KDE developer Nathaniel Graham shared an interesting story over the weekend about the evolution of the Flatpak support in KDE Plasma’s Discover package manager coming along with the KDE Plasma 5.12 LTS desktop environment.
Those interesting in installing Flatpak universal Linux apps on their KDE Plasma-based GNU/Linux distros, should know that Flatpak support in the Plasma Discover package manager is now more mature and ready for production. It can handle multiple Flatpak repos, as well as installing of packages from the Flathub repository.
With the upcoming KDE Plasma 5.12 LTS desktop environment, Plasma Discover will support different backends, including Flatpak and Snappy, allowing users to search, download and install Flatpak and Snap apps. However, such a backend doesn’t come installed by default, so you’ll have to add it manually.
In Ubuntu-based distros, you can install Flatpak support by running the “sudo apt install plasma-discover-flatpak-backend” command in a terminal emulator. After that, you’ll have to add at least one Flatpak repository to be able to find and install Flatpak packages, as Nathaniel Graham explains in his latest blog post.
“The good news is that Discover’s Flatpak support is very good and getting better all the time. It’s fully production ready and we encourage you to use it,” explains the developer. “If you want faster Flatpak adoption, please petition your distros to install the Flatpak backend by default.”
Multiple Flatpak repos and Flathub support
Nathaniel Graham said that users using the KDE Plasma 5.12 LTS desktop environment would be able to add multiple Flatpak repositories if they go to the settings page and click on the hamburger menu button next to the “Flatpak” text and then click on the “Add Source…” button.
In the same manner, they can add Flathub support by clicking on the “Add Flathub” button. After that, they can discover Flatpak apps by searching or browsing through Discover’s app lists as they would normally do for native apps. As an alternative, you can go to the settings page and click on the Flatpak entry.
The developer also noted the fact that having support for multiple Flatpak repos will allow users to effortlessly switch between stable and up-to-date versions of the installed applications, as the current packaging policy of GNU/Linux distributions do not always allows us to do that with native Linux apps.
With that in mind, Flatpak support is most welcome in our Linux-powered computers. Same goes for Snappy, the universal binary format developed by Canonical for Ubuntu. Both are currently being adopted by more and more GNU/Linux distributions, while some still prefer to stick with AppImage.