appliancekit-ng /

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Copyright (c) 2012, 2013 TortoiseLabs, LLC.

This software is free but copyrighted, see for more details.


ApplianceKit has become unmaintainable. In addition, it depends on XML and exposes too much implementation details in the Python-based core.

By using an intermediate representation between the XML and what actually happens, it is possible to:

  • Implement all logic for bringing up a distribution as data, by using a stack machine to interpret the data.

  • Add new distributions by writing specfiles for them instead of entirely new classes of monolithic code in Python.

  • Eventually transition away entirely from using AXML.

intermediate representation

Most of what the ApplianceKit NG core does is:

  • Translate XML into IR, for example an XML file might be translated into this high-level IR, which will get compiled into lower-level IR.
{% extends "debian-6.spec" %}
{% set packages=['irssi'] %}
  • Translate high-level IR into low-level IR using translation rules as described in the base specfiles. You can use ak-compile or ak-compile-xml to view what the lowlevel IR parsetree looks like.

  • Compile a parse tree into bytecode and then run the bytecode to create the appliance filesystem.

For more information on the IR language, see


  • For Alpine: apk-tools.
  • For Debian or Ubuntu: debootstrap.
  • For CentOS, ScientificLinux, RHEL, openSUSE: rinse.