Why Flatpak


Kind of a noob question about the flatpak system :

On Deepin, Elementary and now Budgie I set up Flatpak as I read it was a nice way to install apps. I thought I would be able to access more apps but in the end it just seem like a duplicate from the apps already in the distro stores. So I started wondering what is really the advantage of Flatpak for the lambda user I am ?

Is Flatpak allowing access to some apps not available otherwise on some distros and it’s just that I used “mainstream” distros and thus didn’t see the benefit ?

Or along that line maybe some apps are only available through Flatpak and I didn’t needed one yet ?

Are there any advantages long term by installing apps via Flatpak instead of the distro store ?

Sandboxing was the main draw for me, but what kept me going was the unrelated update cycle. I don’t need to wait for a distro upgrade to have the latest applications.

Same advantage as snap, better then appimage, which makes assumptions about the host system.


Just a minor correction, it is called Flatpak. I also have to admit that right now I am not using any Flatpak on my system. I am more of a repo guy.

Though some of the advantages are newer apps directly from the developers and regularly updated, at least on paper, and of course sandboxing if that is what you like.
If you use an LTS like Ubuntu or something like CentOS with ancient packages you could have some newer goodies on a stable base.

Why do I not use them? I like that Linux distributions have their official repositories and it just goes against my old school way of doing package management. I also think that we have created a little bit more of fragmentation by all those newer universal package formats. But choice is good.
It is true some apps you could probably only install because there is a Flatpak version, especially if your distro does not contain the software in its repos yet.

Flatpaks can also be integrated into Gnome Software and therefor you can update your whole system with both, the repos and the Flatpaks. But I do not use Gnome or Gnome Software, so I have to update the main repos and then also Flatpaks separately. It makes maintenance more complex. I admit I only use the terminal. So it could be all me. :wink:

Others have to chime in and tell you all about the beauty of Flatpaks.

Imagine you need Skype or Spotify. Instead of hunting the debs and rpms or random repositories or even the AUR or PPAs you can just grab the Flatpak version for all Linux distributions.


As a developer, one of the biggest advantages of distributing software via flatpak is being able to have only one target platform instead of however many different distros are out there. In my experience flatpak is compatible with basically every distro out there making it a perfect choice.

You see, often there are many potential bugs that are distribution specific, like a distro shipping an older or even a downstream patched version of a certain library for example. With flatpak there’s no such issue, it’s like working with a single unified platform.


Thanks for the answers !
I heard about the advantages for the developer side but not about sandboxing or getting up to date apps on LTS.
Now I’m going to edit the original post to correct flatpak :innocent:

yeah those are still very valid advantages, but honestly for how I see it, they’re just a bonus on top

I have personally had great success using flatpaks. I agree with flatpaks being an advantage over the default repo packages on LTS distros if there is a compelling reason to need the newer version. Otherwise, the repo version is probably a better bet.

The one caveat to this are apps that require a ton of dependencies where you may not want all the cruft on your core system. Example of this for me are PulseEffects or running a DE-specifc app that wants to pull in a lot of stuff for that DE. If there are flatpak versions of these they are cleaner because it abstracts it away from your base system.

Another example of this are OS Tree systems like Fedora’s Silverblue where the base system is read-only and userland is essentially a collection of flatpaks. The advantage is that the base system is essentially unbreakable from a software standpoint while allowing users to run whatever (flatpak) apps they want. Endless OS also does this.