Linux newbies get their money's worth as they can install packages while saving time and effort. Canonical, the parent company of Ubuntu, was the first to implement Snaps, cross-distribution, dependency-free software.

With Snap came Flatpak, another universal packaging system written in C. It is considered a package management utility and enables a user to install and run applications in an isolated environment.

Basic terminology

Like Snap, Flatpak aims to make software management easier across Linux distributions. Here are some common terminologies to be aware of:

  • Flatpak: This is a system used to build, distribute, and run sandboxed desktop applications on Linux.
  • running time: Runtimes are also known as platforms because they function as integrated platforms to provide basic utilities necessary for a Flatpak application to function.
  • Flatpak application: These are applications that a user can use the. can install Flatpak Command on your computer.

Benefits of Using Flatpak

  • universality: Flatpak as a utility service manager enables a user to virtually install and run applications on almost any Linux desktop. This includes all non-GNU distributions, read-only operating systems, systemd-free distributions, or other architectures.
  • Innovation friendly: Flatpak sponsors distribution maintainers to help developers focus on their innovation goals.
  • stability: Errors within an application do not lead to an interruption of the system. This is because Flatpak runtimes are included and do not affect the functioning of the system.
  • Rootless installation: You do not need elevated rights when installing a Flatpak application / runtime.
  • Sandbox applications: One of Flatpak's primary goals is to improve system security by isolating applications from one another. Applications run in a sandbox and run in separate silos.

Related: A Beginner's Guide to Software Repositories in Ubuntu

Install Flatpak on Linux distributions

Depending on the Linux distribution used, there are different options for installing Flatpak.

The Flatpak installation is a two-step process. The first step involves installing Flatpak through a package manager. The second step is to add the Flatpak repository, Flathub, from which you can install various applications.

Here's how you can install the package on different Linux distributions:

On Ubuntu and Mint

By default, Flatpak supports Ubuntu 18.04, Mint 19.3 and their newer versions. You can install the package on Ubuntu and Linux Mint using APT:

sudo apt install flatpak

On Debian and Debian-based distributions

To install Flatpak on Debian-based distributions like Elementary and Zorin, you need to add a PPA to your system before downloading the package:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa: alexlarsson / flatpak
sudo apt update
sudo apt install flatpak

You can also use the commands above to install Flatpak on Ubuntu.

Via Red Hat and Fedora

Run this command to install on RHEL-based distributions like Fedora and CentOS:

sudo dnf install flatpak

Alternatively, you can also use the YUM package manager:

sudo yum install flatpak

On OpenSUSE

Issue the following command to install Flatpak on OpenSUSE:

sudo zypper install flatpak

On ArchLinux / Manjaro

Finally, run the following command to install the package on Arch Linux and its derivative distributions:

sudo pacman -S flatpak

Related: Flathub vs. Snap Store: Best Sites for Downloading Linux Apps

Adding the Flathub repository on Linux

The next step is to add Flatpak's repository, Flathub, so that you can download and install applications from one of the most popular and widely used repositories.

Run this command to add the repository on Linux:

flatpak remote-add –if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

How to use Flatpak on Linux

Using Flatpak is pretty similar to using other package managers on Linux. You can use the Flatpak command line tool to find and install applications in the Flathub repository.

Search applications on Flathub

Before installing the applications, you can check whether a particular application is available in the repository. The default format for this command is:

Flatpak search application name

As an example, let's search for Spotify and install it if it is available.

Flatpak search Spotify

The resulting values ​​indicate the application ID, version, branch, and remotes along with a description of the software.

Install packages with Flatpak

The basic syntax for installing applications with Flatpak is:

flatpak install remotes applicationID

For example, to install Spotify you can use:

Install flatpak flathub com.spotify.Client

Start an application

Use the following command format to start an application:

flatpak run applicationID

For example:

flatpak run com.spotify.Client

This will eventually launch the Spotify application on your system.

List installed Flatpak packages

Let's go one step further. To get a list of all the Flatpak packages installed on your system:

Flatpak list

Update installed packages

To update Flatpak packages in your system, do the following:

Flatpak update

If all packages are already up to date, there will be no new changes after running the above command.

Uninstall software with Flatpak

If you've installed an application and no longer want to keep it, you can use the. uninstall successfully uninstall Method. The standard syntax of the command is:

Uninstall Flatpak Application ID

Since we just installed Spotify, try uninstalling the application by typing:

Uninstall flatpak com.spotify.Client

Activate the GNOME repository

Just like Flathub, the GNOME repository contains all of the core GNOME applications. The central repository itself has two versions: stable and nightly.

Add the GNOME stable repository

To use wget to download the GPG keys for the repository:

wget https://sdk.gnome.org/keys/gnome-sdk.gpg

Add the GNOME Flatpak repository to your system by doing Remote add:

sudo flatpak remote-add –gpg-import = gnome-sdk.gpg –if-not-exists gnome-apps https://sdk.gnome.org/repo-apps/

To install the nightly version instead, run the following commands:

wget https://sdk.gnome.org/nightly/keys/nightly.gpg
sudo flatpak remote-add –gpg-import = nightly.gpg –if-not-exists gnome-nightly-apps https://sdk.gnome.org/nightly/repo-apps/

Listing remote repositories

To list all configured remote repositories:

Flatpak remote controls

The above command lists the repositories that you have added to your system. It also shows whether the repository is a system-wide installation or is only intended for a few users.

Deleting a Flatpak Repository

The basic syntax for deleting a repository is:

sudo flatpak remote-delete remote-name

…Where Remote name is the name of the remote repository.

For example, to remove the Flathub repository from your system:

sudo flatpak remote-flathub delete

Repair Flatpak installation

Use the repair Command to repair Flatpak installation on your system:

repair sudo flatpak

The command will take a while to complete, so be patient and wait for it to complete.

Kill a Flatpak Trial

To kill a Flatpak process, first check which processes are running:

sudo flatpak ps

To end a process:

sudo flatpak kill applicationID

How to check if the system finished the process successfully:

sudo flatpak ps

Related: How to View Process Related Information on Linux Using the ps Command

Make the most of Flatpak's commandspa

As a beginner, you will likely find yourself overwhelmed by the various terminologies, jargon, and myriad commands available in Linux distributions. However, Flatpak is here to make your life easier by allowing you to install applications safely and securely.

If you are just starting out, it is best to slowly and steadily explore the various features while understanding the various nuances available in the distributions. If you don't want to bother with the command line at all, head over to Snap and Snap Store to install packages on Linux.

Everything you need to know about Snap and Snap Store

Overwhelmed with the steep learning curve of command line package managers? Get started with Snap and Snap Store today.

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About the author

Wini Bhalla
(3 articles published)

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By Wini Bhalla

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