Flatpak

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Flatpak is a package management framework aiming to provide support for sandboxed, distro-agnostic binary packages for Linux desktop applications.

Installation

USE flags

USE flags for sys-apps/flatpak Linux application sandboxing and distribution framework

X Add support for X11
doc Add extra documentation (API, Javadoc, etc). It is recommended to enable per package instead of globally
introspection Add support for GObject based introspection
policykit Enable PolicyKit (polkit) authentication support
seccomp Enable seccomp (secure computing mode) to perform system call filtering at runtime to increase security of programs
systemd Enable use of systemd-specific libraries and features like socket activation or session tracking

Emerge

Note
Chromium-based browsers suggest disabling the suid USE flag for sys-apps/bubblewrap for performance reasons. Also there are technologies such as Valve Pressure Vessel (used in Steam) which requires it to work. Without suid, bubblewrap requires the kernel option CONFIG_USER_NS=y to be set.
Note
Flatpak installation guide suggested to restart the system after installation. This might be no longer necessary.
root #emerge --ask sys-apps/flatpak

Add flathub repository

Tip
All operations with flatpak can be performed as user or as root, if performing as user --user flag can help if there are issues with permissions.
user $flatpak remote-add --user --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

Configuration

Files

  • /var/lib/flatpak - global flatpak state (system-wide installed apps and repos)
  • ~/.local/share/flatpak - per-user flatpak state (locally installed apps and repos)
  • ~/.var/app/ - per application state (configuration files and cache)

Permissions

In some instances, it may be necessary to edit the sandbox permissions of a flatpak application. The most convenient way of doing this is via the GUI tool Flatseal.

user $flatpak install com.github.tchx84.Flatseal

Basic usage

To install an application, e.g. Thunderbird, run:

user $flatpak --user install org.mozilla.Thunderbird

To run the application use created .desktop file or run:

user $flatpak run org.mozilla.Thunderbird

To update installed applications and runtimes:

user $flatpak update

Theming

Flatpak documentiation offers a good guide about desktop integration and theming.

GTK

Flatpak applications don't follow the system's GTK theme by default. First find out what's the current GTK theme, e.g. Materia-dark-compact, and then install it for Flatpak applications to use. [1]

user $gsettings get org.gnome.desktop.interface gtk-theme
user $flatpak install flathub org.gtk.Gtk3theme.Materia-dark-compact

Desktop integration for Wayland

When using WMs such as Sway, installing xdg portals is needed for full integration. There are backends available for this matter:

  • GTK backend: 'xdg-desktop-portal-gtk'
  • KDE backend 'xdg-desktop-portal-kde' (in development)
  • Wayland/wlroots backend: 'xdg-desktop-portal-wlr' (in development)
  • LXQt backend 'xdg-desktop-portal-lxqt' (in development)
  • Flatpak backend: 'flatpak-portal' (included in the Flatpak package)

Please note that these are separate entities that and do not substitute each other and you may need to run some of them at once.

Installation

root #emerge --ask sys-apps/xdg-desktop-portal
root #emerge --ask sys-apps/xdg-desktop-portal-gtk
root #emerge --ask gui-libs/xdg-desktop-portal-wlr
root #emerge --ask gui-libs/xdg-desktop-portal-lxqt

Ensuring portals are running

Please note that sometimes these libraries aren't pulled automatically by the OS and need to be run by the user, for example they can be pulled in Sway configuration:

FILE ~/.config/sway/configRunning xdg portals
exec /usr/libexec/xdg-desktop-portal-gtk -r
exec /usr/libexec/xdg-desktop-portal-wlr -r
exec /usr/libexec/flatpak-portal -r
exec "sh -c 'sleep 5;exec /usr/libexec/xdg-desktop-portal -r'"

Flatpaked GTK apps under Wayland and jagged fonts

Some users report jagged fonts on Wayland. That happened because if GTK apps can't detect whether they should perform font antialiasing, they disable ones by default. It obtain info ether from the system or via xdg-desktop-portal-gtk if flatpaked. It also requires you to setting up the proper wayland scheme for it from gnome-base/gsettings-desktop-schemas, but that package already in list of flatpak dependencies.

So workaraund is to install xdg-desktop-portal-gtk and reboot/restart the desktop:

root #emerge --ask sys-apps/xdg-desktop-portal-gtk

You may make sure if it is launched via topic "Ensuring portals are running" above.

Since in early 2022 GTK wayland schemas are moved from gnome-base/gnome-settings-daemon to gnome-base/gsettings-desktop-schemas, the gnome settings daemon is no more required and can be uninstalled.

Troubleshooting

After updating nvidia-drivers 3D applications will crash or are super slow

Make sure to update the flatpak nvidia platform.

user $flatpak update

See also

  • Docker — a container virtualization environment
  • LXD — is a next generation system container manager.

References