I using Sandboxie on my Windows machines. I would like something similar for my Ubuntu boxes.

Any recommendations for getting something similar?

I do remember seeing something about using chroot and some special filesystem type to create an similar sandbox functionality, but now I can't find the page.

7 Answers 7


I found an article similar to what I had seen before:

Create a Linux user sandbox with chroot and unionfs

Now I just need to figure out


You can try two things:

  1. Ubuntu has a guest session. When logging in as guest, "home" directory and all other stuff is located ar /tmp.
  2. Use virtualization. All hosting providers uses this method for their customers (while they doesn't need dedicated servers). Virtual machine is created for hosting account. You can try with VirtualBox, but of course there is also another solutions.
  • What happens if you try to install an new application as "guest"?
    – pcapademic
    Commented Jul 21, 2009 at 19:26
  • sudo is disabled for guest session, so you will not able to use apt tools. But if there is no need use global system resources (no need root permissions), I think user can install such software (actualy I'm not sure).
    – Pawka
    Commented Jul 22, 2009 at 5:38

Chroot jail Here's a good page on it

  • A chroot jail is only part of the solution. I do remember that much, but chroot doesn't provide all the needed functionality.
    – pcapademic
    Commented Jul 20, 2009 at 22:14

You could always just use your live CD!


Don't know Sandboxie in detail - but on Unix that is rather the default. Regular users cannot change the system or write outside their home file space, temp files are deleted when they log out.
It sounds like on unix you just want to simply create a 'test' user to do this.
For more complex uses like allowing programs to run as root (not as common on Unix) while still be restricted you can use a 'chroot jail'.

  • 1
    The thing about Sandboxie I like the most is that I can install a new application, test and see how it interacts with my other applications and settings, and then I can just erase the sandbox if I want.
    – pcapademic
    Commented Jul 21, 2009 at 20:12
  • If the app can be installed as a regular user then it is normally just under the home directory. If it needs to be installed system wide (by root) then you can use a chroot jail. You can generally get chroot todo anything you want but it sometimes takes a bit of work - the default is to not allow anything for security reasons. Another alternative is to use the ubuntu package manager to wind back after an install. Commented Jul 21, 2009 at 22:54
  • Unix users keep saying that "you can't write outside your home space, so the system is safe" but a program could still erase everything in my /home ! I can reinstall the system, I can't replace my files ...
    – Manu
    Commented Aug 3, 2009 at 21:08
  • You generally build and install new software as a 'test' user Commented Aug 4, 2009 at 20:23

I think that you were thinking about something like DebootstrapChroot

The experience is going to be much more manual than your windows experience.


I just stumbled on a fairly recent project called Arkose, which is like a simplified Sandboxie. As well as cli, there is a gui and a plugin for Nautilus. And a PPA if you use Ubuntu. I tried it out and it seems okay, Chrome wouldn't work in it for me but Firefox and Opera did.

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