Linux

Flatpak is gaining momentum

The Xdg App project has been renamed to Flatpak to get an easy-to-remember name and reflect that after almost two years of development it’s finally ready for broader adoption.

flatpak-logo

It has also got a brand-new official website – Flatpak.org.

Since then the project has gained momentum. Last week, LibreOffice for Flatpak was announced. This is something Stephan Bergmann of the Red Hat team of LibreOffice has been working on for the last couple of months (read his blogpost about it). You can now easily install the latest LibreOffice (5.2 Beta) directly from The Document Foundation to your system and use is side by side with the system version.

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LibreOffice 5.2 Beta in F24 via Flatpak

There are nightly builds of 23 GNOME apps, Darktable, GIMP, Inkscape, MyPaint.

The KDE community has prepared a testing version of KDE runtime, so now you can also easily build KDE/Qt apps for Flatpak. Dan Vrátil worked on the KDE runtime when he was in my team. Dan has not been with Red Hat for half a year, but it’s great to see that his initial work stirred some interest in the KDE community.

Aleix Pol tweeted that he was working on Krita for Flatpak.

Mario Sanchez Prada is working on Chromium for Flatpak.

Flatpak finds its way to distributions, too. Simon McVittie wrote a blogpost about adopting Flatpak in Debian.

Installing Flatpak applications currently requires a couple of commands. Easy to do, but not the best UX. That is going to change soon, too. GNOME Software 3.21 already supports and associates with .flatpak files, so you’ll just double-click the file and everything necessary for installation will be taken care of.

2016 may not be the Year of Linux Desktop, but perhaps it will be remembered as the year when distribution of Linux desktop apps was redefined.

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19 thoughts on “Flatpak is gaining momentum

  1. Wow … this is very exciting. I am delighted with my LibreOffice installations using Flatpak. Packaged in Flatpak is not a very complex task and the benefits it brings to developers are many. I hope more and more developers see the benefits of Flatpak.
    However, as is common in our ecosystem fragmentation it is on the agenda. GNU GUIX, AppImage and Snap try to fulfill similar objectives.

  2. “2016 may not be the Year of Linux Desktop”

    Not the year of Windows desktop either, forums all over the world is flooded with frustrated people trying to get their Windows computers to work. I once were one of those spending hours daily on voluntary helping people out with their Windows issues, in practice doing Microsofts job for free. Now i only help Linux-users where voluntary work actually makes sense. If more people dropped doing commercial companies own job for free it would in the long term bring people to open source where there allways is someone like myself that is ready to help for the cost of a “thank you”.

    1. But it is only a container format to create portable applications. Flatpak is definitely a superior framework.

      1. Depends on what you want to do with it. Download once, run on all distros, share on USB sticks without the need for Internet connection – all of this is possible with AppImage.

        1. That is the definition of a portable application and use cases are the same for any portable application… that is AppImage, no more.

    1. Flatpak doesn’t depend on Gnome and Gnome doesn’t depend on Flatpak/xdg-app. So I’m not sure what “backporting Flatpak support to Gnome 3.20” is supposed to mean. Flatpak works just fine on my machines running Gnome 3.20.

      1. I think what František means is support for installation of .flatpak files in GNOME Software, so that users would just double-click it to install instead of executing a bunch of commands.

    1. According to the VLC developers , they are interested in a cross-distribution binary package for Linux, however,flatpak it does not yet allow features like DVD, BlueRay, etc. and Flatpak developers have no intention of fix them. -_-‘

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