Application and binary exporting

distrobox-export takes care of exporting an app or a binary from the container to the host.

The exported app will be easily available in your normal launcher and it will automatically be launched from the container it is exported from.



--app/-a:		name of the application to export
--bin/-b:		absolute path of the binary to export
--list-apps:		list applications exported from this container
--list-binaries		list binaries exported from this container, use -ep to specify custom paths to search
--delete/-d:		delete exported application or binary
--export-label/-el:	label to add to exported application name.
			Use "none" to disable.
			Defaults to (on \$container_name)
--export-path/-ep:	path where to export the binary
--extra-flags/-ef:	extra flags to add to the command
--enter-flags/-nf:	flags to add to distrobox-enter
--sudo/-S:		specify if the exported item should be run as sudo
--help/-h:		show this message
--verbose/-v:		show more verbosity
--version/-V:		show version

You may want to install graphical applications or CLI tools in your distrobox. Using distrobox-export from inside the container will let you use them from the host itself.


distrobox-export --app mpv [--extra-flags "flags"] [--delete] [--sudo]
distrobox-export --bin /path/to/bin [--export-path ~/.local/bin] [--extra-flags "flags"] [--delete] [--sudo]

App export example

distrobox-export --app abiword

This tool will simply copy the original .desktop files along with needed icons, add the prefix /usr/local/bin/distrobox-enter -n distrobox_name -e ... to the commands to run, and save them in your home to be used directly from the host as a normal app.

Binary export example

distrobox-export --bin /usr/bin/code --extra-flags "--foreground" --export-path $HOME/.local/bin

In the case of exporting binaries, you will have to specify where to export it (--export-path) and the tool will create a little wrapper script that will distrobox-enter -e from the host, the desired binary. This can be handy with the use of direnv to have different versions of the same binary based on your env or project.

The exported binaries will be exported in the “–export-path” of choice as a wrapper script that acts naturally both on the host and in the container.

Additional flags

You can specify additional flags to add to the command, for example if you want to export an electron app, you could add the “–foreground” flag to the command:

distrobox-export --app atom --extra-flags "--foreground"
distrobox-export --bin /usr/bin/vim --export-path ~/.local/bin --extra-flags "-p"

This works for binaries and apps. Extra flags are only used then the exported app or binary is used from the host, using them inside the container will not include them.


The option “–delete” will un-export an app or binary

distrobox-export --app atom --delete
distrobox-export --bin /usr/bin/vim --export-path ~/.local/bin --delete

Run as root in the container

The option “–sudo” will launch the exported item as root inside the distrobox.


Note you can use –app OR –bin but not together.


NOTE: some electron apps such as vscode and atom need additional flags to work from inside the container, use the --extra-flags option to provide a series of flags, for example:

distrobox-export --app atom --extra-flags "--foreground"