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Permissions issue with Intellij-Idea on Linux

August 16, 2022

I didn't find anything mentioning this specific issue online so I thought I'd make a short article to help anyone in the same position. This should be relevant to anyone who has installed Intellij-Idea (or any other Jetbrains app) within a sandbox environment, such as Flatpak or Ubuntu Snap and is having problems accessing files from their system through Intellij.


I installed Intellij-Idea on my Pop!_Os Linux (A fork of Ubuntu) setup through the Pop!_Shop, which typically installs the apps as a flatpak file. I was having strange issues where Intellij-Idea wouldn't list all files under certain directories, such as /usr/bin. In my case /usr/bin/bash was visible and selectable, but not /usr/bin/zsh.

I tried various things to get this to work as well as searching for anyone who had run into the same situation. I ended up setting up a separate .bashrc mimicking most of my .zshrc for Intellij-Idea itself.

I was trying to find a quickfix instead of trying to figure out what was going on. Today I wanted to get it to work since I wasn't able to export my local DB through pg_dump, since /usr/bin/pg_dump was one of the binaries not there.

I realised that it was installed as Flatpak app, which runs in a sandbox and must not have some or other permission. I tried installing Flatseal to give the permissions. Unfortunately I wasn't able to give Intellij-Idea the necessary permissions. I'm really glad I came across Flatseal though, it looks like a great tool.


To make sure there weren't sandbox permission issues, I installed the Jetbrains toolbox app via the instructions on the Jetbrains website. The standalone install would work too.

This solved all of the app permission issues I was having.

While I had this issue with Flatpak, I suspect this would be an issue on Ubuntu if installed as a Snap package.