Filesystem Virtualization with Runner
Runner is a utility for launching programs under GoboLinux that ensures that the filesystem view of a process will match its dependencies. In other words, Runner eliminates the possibility of library conflicts when running an executable.
Runner is a filesystem virtualization tool that sets up a constrained view of
/System/Index for a process based on the executable program’s
file. It is run as a wrapper, e.g.
Runner builds a custom mount table for the process, like container tools do, but
without duplicating files. It dynamically picks the correct parts of your
/Programs tree. This approach is feasible in GoboLinux due to way programs are
each confined to their own subdirectories.
Preparing the filesystem view
All you have to do is to make sure the dependencies of the program you want to
run are correctly listed under the program’s Resources
directory - more
specifically, in the
Dependencies file at
/Programs/Name/Version/Resources/Dependencies. You may list program names
LibPNG), specify a particular version (as in
LibPNG 1.4.4) or even
let Runner pick the best version given a certain range (e.g.,
LibPNG >= 1.4.0, < 1.5.0).
Most likely, the program you want to run will already have a sane
file - every binary package we distribute will have one, just like every
compilation recipe do.
The Compile tool
Compile makes use of Runner to control the environment for building software
packages. When you type
Compile Foo, Compile fetches the recipe for Foo and
passes both the
BuildDependencies files of that recipe to
Runner. This ensure that the right versions of the libraries, headers, and
executables needed by that package will be mapped onto
Spawning an application with Runner
For regular GoboLinux packages, simply type
Runner application_name. Runner
will figure from which entry under
application_name comes from,
and will create a custom filesystem view for that application by overlaying its
For non-regular GoboLinux packages, such as third-party executables downloaded
on your home directory, you can hand-craft a
Dependencies file and then
provide that file to Runner, as in
Runner -d MyDependenciesFile ./third_party_app.
Running a 32-bit application on a 64-bit distro is no different with Runner.
Provided that you have the 32-bit dependencies installed under
Dependencies file of your
program simply needs to state the versions of the 32-bit packages it relies on.
Afterwards, simply type
Runner <application_name> and you are all set.