So Canonical sought to solve the problem with distributing applications on Linux due to the very many and different Linux distributions around and each with their own packaging formats. So Canonical introduced Snaps. Whew, that would be great. But the again, Canonical isn’t the only ones hoping to crack this problem on Linux. In fact, there are two other frameworks that are seeking to be the one stop app framework for distributing application on Linux. There is Flatpak and the AppImage. So today we take a look at Flatpak and what it means to Linux.
What Is Flatpak?
Flatpak (previously known as xdg-app) is an app distribution framework that aims to enable users to install and run the same desktop application on multiple Linux distributions and their different versions. So according to the developers -
Flatpak is the new framework for desktop applications on Linux - Distributing applications on Linux is a pain: different distributions in multiple versions, each with their own versions of libraries and packaging formats. Flatpak is here to change all that. It allows the same app to be installed on different Linux distributions, including different versions. And it has been designed from the ground up with security in mind, so that apps are isolated from each other and from the host system.
Flatpak is the brainchild of Alexander Larsson, Principal Software Engineer at Red Hat.
How Does It Work?
Flatpak employs 3 main features to enable it to function.
So with Flatpak, apps can be updated without fear of conflicts occurring. Developers and users even may install different versions of the same app at the same time. Currently, there are some applications are available as Flatpaks including stable builds of LibreOffice, Telegram, Pitivi and Rhythmbox and then nightly builds of GIMP, Inkscape, Mypaint and Scribus.
Flatpak seeks to make Linux kind of a single OS by developing tools that will allow the universal installation of apps on all Linux distros. Currently, installing and updating flatpak tools and apps is via the command line only and a graphical tool will be so appreciated. Flatpak and Snaps all aim to achieve the same things. And since they can both coexist, let’s hope they can push each other to get better.