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How to create a portable Linux application

This is step-by-step tutorial that shows you how to create a portable application for Linux.

Required software tools:

1) AppDir Assistant – download

2) AppImage Assistant – download

* NOTE: I didn’t write these tools; I am just writing about how I used these tools in order to create the portable app.

Before we begin:

I tested this procedure on 32-bit operating systems; note that you need root permission to perform these tasks, otherwise the process may crash for whatever reason. AppImage is also a portable app, and you should be able to run it on all Linux distributions.
The idea is to scan the current state of your OS, then install the app that you wish to make portable, and finally rescan your operating system to capture a new state – all changes made during the installation. (Yup, you might guess: the best practice is to do this procedure on a clean machine, with minimal packages installed). In the next phase, all changes will be packed in a single executive file.

Tutorial :

1) Run AppDir Assistant; the following window will appear (see the picture below). Click on the button Forward.

Uploads for Linux portable Apps article

2) The next window shows a warning; proceed clicking on a Forward button.


3) The current state of your system will be scanned.


4) When this window appears, minimize it and start installing the software you want to make it portable. This tutorial covers installing an application from Linux Mint’s Software Manager (nothing stops you to try apt-get, yum, rpm or whatever method you like):


5) I installed MyPaint. Note the size of the app and click on Install button.


When the installation finishes, maximize previously minimized app (see the picture on step 4) and click on the Forward button.

6) Post-scanning begins, to capture all changes made:


7) The next step is Profiling; the point is to run previously installed application so the wizard can record additional changes that an application makes while it’s running. I played with this software a bit, draw a few circles, etc. in order to simulate regular app’s usage. When you finish your playing, exit the application.


8) This window will show after a while; Click on the Close button.


9) OK, we could name these steps 1-8 as phase 1, and its result is folder on your Desktop that contains all gathered data about behavior of your application, and installed files.


10) The steps below belong to phase 2 – creation of single executive file; run the application AppImage Assistent and click on the Forward button.


11) The following window appears, in which you have to select this folder from your Desktop and click on the Forward button.


12) The process of packing will begin:


13) If all went OK, the following window will appear:


14) The result in one executable and portable file, that you can move/copy in your Home folder (if you are logged in as root).


15) You could test this file in any account to see if this, now portable app works; Double click on the portable app and enjoy 🙂



Pay attention on the step 9; if there is no subfolder AppRun, in a folder showed on the Picture, you can’t use it on the step 11 (Forward button will be disabled, so you must repeat the complete procedure).
This method of making portable apps is tested under Ubuntu, Fedora, and SuSE Linux.

How to create a portable Linux application
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How to create a portable Linux application
This is step-by-step tutorial that shows you how to create a portable application for Linux.