So I constantly find myself downloading executable's from the internet and running them on my computer. Although I don't run everything I find on the net, I still don't want to trust them with all my personal files since they aren't in the repositories.

Some example program's: Sublime, Intellij, various node-webkit apps, java jdk 8, latest node.js build.

The solution I'm looking for is something down the line of running the executable as another user, and giving it permission to read selected directories that i own, but restricting it from the rest. I would like to steer clear of managing multiple groups, users, permissions, apparmor profiles manually, that I probably would forget how was setup after some time.

Does there exist packages or solutions that takes an executable as input, and then you specify which directories and / or files that executable has r / w / x permissions?

Or better, the system prompts you when the executable wants to do something it's not already allowed to do, and you either allow it or restrict it.

If not, how would we go about making one?

  • A lot of the things you are talking about are included in the "click" packaging system for Ubuntu phone. However, in that case software needs to be repackages in the click packaging format, and they are still figuring out how to implement this exactly on the desktop. tl;dr: in 5 years, every app on Ubuntu will probably work like that! However, I don't know a current solution for your problem Jan 10, 2015 at 19:07
  • I think one alternative would be to make an LXC, and making startup scripts for applications that could mount different folders? Would be awesome if this could be be automated with GUI and all, I'll check this out. Jan 12, 2015 at 14:35
  • You can also look into apparmor, this is one of the technologies behind click packages, and this already works on Ubuntu Desktop. Jan 12, 2015 at 17:14
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    ok yes you are probably right, i just hoped there would be like a wizard or gui to make the process more streamlined. Thanks Jan 12, 2015 at 18:21

1 Answer 1


Easy: Run the application in the guest session. When you log out, everything the application always wanted to do but you were afraid to let it do will be gone! ;-)

  • And as you're a reputation 6 user: don't forget to click the grey check-mark under the "0" at the left of this text, therefore "accepting" the answer, which is better then saying "thank you" as both of our reputations will go up! ;-)
    – Fabby
    Jan 11, 2015 at 17:22

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