Opportunity for Flatpak to become the default packaging format for non-developers using Linux on Chromebooks and other platforms

Flatpak offers the easiest and most reliable access to Linux apps for the ever increasing number of Chromebook users. The Flatpak apps I am using include Digikam, Spotify, Audacity, Pinta and Flatseal.

My overall experience with Flatpak is positive but there are many small but annoying problems, for example apps are often displayed with default penguin icons (e.g. Spotify, Audacity and Flatseal).

Another example is the Dolphin app which appears to install perfectly but crashes when “Configure Dolphin” is selected under “Settings”. I approached the KDE community who insisted I produce a backtrace. I attempted to do this but it proved impossible for me as a normal “end user”. I am not alone here:

My suggestion is that the Flatpak community should help resolve such issues so that Flatpak can become the default packaging format for non-developers using Linux on Chromebooks and other platforms.

Additional details of the Dolphin crash issue are provided below:
Software/OS version:

  • Linux: Debian Buster (v.10) / Linux container on Chromebook (Lenovo Flex5)
    Steps to reproduce:
  • Install Dolphin from Flatpak
  • Check permissions using Flatseal
  • Attempt to configure Dolphin via “Settings > Configure Dolphin”
    Observed result:
  • Dolphin crashes immediately when Settings > Configure Dolphin is selected

Fedora and Ubuntu do have automatic problem reporting. Still, not sure how well those work for flatpaks.

For what it’s worth, I don’t seem to be able to get that crash on fedora, only did a quick test.

Since creating this post there have been positive developments:

  • All the Flatpak apps I am using in Linux on my Chromebook now have the correct icon.
  • Dolphin no longer crashes when I select “Configure Dolphin” under “Settings”.

I have no idea what changes have led to this but I am very grateful and I can confirm that running Flatpak apps on my Chromebook is now a totally positive experience.

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