Free and Open Source – VMware PhotonOS 5.0

VMware PhotonOS 5.0 is the latest release of VMware Operating System and released with new features and enhancements recently. It’s available as ISO images and virtual appliance to download.

What’s New in VMware PhotonOS 5.0?

VMware PhotonOS is the one of best operating systems for hosting different services and hosting containers. Recently, VMware has released PhotonOS 5.0 and this new release has lots of enhancements and new features.

Photon OS 5.0 provides enhancements in Network Configuration Manager, PMD-nextgen, Container Runtime Security, Linux Real-Time Kernel, and TDNF Features. The release introduces the Photon OS Container Builder tool. This release of Photon OS also supports XFS and BTRFS filesystems, Control Group V2, ARM64 on Linux-esx kernel, PostgreSQL. It contains installer improvements and critical updates to the OSS packages including Linux kernel version updates.

VMware PhotonOS

Enhancements in Network Configuration Manager

You can now use Network Configuration Manager to perform the following tasks:

  • Configure multiple routes and addresses section
  • Configure WireGuard
  • Configure SR-IOV
  • Create NetDev, VLAN, VXLAN, Bridge, Bond, VETH (Virtual Ethernet), MacVLAN/MacVTap, IPvlan/IPvtap, tunnels (IPIP, SIT, GRE, VTI)
  • Create, configure, and remove virtual network devices
  • Generate more flexible netplan like network configuration from a YAML file

You can run query or configure the following parameters of network devices:

  • Alias, Description, MTUBytes, WakeOnLan, WakeOnLanPassword, Port, BitsPerSecond, Duplex and Advertise
  • Offload parameters and other features
  • MACAddressPolicy or MACAddress
  • NamePolicy or Name
  • AlternativeNamesPolicy or AlternativeName
  • Pending packets receive a buffer
  • Queue size
  • Flow control
  • GSO
  • Channels
  • Coalesce
  • Coalesced frames
  • Coalesce packet rate

PMD-Nextgen Enhancement

The capabilities to configure the following options are added to pmd-nextgen:

  • Configure system hostname
  • Configure network sriov
  • Configure Tun
  • Configure Tap
  • Configure TLS


Network-event-broker now supports emitting network data in JSON format.

Photon OS Container Builder

The cntrctl tool in Photon OS 5.0 allows you to build a lightweight Photon OS container.

Kernel-Version Update:

The following Kernel flavors are updated to kernel version 6.1.10 in Photon OS:

  • Linux
  • Linux-esx
  • Linux-secure
  • Linux-rt

Support for New Filesystems

Support is added for the following filesystems in Photon OS:

  • XFS: With the support of the XFS filesystem, you can implement an environment that requires high performance, and scalability for data-intensive tasks.
  • BTRFS: You can use the BTRFS filesystem for high performance, better reliability, and efficient data storage capabilities.

Support for Control Group V2

cgroup v2 is now available in Photon OS. With cgroup v2, you get improved resource management capabilities, a unified hierarchy scheme, and a safer sub-tree delegation to containers. Features like Pressure Stall Information and rootless containers in cgroup v2 ensure better management and security capabilities of the control groups.

Support for Kernel Live Patching

With Kernel Live Patching, an administrator can patch a running kernel without rebooting.

Enhanced Container Runtime Security

To improve the runtime security of the containers, the following enhancements are added to Photon OS:

  • Support for SELinux policy: You can now enable and configure the SELinux policy to manage access to files, directories, and other system resources. This drastically reduces the risk of a security breach.
  • Support for rootless containers: Photon OS supports rootless containers. An unprivileged user can now create and manage containers. Since unprivileged users do not have root privileges on the host machine, it prevents any security threat to the host machine.

Improved Linux Real-Time Kernel

The linux-rt kernel flavor comes with improvements such as low-latency optimizations, stability enhancements, and debugging enhancements. Linux-rt now also supports the Intel Sapphire Rapids CPUs including the Telco-specific 5G ISA.

Support for ARM64

Support for ARM64 is now available for the linux-esx kernel in Photon OS.

PostgreSQL versions

The following PostgreSQL versions are supported on Photon OS:

  • PostgreSQL 13
  • PostgreSQL 14
  • PostgreSQL 15

TDNF Feature Enhancements

The metalink functionality in tdnf is now available as a plugin. In tdnf, support is added for the following:

  • history (listrollbackundo and redo)
  • mark command
  • checking the available cache size of a download
  • multiple base URLs
  • --skip-broken option
  • --alldeps option when downloading
  • --testonly option
  • --nodeps option for --downloadonly
  • --source and --builddeps options
  • dnf_check_update_compat config file option
  • support for tsflags=nodocs
  • --repofromdir option
  • --arch option to repoquery
  • Configuration tool: Set of commands to change tdnf’s configuration files and repository files.

OVA Updates

UEFI OVA is built with hardware version 15.

Installer and Build System Updates

  • Support Pre-install script in photon installer
  • Command line tool is available to generate a custom initial RAM disk (initrd), custom installer ISO and custom RPM-OSTree ISO.
  • Support is added for the following features in Kickstart:
    • sizepercent: specifies the size of the partition in percent of the total disk space.
    • repos: Specifies the RPM repositories to install the RPMs.
  • Support for A/B Partition System: Photon OS 5.0 supports seamless updates and rollback with the A/B storage partition system.
  • Kickstart Network Configuration: Improved flexibility for network configuration that allows multiple interfaces and facilitates better handling of the VLAN interfaces.

Package Updates

The following OS packages are updated:

  • Linux kernel 6.1.10
  • Gcc : 12.2
  • Glibc 2.36
  • Systemd 253
  • Python3 3.11
  • Openjdk : 11 and 17
  • Openssl : 3.0.8
  • Cloud-init: 23.1.1
  • Rubygem: 3.1.2
  • Perl: 5.36
  • Kubernetes 1.26.1
  • Go 1.20.2

Further Reading

VMware Photon OS – Best OS for Kubernetes and Container Host

VMware Cloud Native Application | Photon Platform

Davoud Teimouri

Professional blogger, vExpert 2015/2016/2017/2018/2019/2020/2021/2022/2023, vExpert NSX, vExpert PRO, vExpert Security, vExpert EUC, VCA, MCITP. This blog is started with simple posts and now, it has large following readers.

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