Limba: Experimental Linux Software Installer Using OverlayFS

Written by Michael Larabel in Free Software on 10 November 2014 at 09:00 AM EST. 20 Comments
Running off systemd's new Linux software/packaging vision, Matthias Klumpp has proposed Limba, an experimental software installer that doesn't depend upon Btrfs but rather technologies that have been mostly mainline for a while.

Limba is a software installer experiment that combines concepts from the Glick2 and Listaller concepts. Limba uses OverlayFS for combing an application with its dependencies as well as mount namespaces and shared sub-trees. Limba also depends upon AppStream meta-data. Via this approach built on existing Linux technologies that have been mainline for a while except for OverlayFS that just landed in Linux 3.18, it would be relatively easy to roll out Limba if it were to garner interest.

Limba allows for software packages to be isolated from the rest of the system in a container-like manner. Right now it's an experiment with no clear end goal and could be quite easily killed off according to Klumpp if its design doesn't prove fruitful. Matthias is still working out Limba for creating simple packages, package installation, dependency resolution, basic system integration, and other features.

While details are sparse, you can learn more in this blog announcement about Limba. The code to this Linux software installer is hosted on GitHub for those wishing to do experiments.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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