Distributing Blockstack for end users on Linux


Working with @Skorpion7777 to get the Portal up and running on Linux made realize that we should think about a Linux end user distribution strategy.

On macOS, we have a native app that bundles a Core node and the Portal so that users can use Blockstack without having to install and configure multiple components. It adds an icon to the menu bar (screenshot below) which allows quick access to the Portal and its various apps.

In Linux, we have Debian packages for Core. Docker images are also being created. However, as of yet, we don’t have an distribution strategy for desktop end users to get the full Blockstack experience (both a Core node and the Portal) up and running without running multiple commands in terminals.



Hey, so first of all I think a Docker Image would be very helpful. Here are some other thoughts. One of the most important things that keeps people away from Blockstack is the missing documentation. I spend nearly half a week to get the Blockstack Browser running. Every time different issues and setting up multiple VMs to get it running “kind of”. I mean I know the hustle from previous working with blockstack but imho it keeps many users away. So a good documentation on the installation process is necessary! For example use the blockstack video tutorials have been great. or update and extend the documentations on blockstack.org. I think there are mainly two kinds of people you should focus on:
1. First time Blockstack users:
I think the instructions from my thread on github are enough, but you should specify the exact versions of npm, nodejs etc. since this is one of the main points causing trouble
2. Blockstack “Veterans”:
People who are familiar with the Blockstack CLI and already own a wallet. I started my installation journey on a VM with Blockstack CLI and a wallet already installed. But the Browser couldn’t deal with it and the instructions given by @larry in the slack haven’t really worked for me which was super frustrating since you would think “yeah I already configuered blockstack and everything is fine, browser installation shouldnt take long” … Yeah… Maybe a Docker Image would solve this, I’m not shure

I know multiple command lines aren’t exactly what you would call beautiful, but linux users are more or less familiar with that. A better documentation would be a better point to start at and only after that I would use the energy to improve the looks. What do you think about this approach?


Absolutely! Our docs are lagging behind the code and we need to fix that soon. We recently updated the Blockstack Core installation docs and it’d be great if you can give any feedback on that as well.

That’s a great point. I started a Github issue and you can track progress there.

As for a Docker image. We will have docker images soon. I think a community member was working on this.