How much work is required to configure Flatpak

Your explanation would’ve made sense if the flavors had shipped some Flatpak repository ootb like Flathub or any other. But AFAIK, they don’t. They only ship the base Flatpak package, so that means the average user wouldn’t even know that he has Flatpak preinstalled and would just use debs or Snaps. Basically, if someone wants to install a Flatpak app, then before this change he had to configure the Flatpak repo and install the app. Now, after this change he will have to install the Flatpak package, configure the Flatpak repo and install the app. So is this one small extra step really makes that big of a difference?


This is good question - does it make difference for flatpak users who need just one small extra step? Installing actual flatpak apps always needed manual work so this doesn’t change much and if you didn’t use flatpak then you had idle package on system.

Most distros don’t pre-install flatpak and people don’t make drama out of it.


Yes, it’s not a big deal for those who use Flatpak, but my main point is that if no Flatpak repo is preinstalled in a flavor, then arraybolt3’s claim that this change was made because of a worry that using Flatpaks would mean no support from Canonical, is invalid.
So this leaves only one explanation - that Canonical sees Flatpak as a direct competitor to Snap, hence the removal of Flatpak package. I’ve also tried to think about other possible reason, but always return to this conclusion.

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how about the fact that official flavors are not allowed to ship with PPAs enabled ? …
…should it be possible for a flavor to include dnf and rpm from universe in their default seed, deviating away from ubuntu-standard and ubuntu-minimal seeds which are essentially defining what Ubuntu is as a whole ?

This is all about the Ubuntu experience.
having the same plumbing layer across all official *buntus, having a guarantee that tutorials, howtos and support work the exact same everywhere and last but not least being able to use the exact same official howto on all of them to enable flatpak, no matter what desktop or enduser apps have been selected and pre-installed on top of this.

As a Canonical employee i can tell you that nobody (at least around me) actually sees flatpak as a competitor to snaps at all. they have a completely different focus and purpose and are implemented on completely different levels of the system, flatpaks can never cope with many bits snaps do like snaps can likely never cope with many bits flatpaks do and this is by design …

nobody in my 18y at Canonical has ever expressed any thought to me the way that the clickbait’y news articles or the people that like to troll in the respective forums allege …

it is just very depressing to find that after you tried to support someone not very tech savvy over several hours on IRC, you realize you have been trying to fix a problem with a broken flatpak installed app and have not been told about at the beginning of the support session.


No, I’m not saying they should ship any third party repository and this isn’t a very accurate analogy to shipping the base Flatpak package because it’s part of the Ubuntu repository and again, like I said 2 comments ago, the flavors don’t have any Flatpak repository configured out of the box (and I’m also not saying they should). For example, I’ve briefly used Ubuntu Mate 22.10 around december last year and I didn’t even know it had the Flatpak base package preinstalled.

Btw, if you care so much about the consistency of packages and user experience between the different flavors, then how about the fact that Ubuntu Mate ships lm_sensors, gamemode and a few other packages, but Kubuntu doesn’t ship them for some reason?
I could understand that if the reason for removing Flatpak was to make the package base more consistent between the flavors, but it doesn’t really seem so because this desicion only touches Flatpak and not other packages (like I mentioned above).

I don’t see how is this relevant to the current situation because like I mentioned many times, there are no Flatpak repositories configured out of the box in any flavor, so one way or another, installing a Flatpak app would require some manual work.
If you don’t want cases like these to happen, then maybe Ubuntu should be turned into a walled garden like Android or iOS? But I don’t think anyone would want that. Removing the base Flatpak package will certainly not prevent issues like these from happening.

How is it relevant whether or not it has repos configured, if i installed that OS and something is pre-installed i expect that stuff to be kind of supported, no matter if i have to flick an extra switch or not …

we are talking about an additional package manager here, not about some sensor monitoring tool or some app that sets my CPU to performance levels for gaming.

there is two types of packages fully supported by default in every official Ubuntu. for everything else you have package managers available in universe you can easily install and they will not be pre-installed to lure you into thinking it might also be supported. this is true for dnf, rpm, pip, npm, you name it … neither of these has ever been pre-installed on any official flavor …

you say yourself that there is manual work required to install a flatpak, is having one more line (apt install flatpak) really that much worse ?

having to install it from universe simply makes clearer that it is not in any way supported unlike when you have it on disk by default …


Sorry I did not read everything but the least we would have hoped to be preinstalled on Ubuntu would be the “flatpakref” file support

  • Install flatpak
  • install a flatpakref handler such as a “ubuntu software” or maybe an independant handler like in elementary

Then when the user goes to a software website to get the latest version , he can open the flatpakref file and add the repo ( yes which is flathub most of the time which enable all other apps discovery …) without touching the terminal

Your " We don’t care about the linux ecosystem in 2023" approach keeps Ubuntu from reaching it initial goal : Brings the best of open source software to newcomers.

I m far away from being a flatpak fan , I was even not using it in 2020 but the steamdeck + recent moves change everything