Differentiating NS8 from other projects

Looking through some other open-source projects (mainly through some of the scripts at Proxmox VE Helper Scripts | Scripts for Streamlining Your Homelab with Proxmox VE), I’m seeing a few other projects that sound a lot like NS8, in that:

  • They’re all container-based for their various plug-in applications
  • They’re all designed to make it easy to a small organization to self-host its own server
  • They all include a variety of popular web applications that users may want to be accessible on the Internet

Three that I’ve seen, in no particular order, are:


I’m not taking these to be “competitors” to NS8 as such, but they all seem to overlap with it to some degree. One obvious distinction is that, AFAIK, none of these supports any sort of clustering, which NS8 of course does. But I’d be interested in how Nethesis sees NS8 compared to these (and perhaps other OSs/distros that don’t readily come to mind): as direct competitors? If so, how is NS8 better? Or if they’re seen as fundamentally addressing different needs, in what way?

One distinction I see is that none of them appear to have a mail server available. Yunohost offers several webmail clients (including Roundcube and SOGo) but no server that I can see; the others don’t seem to do email at all. Yunohost’s email server is built-in, not an add-on package. The webmail clients are still add-ons. Still don’t see mail for CasaOS or Umbrel. Umbrel seems to have a lot of apps dealing with Bitcoin and other cryptos; both it and CasaOS offer the *arr suite and other media apps.


For the last ~3 years I was running both a NethServer instance and a YunoHost instance. I spent the last two weekends moving everything from my YunoHost to containers on my NethServer.

YunoHost looks attractive at first and it indeed has sleek app installation and configuration system. The problem is the list of apps is small, and getting smaller every day. There there used to be a problem of installing an app only to find out it’s old and unsupported, and now you won’t see that app at all because they’re being more aggressive about removing them from their library. Aside from this, YunoHost doesn’t “feel” like a server. It’s more of a “I want this app in a few clicks” with everything else done automatically in the back end. Once you want to do anything custom beyond that, it becomes very difficult. Also, while the patching system looks cleaner than NethServer, I’ve had more issues with upgrades on YunoHost than on Neth.

Another option I’ve had my eye on is https://www.freedombox.org/ . The main issue with it is it’s more focused on self-hosting “end-user” services like search, chat, torrents, etc. Not server things like mail, files, and so on.

There’s also https://www.cloudron.io/ , but I’ve been turned off by their pricing model.

To me, Neth’s unique offering is that it remains a full-fledged server that happens to have a decent set of apps that you can easily install. For most of the other sevices, it’s the opposite: they’re a decent set of apps that happen to be on a server - often giving you limited access to that server.

Thanks for the tip on CasaOS and Umbrel. They look interesting and I’ll bookmark them for later. :slight_smile:

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@djx your experience is for NethServer 7 or “the project formerly known as NS8”?

Good question. My experience is just for NethServer 7. I haven’t touched 8 yet, but I am eager to see it in production.

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Many thanks for the link.
Thanks to the help of @Andy_Wismer i am now also running a ProxmoxVE to learn Linux and get away from Windows in the long run. Some of the tools from the link are really helpful.



That’s an interesting question!
I do think that we can understand better what ns8 is and what differentiates it, by looking to other competitors. Not just technology but in terms of benefits to the end user/sysadmin

It looks like those projects are for home users… what about businesses? Cloudtron is a bit business oriented as well.
Is there something similar to NS8? Openshift?

I’d largely agree with respect to CasaOS and Umbrel; I don’t think that’s the case for Yunohost, though–it seems to line up much better with a business/organizational use case, at least based on their documentation. Not sure about Freedombox yet, but it does include email as a feature, which appears to set it apart from CasaOS and Umbrel.

I don’t have any real thought of moving to any other platform–just as the migration from SME brought me to NS7, the availability of migration to NS8 will likely keep me there. I don’t want to even think about migrating my users’ email and Nextcloud data somewhere else manually. But I think it’s important that Nethesis figure out where they sit in comparison to those other projects, and be pretty clear about it. Some users’ needs may be better served by, say, CasaOS, but we ought to know what we’re trying to target with NS8 and how it compares.

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That’s an important question! For this reason your work so far is very useful. If you find any project/product to compare please report to us

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Well, let’s see what a feature comparison shows. This is incomplete; I’ll try to work more on it, but here’s what I have so far. The :x: is for features known to not be present, the :white_check_mark: is for features known to be present, and blank represents unknown at this time:

CasaOS Umbrel Yunohost FreedomBox NS8
Cluster :x: :x: :x: :x: :white_check_mark:
Mail Server :x: :x: :white_check_mark: :white_check_mark: :white_check_mark:
OpenLDAP Server :x: :x: :white_check_mark: :x: :white_check_mark:
Active Directory Server :x: :x: :x: :x: :white_check_mark:
Wiki :x: :white_check_mark: Wiki.js :white_check_mark: Wiki.js, Dokuwiki, many others :white_check_mark: MediaWiki, ikiwiki :white_check_mark: Dokuwiki
Chat server :x: :white_check_mark: Synapse :white_check_mark: Synapse :white_check_mark: Synapse, ejabberd :white_check_mark: mattermost, ejabberd
Git hosting :x: :white_check_mark: Gitea :white_check_mark: Gitea, Gogs, GitLab :white_check_mark: Gitweb
Nextcloud :white_check_mark: :white_check_mark: :white_check_mark: :x: :white_check_mark:
eCommerce :x: :white_check_mark: Agora, Invoice Ninja :white_check_mark: Abantecart :x: :x:
SMB Server :x: :x: :x :white_check_mark: :white_check_mark:
S3 Server :x: :x: :white_check_mark: :x: :white_check_mark:
Media server :white_check_mark: Plex, Emby, Jellyfin :white_check_mark: Plex, Jellyfin :white_check_mark: Jellyfin :white_check_mark: MiniDLNA :x:
DNS Service :white_check_mark: Pi-hole :white_check_mark: AdGuard Home, Technitium, Pi-hole
Social networking :x: :x: :white_check_mark: Multiple Fediverse servers :x: :x:
Web CMS :x: :x: :white_check_mark: Drupal, Joomla, Wordpress :white_check_mark: Wordpress :x:
Cryptocurrency :x: :white_check_mark: Bitcoin node and related :white_check_mark: Duniter, ZeroNet :x: :x:

NS8 already ships both Ejabberd and Mattermost

…and I think it’s going to fill the gap on what’s missing!

:thinking: improving our offer in this field could attract developers


been using funkwhale as a media/sound server on NS7 for quite a while… its great! just saying :wink:


Another one I ran across this morning is StartOS:

The focus of this one, like CasaOS, appears to be more personal than SMB. It’s got some crypto apps available (Bitcoin). Looks like it does Matrix, Jellyfin, Nextcloud, Vaultwarden, not sure what (if any) other apps are available.


i had suggested Gitlab as an instalaltion into Nethserver, together with intergation to the builtin AD or Ldap that NS already offers.

on the other hand, i hope that @danb35 ports his LLNG module into Nethserver, then would have alot more options.

On the other hand, i hope the Dev team implements Matrix and or synapse, or Dendrite, when it becomes available, since its more lightweight, from their githib page, it will soon be feature parity with synapse.
Especially with its fantastic and wodnerful bridges baked in, or checkbox option during installation or after installation.

Overall, there are alot of things that Nethserver does right compared to all other solutions.

I hope in the NS8 the dev teams make it easier to port from OpenSource to the Enterpirse version, just by adding a license Key, as opposed to current NS7 implementation. not sure how they are tackling this case.