

Container-Optimized Linux Operating System

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What is Photon OS

Project Photon OS™ is an open source minimal Linux container host optimized for cloud-native applications, cloud platforms, and VMware infrastructure. Photon OS 2.0 includes new security features, OS management capabilities, and updated packages. We invite partners, customers, and community members to collaborate on using Photon OS to run high-performance virtual machines and containerized applications.

  • Optimized for VMware vSphere®: The Linux kernel is tuned for performance when Photon OS runs on vSphere.
  • Support for containers: Photon OS includes the Docker daemon and works with container orchestration frameworks, such as Mesos and Kubernetes.
  • Efficient lifecycle management: Photon OS is easy to manage, patch, and update.
  • Security hardened: The kernel and other aspects of the operating system are built with an emphasis on security.

For more information, see the datasheet.

Getting Photon OS

The latest binary version is 2.0. The latest version builds on the expanded package library and guest OS validation on VMware platforms from the original 1.0 release. Photon OS comes in a variety of pre-built, cloud-ready images:

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

Getting Started

To help get you started, see the guides on the Photon OS GitHub Wiki.


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


The Photon project team welcomes contributions from the community. If you would like 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 questions about the CLA process, see the FAQ or submit a question 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 the in Photon OS Open Source License file.