Brussels / 3 & 4 February 2018


Introduction to Flatpak

Flatpak uses unprivileged Linux containers to install and sandbox desktop apps. It resembles traditional packaging systems like dpkg and RPM in some ways, but is very different in other ways. This talk will introduce Flatpak's model for packaging, how and why it differs from traditional packaging systems, and how Linux operating systems can benefit from having both.

Traditional packaging systems like dpkg work with small, granular packages with a web of interdependencies. Flatpak is intended for user-facing GUI apps ("leaf packages"), which each have a single dependency: a "runtime" that collects all the libraries that the app needs and doesn't bundle.

Key topics:

  • The problems Flatpak sets out to solve: why traditional packages aren't always a good fit
  • How Flatpak mitigates the problems associated with bundled libraries
  • Avoiding data duplication and wasted space

This talk is intended for an audience of developers and sysadmins familiar with traditional packaging systems, but perhaps not the details of Flatpak.

The same speaker will be giving a follow-up talk on Flatpak's relationship to distributions, in the Distributions devroom on Sunday.


Photo of Simon McVittie Simon McVittie