BoxBuddy, a colleague in the form of a user interface that allows you to manage your Distrobox images without depending on the terminal

BoxBuddy

I don't know why, but there are many Linux users who prefer not to touch the terminal at all. Well, I do know why, for comfort, but everyone is comfortable with what they are comfortable with. I do use the terminal for some things, but not for others. In fact, I have created some tools so that performing some tasks is just a click away. Distrobox is basically a script written 100% in shell and is used from the terminal, but BoxBuddy It can be your best friend if you want to use containerized subsystems and prefer graphical interfaces.

BoxBuddy does nothing special, unless it is understood as such that we can do everything away from the terminal. After installing it and launching it for the first time, we will see an image that tells us that we do not have any box created, but that has an easy and intuitive solution. Here we are going to explain how to install and use this tool so that everyone, terminalfilos, terminalfobos and those in the middle, can use the wonderful tool that allows us not to depend on a specific package manager and use containerized systems.

How to install BoxBuddy

Install BoxBuddy It's more or less simple, depending on how we want to do it. There are at least three options, at least on Arch-based systems that can also pull AUR. In these cases, it can be installed with the shift method – with yay, compatible software store or manually – from the package boxbuddy. Another option is to install the flatpak pack, and if we prefer we can install it by downloading the ZIP available on your releases page. The only thing we have to do when we have it on our computer is enter its folder and write ./install.sh. It also has an uninstall script (uninstall.sh).

I think it is important to mention that BoxBuddy It is just a graphical interface to manage Distrobox and he can't do anything by himself. For it to work its magic we have to have Distrobox installed and docker/podman. If we already have everything, it is time to create boxes and start using them.

Operation

As we have already explained, everything is very intuitive. It's built using GTK4 and Libadwaita, so it will look better on desktops like GNOME, but it works just as well anywhere.

To create a box, we will click on the plus symbol (1), we will give it a name (2), we will display the image menu and select one of the options (3) and then we will click on "Create" (5, that got out of hand). It can be made to use the init system, which launches the option distrobox-init which will take care of installing missing dependencies, such as sudo, configure groups and users and mount directories from the host to ensure greater integration. I don't usually use it, but the option exists for a reason.

Create distrobox image with graphical interface

Once we click create, the terminal will open, finish creating the box, close the terminal and return to the BoxBuddy interface.

Among what we can do:

  • Open the box terminal.
  • Update Box, that is, the box, that is, the operating system. For example, on Ubuntu this will do a "sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade".
  • See applications. If for whatever reason we do not want to export the apps to the main menu, this would be the start menu of the box, and we can launch them or add them to the menu. If we already have them added, we can delete them. I see a little problem that they may fix in future versions, and that is that when adding/deleting to the menu, we see a message that it has been added/deleted, but the button does not change until we close that window and open it.

Apps on BoxBuddy

  • Install file. From here we can install package files compatible with the distributions, such as DEB in Debian or RPM in Fedora.
  • Delete Box, or delete the box/image.

With user interface everything is easier

When an image is running, on the right you see an icon from which you can stop.

Stop checkout at BoxBuddy

BoxBuddy should encourage those who are still thinking about whether or not to use Distrobox. It's worth it, and with an interface everything can be simpler.


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