Upgrading Custom Host OS with OpenBalena


What is the current status of custom Host OS upgrade in OpenBalena?

Most threads indicate that upgrading from a custom host OS is on the roadmap but not yet supported in OpenBalena.

I have seen this one stating that OS updates (not necessarily custom?) are possible but not using the dashboard (Mar 19): Roadmap for BalenaOS Updates in OpenBalena

And this one stating that Host OS upgrade is not supported (later in Sept 19): OS Upgrade in OpenBalena

So can the Host OS be upgraded using OpenBalena, and if so can it also be done using custom Host OS builds?

Thanks for any hints

Hi @travelina

We do not support Host OS upgrades in openBalena yet, so this is unfortunately not possible at this stage.

Kind regards

Hi Alida,

Thanks for the reply.

Does that mean that the upgrade described at the following link is no longer possible?

Many thanks

Hi there, I can see that there is some inconsistency in the statements the balena team have made on this subject. As far as I know, we don’t support Host OS updates as a core feature in openBalena, but it is possible (although in a unsupported way) by running a number of sub-commands on the Host. I’ll ask the team and find out what the exact situation is.

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Really keen to know about sub commands to update @lucianbuzzo !!! I suspected there may be a ‘hacky’ way to do this? Maybe customers could create a docker container that does something like:

  • If new base/host OS image is available download it
  • Check with is inactive partition
  • dd it onto partition
  • swap nextboot marker and reboot

Is there any vague idea when this functionality might make its way to openbalena? or is unlikley to ever? It’s the main thing thats blocking me from using balena in our projects.

Hello @gk1, please see this post regarding your questions: PSA: Host OS Updates & openBalena

The one from 2yrs ago? :confused:

hey @gk1,
not sure which post you are refering to from 2 years ago? The one Alan linked above is from Mar 17, 2020


Oh, haha, sorry! I interpreted it as March 2017!!!

So it sounds like there is work in progress to being this to OpenBalena - Are there steps that we could manually run ourselves to dd an image from our own servers onto the inactive partition to perform host OS update?

No, this is not something we support or can help with. Please read again the post linked above.