Fedora, GNOME, LibreOffice, Linux

Installing flatpaks gets easier in Fedora 25

A lot of users complained that installing flatpaks was too difficult. And they were right, just look at the installation instructions on the Flatpak download page at LibreOffice.org. But that was never meant to be the final user experience.

flatpak-logo

Richard Hughes integrated Flatpak support into GNOME Software and the Red Hat desktop apps team worked with him to make sure it works well with apps we’ve already packaged for Flatpak. And this is the result. As you can see installing LibreOffice for Flatpak is now a matter of a couple of clicks with GNOME Software 3.22.2 in Fedora 25:

 

Flatpak allows you to generate a .flatpak bundle which includes the app and all the necessary info for installation of the app and setting up its repo for future updates. You can also create a .flatpakref file which doesn’t contain the app, but all the installation info and the app is downloaded during the installation. This format is also supported by GNOME Software now. LibreOffice offers a .flatpak bundle because it’s more similar to what users are used to from Windows and macOS.

As you can see on the video, installing .flatpak bundles is a matter of downloading the file and opening it directly with GNOME Software or double-clicking it. There is one prerequisite though. You need to have a repo of the runtime the app requires enabled which I had because I had been using the GNOME runtime for other apps already. Installation of runtimes is being streamlined as well. As a runtime provider, you can ship .flatpakrepo file which includes necessary info for setting up the repo and is as easy to install as .flatpak and .flatpakref. For Fedora Workstation we’re currently considering to enable repos of most common runtimes by default, so users would not have to deal with them at all, the required runtimes would get installed automatically with the app.

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6 thoughts on “Installing flatpaks gets easier in Fedora 25

  1. Hello, nice to hear! Do you know which version of GNOME Software exactly can handle *.flatpakref files graphically? I’ve been trying to install one on my Arch Linux system, but Software 3.22.2 does not seem to support my *.flatpakref file and I end up using the command line…

  2. YouTube video: it’s very easy in Fedora 25; blog: it’s very easy in Fedora 25 IF you did some installations first before what is on YouTube video. In another words: it is not THAT easy.

    Such videos should be done fully, without skipping “less easy” parts (for example recorded from fresh Fedora 25 in VM where installation of all necessary pre-requirements are showed).

    Another questions: Which download/install first? .flatpak file? .flatpakref file? If .flatpak require .flatpakref file – why .flatpakref is not part of .flatpak file? What about dependences? If future LibreOffice will require Gnome 3.22 – will it install proper .flatpakref or again I will need do it manually? What will happen with Gnome 3.20 already installed (used only in “older” flatpak LibreOffice)? It will be updated? Or there will be 3.20 and 3.22 separately?

    Adding “most common” .flatpakref to the distribution probably will not resolve issue. For example for Fedora 26 probably “the most common” will be: Gnome 3.20; Gnome 3.22 (for old flatpak compatibility) and Gnome 3.24. But what about future Gnome 3.26, etc.? KDE?

    I know that flatpak is nice tech and now it is “good enough” for “powerusers”, but let face it – at this point it is not “average user” ready at all (other comments here proves it). Perhaps in Fedora 26…

    1. “What about dependences? If future LibreOffice will require Gnome 3.22 – will it install proper .flatpakref or again I will need do it manually? What will happen with Gnome 3.20 already installed (used only in “older” flatpak LibreOffice)? It will be updated? Or there will be 3.20 and 3.22 separately?”

      Once the repo is set up, flatpak can install new versions of the runtime if required. And yes, you can have several versions of the same runtime installed if they’re required by apps.

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