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Flatpak Linux app distributor is now ready for prime time

(Image: Linux Foundation)

22 August 2018

The Flatpak framework for distributing Linux desktop applications is now in prodaction release, after three years of beta status. The framework, originally called XDG-app, is intended to make Linux more attractive to desktop app developers. Applications built as a Flatpak can be installed on just about any Linux distribution.

The open source FlatPak can be used by different types of desktop applications and is intended to be as agnostic as possible when it comes the building of applications. There are no requirements for languages, build tools, or frameworks. Users can control app updates. Flatpak uses familiar technologies such as the Bubblewrap utility for setting up containers and Systemd for setting up Linux cgroups (control groups) for sandboxes.

Flatpak 1.0’s new capabilities include:

  • A mechanism for restarting apps
  • The ability to mark apps as reaching end of life, to indicate when they are no longer supported
  • An improved command-line interface, with new commands and options
  • Speed and reliability improvements

Flatpak’s developers are taking the beta label off the Flathub app service. The production-level service offers a repo that can be used by Linux desktop PCs and a website to browse and install apps. Hundreds of apps are available for installation.

Also, there is a major release of the Freedesktop runtime, used by most Flatpak apps. Version 18.08 of the runtime adds a life cycle policy that has a regular release schedule, security updates, and guaranteed support periods.

You can download Flatpak from the project’s setup page and specifying your Linux distro.

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