nsroot: Minimalist process isolation tool implemented with Linux namespaces


  • The Arctic University of Norway
  • The Arctic University of Norway
  • The Arctic University of Norway


services run on large computing platforms.. This creates a need to package tools and dependencies for easy installation,, configuration and deployment on distributed platforms.. In addition,, for secure execution there is a need for process isolation on a shared platform.. Existing virtual machine and container technologies are often more complex than trad itional Unix utilities,, like chroot,, and often require root privileges in order to set up or use.. This is especially challenging on HPC systems where users typically do not have root access.. We therefore present nsroot,, a lightweight Linux namespaces based process isolation tool.. It allows restricting the runtime environment of data analysis tools that may not have been designed with security as a top priority,, in order to reduce the risk and consequences of security breaches,, without requiring any special privileges.. The codebase of nsroot is small,, and it provides a command line interface similar to chroot.. It can be used on all Linux kernels that implement user namespaces.. In addition,, we propose combining nsroot with the AppImage format for secure execu tion of packaged applications.. nsroot is open sourced and available at:: https://github.com/uit-no/nsroot .