Flatpak is a universal package system for software provisioning, application virtualization and, most importantly, package management that works on all Linux distributions. With a Flatpak package, you don’t have to worry about any dependencies or libraries, as everything is already bundled in the application itself. A notable feature of Flatpak is that all apps work in a sandboxed approach, which means that they all work in isolation. This allows you, among other things, to run different versions of software on the same system.
In this article we describe the installation of Flatpak on your Debian via the official Debian repository. We’ll also explain how you can use Flatpak to install software through Debian. Command line. The article also explains how to install a Flatpak plugin in your Debian that allows you to install packages that are available on Flatpak through the Debian Software Manager.
We ran the commands and procedures mentioned in this article on a Debian 10 Buster system.
Install Flatpak from the official Debian repository
Flatpak is easily available from the official Debian repository and can be installed from the command line using the apt-get command.
Open your terminal application using the system’s Application Launcher search as follows:
The next step is to update your system’s repository index using the following command:
$ sudo apt-get update
This will help you install the latest version of the software available from the internet. Please note that only an authorized user can add, remove and configure software on Debian.
You are now ready to install Flatpak; You can do this by running the following command as sudo:
$ sudo apt-get install flatpak
The system may ask you for the sudo password and also give you a Y / N option to continue the installation. Type Y then hit Enter; The software will be installed on your system. However, the process may take some time depending on your internet speed.
You can check the version number of the application and also check that it is actually installed on your system by running the following command:display
$ flatpak --version
Install software with Flatpak from the command line
As an example of installing software through the Flatpak installer using the command line, let’s look for the GNU Octave package and install it. GNU Octave is a high-level interpreted language primarily intended for numerical computation.
In order for Flatpak to know where to find and download an application package, you need to add the Flathub repository. This repository gives you a number of Flatpak applications to choose from. Add the Flathub repository as follows:
$ flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo
Please enter the password and the Flathub repository will be added to your system.
You can now Search application by the following command syntax:
$ Flatpak search [application-name]
I used the following command to search for GNU Octave:
$ flatpak search octave
The search result gives you an application ID that you can use in the following command to add a specific package:
$ flatpak install flathub [Application_ID]
I would install the GNU Octave package from the Flathub repository using the Flatpak installer as follows:
$ flatpak install flathub org.octave.Octave
Enter Y to start the installation process. The Octave package is around 1.3GB in size and depending on your internet speed it may take a long time before it is installed on your system.
Install software through Flatpak using the software manager user interface
When you search for a package through the Debian Software Manager, the packages available on Flatpak are not listed. For example, when I tried to search for the gedit editor, Debian Software only listed the package from GNOME:
If you want Flatpak support in the Software Center so that Flatpak application packages are also listed, you need to install a plug-in.
Use the following command as sudo in your terminal to install the required plugin:
$ sudo apt-get install gnome-software-plugin-flatpak
Enter Y at the Y / n prompt and the plugin will be installed and also automatically configured with the Software Manager.
When I searched for gedit again, I could see Flatpak’s gedit package in the search results.
You can search for such a package and then proceed with the installation like any other software.
That was all you needed to know about Flatpak. If you want, you can remove it using the following commands:
$ sudo apt-get remove flatpak
You can now access the latest versions of most applications through the Flatpak universal packaging system for your Debian.