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Rancher Announces Kubernetes Operating System k3OS

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Rancher developers, who specialize in container management tools, want to break new ground with the announcement of the Kubernetes operating system k3OS. So far, Rancher has relied on established Linux distributions such as Ubuntu, CentOS and RHEL as the basis for container management. With the new open-source project k3OS, the Rancher team is now launching its own Linux distribution, which is integrated directly with Kubernetes.

Due to the closer integration of container orchestration and operating system platform, the costly separate patching and upgrading of Kubernetes and Linux will no longer be necessary. For this purpose, Rancher links the “slim” Kubernetes distribution k3s introduced in February with the Ubuntu kernel and the tooling and packaging of Alpine Linux to the Kubernetes operating system k3OS. By eliminating typical Linux components such as the Init System systemd or its own Package Manager, which are not required for the operation of Kubernetes, k3OS is more compact and is particularly suitable for edge computing and embedded scenarios.

With k3OS, users even have the option of managing Linux directly from Kubernetes – there is no need to log in to any server for management purposes. Reconfigurations and upgrades of the entire Kubernetes cluster can be initiated directly with the kubectl command.

However, according to Rancher, there is also a risk of missing Kubernetes’ potentially patchy CVEs in the underlying Linux, which could become a security issue for the cluster.

When booting a k3OS node, Kubernetes starts automatically. Several k3OS nodes also automatically connect to a Kubernetes cluster. The central management of the nodes as well as the k3s clusters can also be done with Rancher Version 2.0 or higher.

Interested developers can find the pre-release version 0.1.0 on GitHub.

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