6 Tips and Tools to Enhance Your Flatpak Experience in Linux

Slowly and steadily, Flatpak has a growing acceptance in the desktop Linux world.

It is well integrated into Fedora and many other distributions like Linux Mint, elementary, Solus, etc. prefer it over Ubuntu’s Snap.

If you love using Flatpak applications, let me share a few tips, tools, and tweaks to make your Flatpak experience better and smoother.

1. Use Flathub to explore new Flatpak applications

This one goes without saying.

If you are looking for new applications in Flatpak packaging, browse the Flathub website.

This is the official website from the Flatpak project and it lists and distributes a huge number of Flatpak applications.

You can look for recommended apps in the “Editor’s choice” section, recently updated apps, new apps and popular apps.

6 Tips and Tools to Enhance Your Flatpak Experience in
Linux“no remote refs found similar to flathub” error while installing applications from Flathub.

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

2. Use Flatline extension to install Flatpak from the browser

The Flathub website provides command line instructions to install the application.

There is also an Install button but it doesn’t install the application for you. It downloads a .flatpakref file and then you’ll have to use the command line to install from the flatpakref file.

6 Tips and Tools to Enhance Your Flatpak Experience in
LinuxFlatline. It’s a Mozilla Firefox extension and it makes that Install button useful by converting it into appstream link. One more reason to use Firefox?

6 Tips and Tools to Enhance Your Flatpak Experience in
Linux
6 Tips and Tools to Enhance Your Flatpak Experience in
Linuxsudo apt install gnome-software-plugin-flatpak

Note that Ubuntu has switched to Snap for the software center. The above command will also install a deb version of GNOME Software Center. You’ll have two software center applications in the system.

If you enable the Flatpak support in the software, you can couple it with Flatline and install Fltapak apps from the web browser directly.

Recently, there was an independent, standalone Flatpak app store called Souk. However, it is no longer actively developed.

6 Tips and Tools to Enhance Your Flatpak Experience in
LinuxBauh that can manage Flatpak, Snap and AppImages from a single interface.

4. Manage Flatpak permissions graphically With Flatseal

Flatseal is a graphical utility to review and modify your Flatpak applications’ permissions. This makes things a lot easier than going through the commands.

6 Tips and Tools to Enhance Your Flatpak Experience in
Linuxflatpak install flathub com.github.tchx84.Flatseal

5. Apply GTK system themes to Flatpak applications

You might have already noticed that most Flatpak apps don’t change their appearance as per the current system theme.

Why? Because Flatpak apps run inside a ‘container’ and don’t have access to the host filesystem, network, or physical devices.

You can choose to install themes as Flatpak to solve this issue. However, your favorite theme might not be available in Flatpak format.

Alternatively, you can make some manual effort and force the Flatpak applications to use a given theme. Here’s how to do that.

Step 1: Give Flatpak access to the folder where theme files are kept:

sudo flatpak override --filesystem=$HOME/.themes

Step 2: List all the themes available in ~/.themes location and then provide the folder name of the selected theme to Flatpak:

sudo flatpak override --env=GTK_THEME=chosen-theme 
flatpak adwaitaflatpak canta dark
Comparing the theme change for the Flatpak applications

If you change the system theme later, you can change the theme for Flatpak in the same manner.

You can revert the changes using this command:

sudo flatpak override --reset

Read more about applying GTK theme to Flatpak apps in this article.

6. Update Flatpak apps and clean them

This is more for Flatpak unfriendly distributions like Ubuntu. If your distro doesn’t come baked in with Flatpak and you don’t have it integrated with the Software center, your installed Flatpak apps won’t be updated with system updates.

You can update all your installed Flatpak apps simultaneously with:

flatpak update
6 Tips and Tools to Enhance Your Flatpak Experience in
Linuxremove any unused runtimes. You don’t need to run this command manually anymore.

flatpak uninstall --unused

Bonus tip: While removing a Flatpak application, you can make it remove personal application data that are usually left behind in the home directory.

flatpak uninstall --delete-data package_name

Conclusion

I deliberately didn’t add more Flatpak command tips though I was tempted to. Probably there are a few more applications and tweaks for Flatpak packages. I shared my favorite ones.

If you know any good tips related to Flatpak packages, do share them with us in the comment section.


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