How Flatpaks changed the way I use Linux

As long-time Linux user, many things have remained fairly constant. There are new releases and improvements over time but every so often something comes along that changes the way I use Linux in a fundamental way. The latest instance of this is the advent of universal package formats, specifically Flatpak. In this video I describe how Flatpaks have taken me from switching distros based on the software available in the repos to using a distro because I either really like it or because it’s what works best on my system.

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Great video.

I’m also a Manjaro/Cinnamon user. If you want to install a program and you find it available in the AUR and on Flathub (same version), which one would you choose?

Not Eric but…

In Manjaro, if something is available via snap or flatpak I would use those rather then the AUR.

Reason is simple. Since Manjaro holds packages back some stuff can break that are installed via the AUR. Electron based apps have this occurrence probably more often than others but it’s something to consider.

I didn’t think of that. I believe LBRY is the only Electron app that I installed from the AUR. I did have some issues with it after updating a while back. Maybe that’s what caused it. If it happens again I’ll dump it and install the Flatpak.

Normally I would use the flatpak version but there are some cases where a native package integrates better and ultimately works better. It’s nice to have the choice.

I am a Flatpak convert ever since using Silverblue. I’m now adopting that setup in other distros as well. Performance and memory usage doesn’t take a hit, so I really don’t see the downside. Another bonus is that traditional local distro packages can’t really break your Flatpak applications with dependency issues if you do a system update, unless Flatpak itself breaks that is… This creates a very useful invisible divide between OS and applications.

System hardware integration like NVENC support is making it even more appealing. The only downside I’ve run into so far is when you need to access a file that on a separate mounted partition. Sometimes you cannot access it from within a Flatpak; for example Gnome Boxes can’t access my ISO directory that is on a different partition. In this case I can copy the ISO to my root partition temporarily to install the the distro and then delete it. These cases are few and far between, and I’m sure they will be addressed in the future.

Snap may be far ahead of Flatpak for software availability, but they’re catching up. I as well as others have also experienced high CPU usage in a snap compared to the traditional package and Flatpak equivalents. For now, I’ll stay a Flatpaker.

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This is also my experience.
Flatpak just works.

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Hey @EricAdams

I switched my main machine to Debian 10 (that’s also why I haven’t been on here for a while, because I’ve been busy setting everything up) and because of you, I gave Flatpak another try and it’s awesome how flawless everything works. Before, on Xubuntu, I had some theming issues and freezing and whatnot, but now on Debian, Flatpaks are working great and the system in general runs super smooth. This is probably my best Linux experience so far and thanks to Flatpak there’s no problem with outdated applications anymore.
So, thank you for your input. It really made me rethink some things and now I’m a happy camper. :slightly_smiling_face:

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It really has made it so you can have your cake and eat it too. Stable base with the availability of the latest apps running separate from the base system. Seeing a distro iike Linux Mint adopt flatpaks in this way is encouraging as it seems to be working well.