Run desktop applications

Libertine allows you to use standard desktop applications in Ubuntu Touch.

To display and launch applications you need the Desktop Apps Scope which is available in the Open Store. To install applications you need to use the commandline as described below.

Manage containers

Create a container

The first step is to create a container where applications can be installed:

libertine-container-manager create -i CONTAINER-IDENTIFIER

You can add extra options such as:

  • -n name name is a more user friendly name of the container
  • -t type type can be either chroot or lxc. Default is chroot and is compatible with every device. If the kernel of your device supports it then lxc is suggested.

The creating process can take some time, due to the size of the container (some hundred of megabytes).


The create command shown above cannot be run directly in the terminal app, due apparmor restrictions. You can run it from another device using either adb or ssh connection. Alternatively, you can run it from the terminal app using a loopback ssh connection running this command: ssh localhost.

List containers

To list all containers created run:
libertine-container-manager list

Destroy a container

libertine-container-manager destroy -i CONTAINER-IDENTIFIER

Manage applications

Once a container is set up, you can list the installed applications:

libertine-container-manager list-apps

Install a package:

libertine-container-manager install-package -p PACKAGE-NAME

Remove a package:

libertine-container-manager remove-package -p PACKAGE-NAME


If you have more than one container, then you can use the option -i CONTAINER-IDENTIFIER to specify for which container you want to perform an operation.


Libertine applications do have access to these folders:

  • Documents
  • Music
  • Pictures
  • Downloads
  • Videos



For every container you create there will be two directories created:

  • A root directory ~/.cache/libertine-container/CONTAINER-IDENTIFIER/rootfs/ and
  • a user directory ~/.local/share/libertine-container/user-data/CONTAINER-IDENTIFIER/

Shell access

To execute any arbitrary command as root inside the container run:

libertine-container-manager exec -c COMMAND

For example, to get a shell into your container you can run:

libertine-container-manager exec -c /bin/bash


When you launch bash in this way you will not get any specific feedback to confirm that you are now inside the container. You can check ls / to confirm for yourself that you are inside the container. The listing of ls / will be different inside and outside of the container.

To get a shell as user phablet run:

DISPLAY= libertine-launch -i CONTAINER-IDENTIFIER /bin/bash


A display server coordinates input and output of an operating system. Most Linux distributions today use the X server. Ubuntu Touch does not use X, but a new display server called Mir. This means that standard X applications are not directly compatible with Ubuntu Touch. A compatibility layer called XMir resolves this. Libertine relies on XMir to display desktop applications.

Another challenge is that Ubuntu Touch system updates are released as OTA images. A consequence of this is that the root filesystem is read only. Libertine provides a container with a read-write filesystem to allow the installation of regular Linux desktop applications.