Is there any linux based operating system for desktop that has software installation in single folder, like it does in Android (except the apps that need android/data or obb folder on external location), or like Windows \Program Files\FolderName?

Right now I'm on ubuntu, but I don't want a software to spread across various locations like bin, opt, share, lib, etc.


  • Ubuntu Snappy comes to mind, it's similar to CoreOS, and sandboxes applications IIRC. Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 7:11
  • 1
    The whole point of a package manager is so that you can have files spread over various directories. Why do you dislike that aspect?
    – Sparhawk
    Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 7:19
  • Linux has containers for this purpose and they are quite popular. Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 10:41
  • @Sparhawk Because I've a habit of checking out files of installed softwares, which will be easier if they're all at the same place. Also, when a particular softwares takes lot of storage space, I simply move entire folder to another partition and make a symbolic link in its place. This is even more required in gnu/linux OS since we can't select installation location for individual softwares. Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 16:46
  • 1
    Most (all?) package managers will let you list the files installed by a package. e.g. in Arch, pacman -Ql <package name>, and Debian/Ubuntu's dpkg. An alternative to moving files by packages to alternative partitions is moving directories based on function. e.g. the whole of /var/log.
    – Sparhawk
    Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 20:58

1 Answer 1


NixOS does something along those lines, but not for the reasons that you quote. It still creates symlinks in /usr and /lib etc, because that is how a Linux system operates. If they didn't do so, they would need ridiculously long PATH, MANPATH, LD_LIBRARY_PATH, and other such variables.

NixOS has good reasons for wanting to place applications in their own directory, but it makes the system much more complicated to understand, and my guess is that this is one of the reasons why it is not such a popular distribution.

In general, you seem to be wanting to apply concepts of one operating system to another, and that is never a good idea. Don't do that.

  • Oh. So it's a requirement of linux kernel? I see. But Android doesn't have /lib or /usr folders. I'll check out NixOS. It would be alright if only symbolic links are made, as long as the actual files stay together in one place. Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 16:47
  • @PrateekJain It isn't a requirement of the kernel: the kernel doesn't care. It's a requirement of allowing programs to make use of other programs. There has to be a single place, or at least a small number of places, to look for executables, for libraries, for documentation, etc. Android and Windows don't do this, and the cost is that they make it difficult for applications to interact. Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 22:46
  • I didn't say it was a requirement of the kernel. It's not even a requirement of anything. It's a convention, though, and ignoring it is going to confuse a lot of things. Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 0:10

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .