Awesome Open Source
Awesome Open Source

Conty

This is an easy to use compressed unprivileged Linux container packed into a single executable that works on most Linux distros. It's designed to be as simple and user-friendly as possible. You can use it to run any applications, including games (Vulkan and OpenGL).

In its default configuration it includes, among others, these apps: Wine-Staging-TkG, Steam, Lutris, PlayOnLinux, RetroArch, PPSSPP, OpenJDK, Firefox. You can install any other applications or run locally installed apps.

Besides, Conty supports true filesystem and X11 sandboxing, so you can even use it to isolate applications.

Features

  • A single executable - download (or create) and run, nothing else is required. And it's portable, you can put it anywhere (even on a usb stick).
  • Works on most Linux distros, even very old ones and even without glibc (such as Alpine or Void with musl).
  • Root rights are not required.
  • Compressed (with squashfs or dwarfs), so it takes much less disk space than uncompressed containers and provides faster file system access.
  • Contains many libraries and packages so it can run almost everything. And you don't need to install anything on your main (host) system. You can even run 32-bit applications on pure 64-bit systems.
  • Based on Arch Linux, contains latest software (including latest videodrivers).
  • Almost completely seamless experience. All applications that you run with Conty read and store their configs in your HOME directory as if you weren't using the container at all.
  • No performance overhead. Since it's just a container, there is almost no overhead, thus all applications will run at full speed.
  • Supports Xorg, Wayland and XWayland.
  • Supports filesystem and X11 sandboxing (thanks to bubblewrap and xephyr).

Requirements

The only requirements are bash, fuse2 (or fuse3), tar, gzip and coreutils. And your /tmp directory should allow files execution (which it does by default on most distros).

Your Linux kernel must be at least version 4.4 and should support unprivileged user namespaces. On some Linux distros this feature is disabled by default and can be enabled with sysfs:

sysctl kernel.unprivileged_userns_clone=1

Even if unprivileged user namespaces are not supported by your kernel, you can still use Conty if you have bwrap with SUID bit installed on your system, in this case just tell Conty to use system-wide utils instead of the builtin ones.

export USE_SYS_UTILS=1
./conty.sh command command_arguments

Usage

Either download a ready-to-use release from the releases page or create your own (the instructions are below). Make it executable before run.

chmod +x conty.sh
./conty.sh command command_arguments

Conty contains Steam, Lutris, PlayOnLinux, Wine-Staging-TkG and many more.

./conty.sh steam
./conty.sh lutris
./conty.sh playonlinux
./conty.sh wine app.exe

It has a builtin file manager (pcmanfm):

./conty.sh pcmanfm

Want to check if graphics acceleration works (OpenGL and Vulkan)? Run glxinfo, glxgears, vulkaninfo and vkcube:

./conty.sh glxinfo -B
./conty.sh glxgears
./conty.sh vulkaninfo
./conty.sh vkcube

You can even use Conty for compilation:

./conty.sh gcc src.c
./conty.sh git clone https://something.git
cd something && ./conty.sh ./configure
./conty.sh make

There are many more integrated programs. You can list all of them with:

./conty.sh ls /usr/bin

It is also possible to run binaries from your storage. For example, if you want to run an application that resides on your HOME, run something like:

./conty.sh /home/username/SomeApplication/binaryfile

There are some other features, see the internal help for more information.

./conty.sh --help

Sandbox

Conty uses bubblewrap and thus supports filesystem sandboxing, X11 isolation is also supported (via Xephyr). By default sandbox is disabled and almost all directories and files on your system are available for the container.

Here are the environment variables that you can use to control the sandbox:

  • SANDBOX - enables the sandbox feature itself. Isolates all files and directories, creates a fake temporary home directory (in RAM), which is destroyed after closing the container.
  • SANDBOX_LEVEL - controls the strictness of the sandbox. There are 3 available levels, the default is 1. Level 1 isolates all user files; Level 2 isolates all user files, disables dbus and hides all running processes; Level 3 does the same as the level 2, but additionally disables network access and isolates X11 server with Xephyr.
  • DISABLE_NET - completely disables internet access.
  • HOME_DIR - sets a custom home directory. If you set this, HOME inside the container will still appear as /home/username, but actually a custom directory will be used for it.
  • BIND - list of files/directories (separated by space) to mount to the container. You can use this variable to allow access to any files or directories.
  • BIND_RO - the same as BIND but mounts files and directories as read-only.

Example:

export SANDBOX=1
export SANDBOX_LEVEL=2
export BIND="/home/username/.steam /home/username/.local/share/Steam"
./conty.sh steam

Another example:

mkdir "/home/username/custom_home_dir"
export DISABLE_NET=1
export SANDBOX=1
export HOME_DIR="/home/username/custom_home_dir"
./conty.sh lutris

If you just want a sandboxing functionality but don't need a container with a full-size Linux distro inside (which is what Conty mainly is), i recommend to take a look directly at these projects: bubblewrap and firejail. Sandboxing is a good additional feature of Conty, but is not its main purpose.

Known issues

Nvidia users with the proprietary driver will experience graphics acceleration problems (probably graphical applications won't work at all) if their Nvidia kernel module version mismatches the version of the Nvidia libraries inside Conty. This applies only to the proprietary driver, Nouveau should work fine without any additional actions (of course, if your GPU is supported by it).

For example, if the version of your Nvidia kernel module is 460.56 and the libraries inside the container are from 460.67 version, then graphics acceleration will not work.

There is an experimental solution for this problem that can be enabled with the NVIDIA_FIX variable. I don't have a Nvidia GPU to test this function properly, so it might or might not work.

export NVIDIA_FIX=1
./conty.sh glxgears

Another and more reliable solution is to install the same driver version as included inside Conty, which is usually the latest non-beta version. You can see the exact driver version in pkg_list.txt attached to each Conty release.

How to update

There are three main ways to update Conty and get the latest packages, use whichever works best for you.

  • First of all, you can simply download latest release from the releases page, i usually upload a new release every two weeks.
  • You can use the self-update feature (./conty.sh -u) integrated into Conty, it will update all integrated packages and will rebuild the squashfs/dwarfs image. Read the internal help for more information about it.
  • You can manually create a Conty executable with latest packages inside, read the "How to create your own Conty executables" section below.

How to create your own Conty executables

If you want to create Arch-based container, use the create-arch-bootstrap.sh script, it will download latest Arch Linux bootstrap and will install latest packages into it. If you want to use any other distro, then you need to manually obtain it from somewhere. Root rights are required for this step, because chroot is used here.

./create-arch-bootstrap.sh

You can edit the script if you want to include different set of packages inside the container.

When distro is obtained, use the create-conty.sh script to create a squashfs (or dwarfs) image and pack everything needed into a single executable.

./create-conty.sh

By default it uses the lz4 algorithm for the squashfs compression, but you can edit it and choose zstd to get better compression ratio (keep in mind though that your squashfs-tools should support zstd for that to work).

Done!

For the sake of convenience, there are compiled binaries (utils.tar.gz) of bwrap, squashfuse and dwarfs and their dependencies uploaded in this repo, create-conty.sh uses them by default. However, you can easily compile your own binaries by using the create-utils.sh, it will compile bwrap, squashfuse and dwarfs and will create utils.tar.gz. If you are going to use your own utils.tar.gz, make sure to set the correct size for it in the conty-start.sh.

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