HydrOS: A massively fault tolerant operating system

HydrOS is a multikernel research operating system written to withstand complete software failure, as well as partial hardware failure, in Erlang. HydrOS uses the multikernel model to seperate a multicore computer into a set of individual computing nodes, each capable of withstanding the failure of the others.

Each node runs a lightly modified BEAM virtual machine as it's kernel, with the operating system and hosted programs written in Erlang.

An introductory talk about the project (presented at the Erlang User Conference 2016) can be viewed here.

Try it out

Download the latest version (version 0.3-BETA-1.684) here.

Once the image is unpacked, simply start it in a supported virtual machine (examples listed below), or write the image to a USB stick and run it on a real computer. Please note that this is research software, not yet ready for real use. You should only try it out on real hardware if you are not afraid for it to be bricked (although we don't envision this happening). Using the OS in an emulated environment is strongly adviced.

Host Requirements

HydrOS runs on all physical machines tested. It has also been tested in the following virtual environments:

Unfortunately, VirtualBox is not supported at this time.


  1. Please download the latest source archive here.
  2. Build a cross-compiler toolchain that targets x86_64-unknown-elf with crosstool-ng
  3. Run make in the HydrOS root directory.
  4. Either write the build/hydros.img file to a USB drive for testing, or run the OS in a virtual machine.


HydrOS bootable images and source code are both made available under the GPL v3 license.

Keep up to date

Join our mailing list to hear about new releases of HydrOS. We will not to give your email address to any third parties, aside our list manager, MailChimp.

Contact us

Please send feedback, thoughts and suggestions to 'secw2 (the at sign here) kent (dot) ac (dot) uk'.