Flatpak is a software utility for software deployment application virtualization and package manager that aims to provide cross-platform sandboxed packages to every Linux distribution.
It provides a sandbox environment in which users can run applications in isolation from the rest of the system.
Applications using Flatpak need permission from the user to control hardware devices or access the user’s files.
Flatpak was developed by the Free Desktop Project and offers an outstanding alternative to snaps for the desktop. With these types of universal packages, it becomes incredibly easy to install third-party applications without having to add repositories or deal with dependencies.
Flatpak can be used by all kinds of desktop applications, and aims to be as agnostic as possible regarding how applications are built. There are no requirements regarding which programming languages, build tools, toolkits or frameworks can be used.
While Flatpak only runs on Linux, it can be used by applications that target other operating systems, as well as those that are Linux-specific. Applications can be open source or proprietary (although some distribution services, like Flathub, can have restrictions in this respect).
Flatpak allows a single application build to be installed and run on virtually any Linux distribution. It can also be used in combination with Flathub, a centralized service for distributing applications on all distributions. This makes it possible for application developers to target the entire Linux desktop market from one place.
Flatpak also offers native integration for the main Linux desktops, so that users can easily browse, install, run and use Flatpak applications through their existing desktop environment and tools.
Benefits for developers include:
Maintained platforms: called runtimes, these contain collections of dependencies, which can be used by applications, and which can take a lot of the work out of application development.
Bundling: this allows application developers to ship almost any dependency or library as part of their application. This gives complete control over which software is used to build applications.
Forward-compatibility: the same Flatpak can be run on different versions of the same distribution, including versions that haven’t been released yet. This doesn’t require any changes or management by application developers.
In this post we will put example how to install and use Flatpak on Ubuntu.
Follow this 4 steps.
1. Install Flatpak
The first thing is add the necessary repository. To do this, open up a terminal window and issue the command: To install it, run the following in a terminal:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:alexlarsson/flatpak
sudo apt update
sudo apt install flatpak
2. Install the Software Flatpak plugin
The Flatpak plugin for the Software app makes it possible to install apps without needing the command line. To install, run:
sudo apt install gnome-software-plugin-flatpak
3. Add the Flathub repository
Flathub is the best place to get Flatpak apps. To enable it, run:
flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo
To complete setup, restart your system. Now all you have to do is install some apps.