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AppImage: Linux apps that run anywhere


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#1 raw

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 10:59 AM

 

"As a user, I want to download an application from the original author, and run it on my Linux desktop system just like I would do with a Windows or Mac application."

 

"As an application author, I want to provide packages for Linux desktop systems, without the need to get it 'into' a distribution and without having to build for gazillions of different distributions."

 

 

 

Download an application, make it executable, and run! No need to install. No system libraries or system preferences are altered.

 

http://appimage.org/


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#2 Guest_GNULINUX_*

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 01:00 PM

"Download an application, make it executable, and run!"

 

It makes Linux more like Windows/Apple, I'm not sure if that's a good idea?

Well at least this doesn't need root permissions to run (as far as I can see)...

 

More info about AppImageKit.

 

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#3 Gary R

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Posted 28 February 2016 - 02:04 AM

"Download an application, make it executable, and run!"

 

It makes Linux more like Windows/Apple, I'm not sure if that's a good idea?

Well at least this doesn't need root permissions to run (as far as I can see)...

 

More info about AppImageKit.

 

Greets!

 

Yes, from a security standpoint, I'm not sure that having Linux users download programs from a number of unverifiable sources is a particularly good thing.

 

On the positive side though they're free standing, so as things stand I can't see yet how they can make system changes, so any danger they pose should be easily dealt with by just deleting the appropriate file.



#4 cat1092

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Posted 28 February 2016 - 02:42 AM

Must be something to this, being that Linus Torvalds has stated "This is just very cool". :thumbup2:

 

Surely Richard Stallman, who has a long history with feuding with Linus, will have a lot of negatives to say about this (with him, everything must be free, zero proprietary), yet for Linus to endorse the idea surprised me. If he backs the idea, then that's enough of a reason to at least give it a shot. 

 

If there were anything about the idea that would threaten the Linux OS, Linus would have stood his ground & not endorsed it, on the other hand, saying that an idea is 'cool' and 100% acceptance are two different things. Having read a lot about Linus, if this were a scam or threat to security, I feel that he would had uttered words that I cannot say on the open forum to describe AppImage. 

 

That said, hopefully I can finally get my printer to work via the USB port on my router. There's a Windows & Mac app for this, just install, turn on the printer, double click the Linksys provided app (USB Control Center), and in about 20 seconds, provided the printer's drivers are installed, it's available for use. Have tried every trick in the book, even have a Topic about it on this forum, but no cigar. CUPS, which is Apple software for Linux/Unix printing, doesn't make it work, though kind of oddly, get a couple of meaningless updates per month for the software. 

 

Maybe this will get the job done. :)

 

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Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 


#5 NickAu

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Posted 28 February 2016 - 03:07 PM

 

Yes, from a security standpoint, I'm not sure that having Linux users download programs from a number of unverifiable sources is a particularly good thing.

I agree.


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#6 cat1092

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Posted 29 February 2016 - 05:34 AM

I have doubts that AppImage will allow one just to run any software, especially those w/out a digital signature, on Linux. 

 

Chances are that there'll be limitations as to what one can & can't run. Otherwise, we have WINE, which is by far, a less secure way to run Windows software on Linux. This software appears to be geared towards Linux distributors than the average user & it's not clear if this is a 'Portable Apps' type of software, limited to those chosen by the distro maintainer, or if more can be added. The quote below points this towards distro maintainers & not end users, though both may benefit from AppImage. 

 

 

 

Distribute your desktop Linux application in the AppImage format and win users running all common Linux distributions. Package once and run everywhere. Reach users on all major desktop distributions.

 

Does that quote appear to be geared towards a newbie to Linux? Yes, it may win users over, remains to be seen, yet a newbie likely won't be able to slipstream AppImage in their install media, as they'll not have the needed skills to do so. This isn't quite like slipstreaming SATA & other drivers into Windows install media. Of which there are a limited few apps available for this, all one needs is the Windows ISO, whatever drivers to install, and the proper app for the OS, be it nLite for legacy OS's, or RT7Lite for Windows 7/Vista. 

 

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Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 


#7 mremski

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Posted 29 February 2016 - 08:42 AM

Java is "write once, run anywhere" isn't it?

 

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#8 pcpunk

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Posted 29 February 2016 - 09:51 AM

I agree with what cat said.  Didn't have much time to look it over, but, did not see any clear/noob friendly directions on how to do it.  Neither did I see any real benefits to using these types of apps.

 

I wonder if this would be better for security? like the Browser, seems like if all the files were stand-alone it would be more secure?

 

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#9 Guest_GNULINUX_*

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Posted 29 February 2016 - 10:45 AM

raw posted the link where you can download the "apps"... a sort of "App Store for Linux"!

I seems that I may have confused some people with my previous post, the link therein explained how it's all done.

This was posted as extra info!  :wink:

 

I think it's a nice project but who is going to keep "the store" malware free?

Every other App Store I know contains malware or at least apps with dubious intentions or unwanted extras...

 

Greets!



#10 mremski

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Posted 29 February 2016 - 04:36 PM

GNULinux, that extra link had some interesting info.  The way I read things, the concept is a "LiveCD for applications".  An ISO image that contains the application plus everything needed to run it, with a bit of extra to automatically "mount the ISO and run the contents".  As a concept, interesting.  It helps get around the upgrade hell where one application requires a new library, which causes other applications to break, etc.  Kind of the way Windows has multiple DLLs for the same thing, versioned.

 

If they wind up running "jailed" or sandboxed, with limited permissions, any malware damage can be limited or mitigated.  But now we're adding another layer that may have vulnerabilites not yet discovered that could lead to bad things.  Think of how many websites are compromised because of a flaw in a tool they use.  HTTP server may be locked down solid, but a call out to PHP or some script gets around that.

 

Standalone does not make secure, unless by "standalone" you mean "no external connections".  The glibc vulnerabilites that pop up;  if an application is statically linked to glibc, it can run "standalone", but because of a flaw in glibc, it opens a vector for attack.  Web browsers do the same thing.

 

Conceptually you want to do what Java and a lot of smartphones do (iOs and Android).  Apps run in a sandbox:  a very limited environment, with very strict rules as to how system resources are accessed.  You want to open a file?  System call to do that, all kinds of checks and balances happen before the file is actually accessed.  Graphics, audio, video same thing.  Yes, you can still cause problems if there are flaws, but by keeping the sandbox small, well written and audited, you have a higher chance of success.

 

A lot of the Windows malware takes advantage of poor coding, poor integration and "too big to fail" concepts.  Think back to some of the MS lawsuits where they claimed IE was part of the operating system.  In no sane world is a browser application part of an operating system.


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#11 Guest_hollowface_*

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Posted 01 March 2016 - 08:35 PM

While the dependency tree method employed by most distros is very good in terms of keeping sizes down, it would be nice to see standalone apps catch on too, as they both have their uses.



#12 cat1092

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Posted 02 March 2016 - 02:07 AM

This link may be of some help, to install via Terminal. 

 

https://subsurface-divelog.org/download/

 

I found it once the Subsurface package on the main download page was installed. Only thing is, here I am with two versions! :P

 

Note that Linus Torvalds himself was involved with this project, no wonder he thought it to be cool. Looks like he passed the torch over to Dick Hohndel in 2012. So AppImage is tied into Subsurface, somehow. This will be an interesting Topic to follow. :)

 

https://subsurface-divelog.org/

 

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Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 





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