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The SerenityOS Desktop as it was on October 22, 2022. In the screenshot you can see the Text Editor, the File Manager, the Terminal emulator and the Ladybird web browser. A CatDog is sitting on the text editor.
The SerenityOS Desktop
DeveloperAndreas Kling and the SerenityOS community
Written inSerenity C++
OS familyUnix-like
Working stateCurrent
Source modelOpen source
Initial releaseOctober 10, 2018; 5 years ago (2018-10-10)
Available inEnglish
Package managerPorts (as part of the build system)
Kernel typeMonolithic
user interface
Official websitewww.serenityos.org

SerenityOS is a free and open source desktop operating system that has been in continuous development since 2018. Initially the one-man project of Swedish programmer Andreas Kling, SerenityOS is now developed by a community of hobbyists. The system supports the x86-64 instruction set[1] (though work is currently at the early stages to support AArch64 and RISC-V[2]), features a preemptive kernel, and hosts multiple complex applications including its own web browser and integrated development environment (IDE).[3][4]


Buggie, the SerenityOS mascot

Andreas Kling previously worked at Nokia and later at Apple on the WebKit team.[5] He began developing the project in part to aid his recovery from addiction, and as such the name of the project derives from the Serenity Prayer.[6] Starting in 2021, Kling began working full-time on SerenityOS, supported by community donations.[6] On June 3rd, 2024, he stepped down from the project to work on the Ladybird browser.[7]


SerenityOS aims to be a modern Unix-like operating system, with a look and feel that emulates 1990s operating systems such as Microsoft Windows and Mac OS.[8] Incorporating third-party code into the system is discouraged. The web browser, for instance, does not use a pre-existing web engine such as WebKit, instead using its own known as LibWeb. There is a collection of ported software, such as GCC, Git and Doom, with varying levels of functionality.[9]

Development does not adhere to a release cycle; as such, there are no releases.[10] Additionally, no binary distributions are provided and prospects are expected to build the system from source.[11] The system is written in what the authors call "Serenity C++",[12] a variant of C++ that lacks exceptions and features its own standard library.[13]

The relative popularity of SerenityOS compared to other hobbyist systems is in part due to the modest success of Kling's YouTube channel, where he uploads videos of himself developing parts of the system alongside demos and monthly progress updates.[14]

Web browser[edit]

Previously, SerenityOS included the Ladybird browser, a browser built from the ground up. It includes a functional JavaScript engine, JIT compilation, a task manager, and support for CSS and C++. [15][16][17] Kling develops it alongside paid and volunteer contributors. On June 3rd, 2024, Kling announced his plans to fork Ladybird and begin development on the browser as a separate project.[7] Ladybird uses LibWeb and LibJS as its browser and JavaScript engines, respectively.[18][19]


Jim Salter of Ars Technica regarded the use of the ext2 file system as his least favorite feature of the operating system. Compared to TempleOS (another operating system well known in the hobbyist community), he considered it more accessible.[4] For less technical users that are looking for a mid–to–late 90s reminiscent visual style, the Xfce Chicago95 theme or the Redmond Project has been recommended instead.[20]


  1. ^ "SerenityOS update (December 2022)". YouTube.
  2. ^ "SerenityOS update (April 2024)". YouTube.
  3. ^ Kling, Andreas. "SerenityOS". Retrieved 2021-08-26.
  4. ^ a b Salter, Jim (2021-08-18). "Not-a-Linux distro review: SerenityOS is a Unix-y love letter to the '90s". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on 2021-08-21. Retrieved 2021-08-18.
  5. ^ Proven, Liam. "SerenityOS: A remarkable achievement for a small project". The Register. Retrieved 2023-05-19.
  6. ^ a b Kling, Andreas (2021-05-28). "I quit my job to focus on SerenityOS full time".
  7. ^ a b Kling, Andreas (2024-06-03). "I'm forking Ladybird and stepping down as SerenityOS BDFL". Andreas Kling. Retrieved 2024-06-04.
  8. ^ TIVI. "Ohjelmoija kehitti c++:lla uuden käyttöjärjestelmän, joka jäljittelee 1990-lukua". Tivi (in Finnish). Archived from the original on 2020-05-16. Retrieved 2021-08-18.
  9. ^ "serenity/Ports at master · SerenityOS/serenity". GitHub. Retrieved 2021-10-07.
  10. ^ "Releases · SerenityOS/serenity". GitHub. Retrieved 2021-10-07.
  11. ^ "Where are the ISO images?" in: serenity/FAQ.md, SerenityOS, 2021-10-07, retrieved 2021-10-07
  12. ^ Documentation/CodingStyle.md, SerenityOS, 2021-10-07, retrieved 2021-10-07
  13. ^ Kazakova, Anastasia (2021-11-12). "Talking to SerenityOS Contributors About a Scratch-built C++ Developer's Playground in Modern C++". blog.jetbrains.com. Archived from the original on 2023-12-22. Retrieved 2024-01-13.
  14. ^ Gregori, Sven (2020-02-24). "Reaching Serenity: Porting Git To A Homebrew Operating System". Hackaday. Archived from the original on 2020-02-24. Retrieved 2021-08-18.
  15. ^ Proven, Liam. "Serenity OS browser, Ladybird, now cross-platform". The Register. Retrieved 2024-04-06.
  16. ^ By (2023-10-10). "Jenny's Daily Drivers: SerenityOS, And In Particular, Ladybird". Hackaday. Retrieved 2024-04-06.
  17. ^ Andreas Kling (2024-04-30). Ladybird browser update (April 2024). Retrieved 2024-05-27 – via YouTube.
  18. ^ "GitHub - LadybirdWebBrowser/ladybird: Truly independent web browser". GitHub. Retrieved 2024-06-08.
  19. ^ "Ladybird browser spreads its wings". LWN.net.
  20. ^ Beschizza, Rob (2021-08-17). "A refined 90s-style operating system you can actually use". Boing Boing. Archived from the original on 2021-08-21. Retrieved 2021-08-18.

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