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Getting Spectrum

To get Spectrum, you need to build it from source. As long as you’re running Linux[1] and have Nix and git installed, it’s very easy to do.

Before you start, consider setting up the Spectrum binary cache, which will save you a lot of time waiting for builds.

Trying Spectrum

If you want to try Spectrum out to get a feel for it, without installing it, you can run it in a development VM with some example applications.

git clone
cd spectrum/host/rootfs
nix-shell --run 'make run'

This builds just enough of Spectrum to try it out in a VM, but it will still take a very long time.

Installing Spectrum

To install Spectrum on a computer, you can use a USB drive as a bootable Spectrum installer device. When booting a system from the installer device, you will be able to choose whether to try out Spectrum without installing it on your system (as a live image), or to install it to your computer’s internal storage.

First, you need to build the Spectrum image:

git clone
nix-build spectrum/release/combined

If you haven’t set up the binary cache, this will take a very long time. When it’s done, a symbolic link named "result" will appear in the current directory, pointing to the installer image. Write that image to a USB drive, for example using dd (command line) or usbimager (graphical, available in Nixpkgs). Boot your system from the USB drive, and you should see a menu allowing you to choose between "Try Spectrum" and "Install Spectrum".

While it’s possible to install Spectrum to your internal storage, at this point in Spectrum’s development there is not much reason to, as OS updates are not yet implemented, and persistent storage is not yet exposed to VMs. Using the "Try Spectrum" option to boot Spectrum will let you try out everything in Spectrum, without having to go through the additional step of reinstalling Spectrum every time you want to use a newer version.
Do not use Spectrum for anything important or sensitive as it is not yet suitable for real-world use. Many important security properties are currently missing, and there is no procedure for updating to new versions—you have to reinstall the OS.

1. Building from other operating systems might work, but hasn’t been tested. Patches are welcome to support building from other operating systems, as long as they’re not too invasive.