Get Started

Installing and compiling IncludeOS.

Installing IncludeOS on a Mac or Linux computer is relatively straightforward. It does require a few libraries and a compiler. Once installed you can build and launch IncludeOS applications locally.

Set custom location and compiler

By default the project is installed to /usr/local/includeos.

However, it is recommended to choose a custom location as well as select the compiler we want clang to find. In this document we assume you install IncludeOS in your home directory, in the folder ~/includeos.

To do this we can edit ~/.bash_profile (mac os) or ~/.bashrc (linux), adding these lines at the end of the file:

    export INCLUDEOS_PREFIX=~/includeos/

This will also crucially make the boot program visible globally, so that you can simply run boot <myservice> inside any service folder.

Install libraries

If you want to install IncludeOS on Mac OS you’ll need a working installation of Homebrew so the install script can install its dependencies.

NOTE: The script will install packages.

    $ git clone ""
    $ cd IncludeOS
    $ ./

The script will:

  • Install the required dependencies: curl make clang-3.8 nasm bridge-utils qemu.
  • Create a network bridge called bridge43, for tap-networking.
  • Build IncludeOS with CMake:
    • Download the latest binary release bundle from github together with the required git submodules.
    • Unzip the bundle to the current build directory.
    • Build several tools used with IncludeOS, including vmbuilder, which turns your service into a bootable image.
    • Install everything in $INCLUDEOS_PREFIX/includeos (defaults to /usr/local).

Configuration of your IncludeOS installation can be done inside build/ with ccmake ...

Testing the installation

A successful setup enables you to build and run a virtual machine. There are a few demonstration services in the source folder. If you look in the examples/ folder you see these. If you enter demo_service and type boot --create-bridge . this script will build the service and boot it using qemu.

    $ cd examples/demo_service
    $ boot --create-bridge .

will build and run this example service. You can visit the service on

More information is available on the wiki.

Writing your first service

  1. Copy the seed/service directory to a convenient location like ~/your_service. Then, just start implementing the Service::start function in the Service class, located in your_service/service.cpp (very simple example provided). This function will be called once the OS is up and running.
  2. Update the your_service/CMakeLists.txt to specify the name of your project, enable any needed drivers or plugins, etc.


    $ cp -r seed/service ~/my_service
    $ cd ~/my_service
    $ emacs service.cpp
    ... add your code
    $ mkdir build && cd build
    $ cmake ..
    $ make
    $ boot my_service

Take a look at the examples and tests in the examples and tests directories. These all started out as copies of the same seed.