Alternative install options for Vivaldi on Linux

In a previous blog post I talked about setting up self-contained (standalone) copies of Vivaldi on Mac. This follow up piece will address alternative Linux installs.

We occasionally get requests for Vivaldi “tar packages” in addition to our rpms and debs. We have noted three distinct reasons for these requests:

  • To be able to run Vivaldi on a distro that uses an non .rpm or .deb packaging method
  • To be able to install to a non-standard location (e.g. a single user install)
  • To be able to run Vivaldi in a self-contained (standalone) manor

Today we will attempt to explain why we currently only offer rpms and debs and how to handle each of these scenarios with these packages.

Package types

In an ideal world we won’t need (or want) to make any packages for Linux. We would make Linux software but we would leave the packaging, delivery and updates to the Linux distributions directly. If that sounds strange, consider all the other applications you run on your Linux desktop. In the vast majority of cases the packaging, install and updates will be handled by them. This is the normal way things work in the Linux world and it is quite effective, since all software management is handled by one group, ensuring the greatest level of compatibility.

It is not perfect however, since most Linux distributions only offer final versions of a given piece of software. Without our own packages, we would have no easy way of distributing previews, snapshots and betas. In addition, some distributions may not be aware of us yet and hence not offer a Vivaldi package.

Therefore, we provide packages and updates in the most two common formats (.rpm and .deb) but are happy to work with any Linux distribution to see if Vivaldi can be included directly. In addition, even where we do not provide a native package format, we will accept bug reports from users of any Linux distribution and attempt to fix the issues they might encounter.

If there is no Vivaldi provided package for your Linux distribution of choice, there are options that will allow you to run and install it (see below). However, first and foremost, you should check if your distribution offers Vivaldi packages already. Some distribution provide repackaged options via one of their repositories (e.g. Arch, Gentoo, Slackware) and others will likely consider adding us once we release a final. When a final is released, if your distribution of choice does not offer Vivaldi, you may wish to politely ask them to consider it. They can contact us if they have any questions.

Sandbox complications

First a warning, running Vivaldi from any non-standard install locations (which includes standalone setups) will not work for every user. It is largely dependent on, where you install, which user you use for the install process and what Linux kernel version you have. The main issue is related to the way the Chromium sandbox, a key security feature, works. As a general rule of thumb, Linux kernel’s greater than 3.17 will allow the greatest degree of flexibility. However some systems with older kernels will have the required features backported, while some systems with newer kernels will occasionally have them disabled. If you want to know more about this topic, read this previous blog post.

Installing to a non-standard location

Installing to an non-standard location involves unpacking one of our packages and moving Vivaldi to that location. Many have requested a tar package as a source for this but in actual fact .deb packages are compressed tar archives with some simple packaging metadata tacked on. You can extract the contents of a deb (and an rpm for that matter) with standard Linux utilities. Using the previous 64bit .deb snapshot as an example, the following steps would allow you to extract it on the command line:

ar p vivaldi-snapshot_1.0.365.3-1_amd64.deb data.tar.xz | tar xJ --strip 2 ./opt

A directory called “vivaldi-snapshot” will have been created. Move this to whatever location you see fit. To start Vivaldi, run the startup script (also called “vivaldi-snapshot”) within that folder.

Self-contained, standalone installations

Vivaldi supports a command line argument (switch) to define where it stores its preferences (profile/settings), --user-data-dir=. By telling Vivaldi to store the preferences in a subdirectory of the extracted directory, you have in essence a standalone setup.

To use the copy of Vivaldi you extracted in the previous example as a standalone install, issue the following:

cd vivaldi-snapshot ./vivaldi-snapshot --user-data-dir=profile &

Examples of automation

We do test and use Vivaldi in a range of situations and on a variety of Linux distributions. I have therefore written scripts to automate unpacking Vivaldi that allow for alternative install options. These are two of my own scripts to serve as examples and demos. They are unofficial (and hence not supported) but you are welcome to use them as you see fit.

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