Ardour7 in Flatpak: overcoming the sandboxing with Flatseal


I know that Flatpak applications are supposed to be “sandboxed”, and people is against using Ardour in it.

However, I have found that it is possible to play with many (all?) the limitations of the sandboxing in Flatpak, using the FlatSeal application.
So I thought to give it a second chance.

Has anyone played with this?
Is there a reason, in principle, to avoid this route?

The first problem to address is of course the ability to “see” the plugins folder.
In FlatSeal I have noticed the (default) settings to “export the system PATH variables to the application”, and they include:


(see screenshot)

However, the LV2_PATH is (crucially!) missing…

I have tryied to manually add this:




but after relaunch and rescan for plugins Ardour7 still cannot see the newly installed eq10q plugin.

Any ideas on how to deal with this?

Thanks in advance!

Inside a flatpak, /usr is not your host system’s /usr, but it is the flatpak runtime’s read-only /usr. In other words: When you make LV2_PATH point to /usr/lib/lv2, you are not pointing to your local system’s LV2 installation path, but you are pointing to the sandboxed runtime, which does not contain your locally installed LV2s.

In short: Don’t try to use anything installed to /usr on your host system inside a flatpak. It cannot work, because of the flatpak sandbox. Flatseal cannot help you here.

I am also using Ardour from flathub (on Fedora Silverblue). I found it possible to use statically built (i.e. fully self-contained) LV2s from $HOME/.lv2/. I use Modartt Pianoteq this way. But you cannot use plugins installed on your host system to standard directories (which might be relying on dynamically loaded libraries from the host as well).

“Is there a reason, in principle, to avoid this route?”

Yes. The more principled approach for running Ardour is installing the official version of the program rather than an unofficial version that requires a secondary application to repair the deficiencies produced by the unofficial version’s packaging.


Exactly how cheap are you people…? If you can afford the internet and computer to post this crap here then surely you could donate even a dollar and obtain the ONLY version of Ardour with support, and the only version that makes it possible for Ardour to be here because of the many people who actually do invest as intended in the project… You definitely have some nerve posting these workarounds in THIS particular forum, are you friggin’ kidding me!?

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Forget the Flatpack version. Many plugins who come with Ardour doesn’t work - you can do not really work with it.

Donate some money and download the official version. You waste your time wie the Flatpack version.
And please support the developer!

This topic was cross posted on the linux musician forum, where the OP’s location is listed as Russia. Ergo, they can’t pay for it because of sanctions AFAIK. Just pointing that out before any more righteous indignation is heaped on them.


That is one of the last remaining plugins with a GTK GUI. The downside of is that the GTK version need to match (Ardour and all plugins).

For the official version of Ardor you need the matching binary.

GNU/Linux distribution packages of Ardour are also usually fine (same distro version of GTK is used to build both Ardour and EQ10Q).

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If that’s the case then the OP has made no mention of it and the provided screenshots and post are in English, if someone literally can’t pay of course any reasonable person will take that into consideration. Even the Ardour devs have made provisions for that with allowing various Distro Packages, providing the User self-compilation option, and allowing official supported Ardour binaries in Linux Audio Distributions.

It is a paid product by intentional design of it’s developers, that isn’t some opinion of mine… My main point isn’t even about paying, it’s about the general bad manners of posting a question about how to fix an unsupported Package format in order to circumvent the suggested way of obtaining the product right on the forum of the product itself. If you can’t see the bad form in that or how it just wouldn’t fly in any other paradigm then I guess I’ll agree to disagree…

Are you going to contact Logic Pro’s support because the cracked warez version you got somewhere else doesn’t work right??

I guess as a dev answered, it’s not a problem. If you think using the flatpak is a “circumvention” or analogous of warez, then I suggest you to get a better understanding of GPL licences.


Flatpak maintainer here.

The first problem to address is of course the ability to “see” the plugins folder.

Simple answer is NO you can’t do that.

The plugins it can see are the one that are flatpaked (there is currently 43 packages) and the one that would be in your home directory, albeit in that case they might not work if they expect anything that the freedesktop-sdk runtime doesn’t provide, or Ardour. (I have seen some proprietary plugins linked with specific version of curl specific to a single release of a single distribution - this become a vendor issue).

/usr inside the flatpak will NEVER be the one you provided by the distribution. Thinking otherwise show a great misunderstanding in how flatpak works.

If this doesn’t work for your, then GMaq suggested to just use the official builds.


It is not missing. LV2_PATH is set int the ardour wrapper script inside the flaptak because it requires to contain $HOME/.lv2 to work, and the env for flatpak doesn’t do expansion.

I signed up to this forum specifically to respond to this post. Looks like a nice place—maybe (if allowed to) I’ll stay. :slightly_smiling_face:

I too saw the cross post from this forum user, but I believe I perceived his query quite differently. I hope I can explain properly an alternative point of view.

There has been much discussion about the problems of closed-source software on Linux—especially from a developer’s point of view.

This may rub some Linux purists wrong, but I believe Flatpak is the best “Plan B” choice (currently) to resolve this problem. There will be disagreements, but I give ny reasoning here:

I’m on a personal mission to document the easiest way for Windows users new to Linux to make the switch away from Windows. For some new users, the point and click ease of installing a Flatpack from a distro’s GUI-based installer is easier than the console.

When I read the user’s message, I imagined it must be a new Linux user that doesn’t know the ways (yet) of the open source culture. I didn’t view the situation as someone trying to get support from developers for free—I saw it that the user may be too new to know better.

There’s a saying: We can attract more flies with honey than we can with vinegar.

Let’s try to assume the good. :slightly_smiling_face:


Thank you for speaking up! :slightly_smiling_face:

This is getting a bit off-topic here, but I highly recommend you point them to a dedicated Pro Audio distro like AVLinux, KXStudio, Ubuntustudio, libraZiK etc.

Setting up GNU/Linux system to work reliably for audio production requires about the same amount of expertise as attempting the same on Windows. Dedicated distros go a long way.

There’s no question there! :slightly_smiling_face: However, if someone WANTS an easy way to configure a regular distro, it’s nice to have some handy guides available.

My point in all this is that there are different ways of viewing what may have been the OPs intentions behind the cross posted query.

This is your house though, so I’ll glady fall in line and obey your rules if I stick around. :slightly_smiling_face:

Thanks a lot for the info, I am learning more and more about FlatPak!

I am new to Linux, I have been a Mac user for long time, and I appreciate the “self contained package” philosophy that Apple uses.
I am indeed suffering a lot for the “dependencies nightmare” that the Linux architecture seems to imply, and I have great expectations for the FlatPak system, that seems to go in the same direction as the Apple “architecture”.
From my point of view, the space on modern disks is abundant, so I am ways more in favour of having redundant resources replicated in every “application self contained package”, rather than the more “disk-space-efficient” idea of sharing the system’s components, which leads to the aforementioned dependencies nightmare.

Just to give an example with the problem I am facing at the moment, I am not able to use eq10q equalizer, and as far as I understand it is due to something of this kind (wrong version of libraries, etc.).
(If you can help, please have a look here )

I understand that someone in this thread had a bad day and out of the bad mood called me “cheap”.

The spirit of my question, and the motivation of using Flatpak, is not “a way to have support without paying”, but a way to avoid technical problems, with the “self contained” approach.

Apart from that, as someone else noticed, I live in a place where PayPal is not an option.

Through a long process, and the intermediation of a friend in another country, I recently managed to pay some money and download the 7.1 version installer.

I hope that there is enough people, here in the newsgroup, who still enjoys the collaborative spirit of the free software culture, and will be able to help me in the transition process to Linux, without being so obsessed with money.

Reading again my post, and the interesting post of Audiojunkie on, I realize that what I have said about Flatpak, and the whole “dipendencies nightmare” problem, is not (completely) correct.

I am indeed not that well knowledgeable, in Operating Systems architectures in general, and even less in Linux “ecosystem”.

But I am old enough to have somehow followed the evolution of the “free software culture”, and I believe that a business model where paying is done on a more flexible basis is still the way to go.

I am more than happy to pay a reasonable amount of money if this saves me from spending hours on technicalities, and allows me to use the software and play music.

And the friendly interaction on the forum/newsgroup is an additional motivation!


So to try to clarify things just a little: the Ardour packages on already use essentially the same idea as Flatpak (and, as you correctly identify, macOS): they contain almost every library the application needs, so there is no possibility of issues caused by using system versions of those libraries. This only matters because the packages are built versions of Ardour (not source code).

On the other hand, Linux distro-provided builds of Ardour are already guaranteed to be “in-sync with the system libs”, so the issue does not arise there.

Finally, Ardour’s own packaging is not an attempt to “sandbox” the program, so there are none of the issues that Flatpak faces with plugins etc.

As a side note: the downside to the macOS/flatpak approach to things is that when a security flaw is found in a library packaged with an application, it becomes necessary to patch N different copies of this library, instead of one.


Hi, it was a bad day and in hindsight not the proudest moment in my posting history, but as both a supporter and Distributor I feel strongly about honoring what the developers ask here and also about people taking it seriously that they already have addressed providing Ardour in an optimal running form in numerous ways. When posts like this come up the developers especially @paul have to juggle the PR of welcoming and encouraging new Users and also patiently directing people towards paying as they intend. Ardour’s uniqueness as an Open-Source GPL project that is also payware does open the door to huge amount of external interpretation and yes my hyperbole that asking for help for Flatpak is like asking for help with warez was enough of an exaggeration to have muddied my point.

Anyway in the end you have learned a lot about Ardour and because of some pushback you have made an admirable decision to support the project and I have learned to maybe not start typing so quickly on a “bad day”… win win…? :bowing_man:


If you will allow me to offer further assistance I will make you aware that since 2008 I have maintained a ready-to-use free Linux Operating System based on Debian called AV Linux. Some things that may interest you about it are that it provides a fully supported binary of Ardour in it’s native bundle (compliments of @paul). It comes with the current Audio servers JACK and PulseAudio ready to use, and now has an option to install and use PipeWire, it comes with hundreds of Plugins both Open and Closed source and it comes with things like the Plugin locations and EQ10Q type of things fixed already before you know they’re broken. As a former Mac User you will not really care but AV Linux also comes with the ability to support Windows VST Plugins set up out of the box. Maybe you would like it long term and maybe you wouldn’t but I can tell you if you want to simply boot and try something just to see how a properly set up Linux Audio workstation is intended to work it’s probably worth your time to look at… I will point out as soon as Ardour 7.2 is released a new AV Linux ISO will be coming out and it has many notable improvements over the current version.

There are dozens of gorgeous Linux Desktop OS’s out there: Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora, Arch… you name it. Unfortunately most of them are missing pretty vital ingredients for people who want to migrate to Linux for Content Creation.


Thank you for your reply, @GMaq no hard feelings! :slight_smile:

I am indeed learning a lot!

I appreciate the idea of the dedicated OS, and at some point I may try it.

But for the time being, I am an occasional user, music for me is an occasional hobby.
I am using Ardour on a laptop that is meant to do other things, and for now I have to stick with Mint (but I have done some tweaking, including the low latency kernel ad the priority on performance for the cpu).