Flatpak is a universal package system for software deployment, application virtualization and, most importantly, package management, that works on all Linux distributions. With Flatpak, you don’t need to worry about any dependencies and libraries, since everything is already built into the application itself. A notable feature of Flatpak is that all applications work in a sandbox, which means that they all work in isolation. Among other things, this allows you to run different versions of software on the same system.
In this article, we will describe how to install Flatpak on your Debian through the official Debian repository. We will also explain how you can use Flatpak to install software through Debian. command line. The article also explains how you can install the Flatpak plugin for your Debian, which allows you to install packages available on Flatpak through the Debian Software Manager.
We ran the commands and procedures mentioned in this article on the Debian 10 Buster system.
Install Flatpak from Debian Official Repository
Flatpak is easily accessible through the official Debian repository and can be installed via the command line using the apt-get command.
Open the “Terminal” application through the system application search as follows:
The next step is to update the repository index of your system with the following command:
$ sudo apt-get update
This will help you install the latest available software version from the Internet. Please note that only an authorized user can add, remove and configure software in 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 to enter a password for sudo, as well as provide the Y / n option to continue the installation. Type Y, then press Enter; software will be installed on your system. However, the process may take some time depending on the speed of your internet.
You can check the version number of the application, and also make sure that it is actually installed on your system with the following command:
$ flatpak --version
Install software with Flatpak using the command line
As an example of installing software using the Flatpak installer using the command line, we will find and install the GNU Octave package. GNU Octave is a high-level interpreted language primarily intended for numerical calculations.
For Flatpak to know where to find and download the application package, you need to add the Flathub repository. This repository gives you a selection of Flatpak apps. Add the Flathub repository as follows:
$ flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo
Please enter your password and the Flathub repository will be added to your system.
You can now application search through the following command syntax:
$ flatpak search [application-name]
I used the following command to search for GNU Octave:
$ flatpak search octave
As a result of the search, you will receive an application identifier 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 procedure. The Octave package size is about 1.3 GB and can take a lot of time depending on the speed of your Internet, after which it will be installed on your system.
Install software via Flatpak using the software manager interface
When searching for a package through the Debian Software Manager, it does not display the packages available on Flatpak. For example, when I tried to find the gedit editor, Debian Software listed only the package from GNOME:
If you need Flatpak support in the Software Center so that it also contains a list of Flatpak application packages, you need to install the plugin.
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 plug-in will be installed as well as automatically configured using the software manager.
Now that I was looking for gedit again, I saw the gedit package from Flatpak listed in the search results.
You can search for any such package and then proceed with the installation, as with any other software.
That was all you needed to know about Flatpack. If you want, you can delete it with the following commands:
$ sudo apt-get remove flatpak
Now you can access the latest versions of most applications through the universal Flatpak package system for your Debian.
How to install software using Flatpak on Debian 10