Chapter 1. Installing applications using Flatpak

You can install certain applications using the Flatpak package manager. The following sections describe how to search for, install, launch, and update Flatpak applications on the command line and in the graphical interface.

Important

Red Hat provides Flatpak applications only as a Technology Preview feature. Technology Preview features are not supported with Red Hat production service level agreements (SLAs) and might not be functionally complete. Red Hat does not recommend using them in production. These features provide early access to upcoming product features, enabling customers to test functionality and provide feedback during the development process. For more information about the support scope of Red Hat Technology Preview features, see https://access.redhat.com/support/offerings/techpreview.

1.1. The Flatpak technology

Flatpak provides a sandbox environment for application building, deployment, distribution, and installation.

Applications that you launch using Flatpak have minimum access to the host system, which protects the system installation against third-party applications. Flatpak provides application stability regardless of the versions of libraries installed on the host system.

Flatpak applications are distributed from repositories called remotes. Red Hat provides a remote with RHEL applications. Additionally, third-party remotes are available as well. Red Hat does not support applications from third-party remotes.

1.2. Setting up Flatpak

This procedure installs the Flatpak package manager.

Procedure

  • Install the flatpak package:

    # yum install flatpak

1.3. Enabling the Red Hat Flatpak remote

This procedure configures the Red Hat Container Catalog as a Flatpak remote on your system.

Prerequisites

  • You have an account on the Red Hat Customer Portal.

    Note

    For large-scale deployments where the users do not have Customer Portal accounts, Red Hat recommends using registry service accounts. For details, see Registry Service Accounts.

Procedure

  1. Enable the rhel Flatpak remote:

    $ flatpak remote-add \
              --if-not-exists \
              rhel \
              https://flatpaks.redhat.io/rhel.flatpakrepo
  2. Log into the Red Hat Container Catalog:

    $ podman login registry.redhat.io
    
    Username: your-user-name
    Password: your-password

    Provide the credentials to your Red Hat Customer Portal account or your registry service account tokens.

    By default, Podman saves the credentials only until you log out.

  3. Optional: Save your credentials permanently. Use one of the following options:

    • Save the credentials for the current user:

      $ cp $XDG_RUNTIME_DIR/containers/auth.json \
           $HOME/.config/flatpak/oci-auth.json
    • Save the credentials system-wide:

      # cp $XDG_RUNTIME_DIR/containers/auth.json \
           /etc/flatpak/oci-auth.json

      For best practices, Red Hat recommends that you log into the Red Hat Container Catalog using registry account tokens when installing credentials system-wide.

Verification

  • List the enabled Flatpak remotes:

    $ flatpak remotes
    
    Name    Options
    rhel    system,oci,no-gpg-verify

1.4. Searching for Flatpak applications

This procedure searches for an application in the enabled Flatpak remotes on the command line. The search uses the application name and description.

Prerequisites

  • Flatpak is installed.
  • The Red Hat Flatpak repository is enabled.

Procedure

  • Search for an application by name:

    $ flatpak search application-name

    For example, to search for the LibreOffice application, use:

    $ flatpak search LibreOffice

    The search results include the ID of the application:

    Application ID               Version  Branch  Remotes  Description
    
    org.libreoffice.LibreOffice           stable  rhel     The LibreOffice productivity suite

1.5. Installing Flatpak applications

This procedure installs a selected application from the enabled Flatpak remotes on the command line.

Prerequisites

  • Flatpak is installed.
  • The Red Hat Flatpak remote is enabled.

Procedure

  • Install an application from the rhel remote:

    $ flatpak install rhel application-id

    Replace application-id with the ID of the application. For example:

    $ flatpak install rhel org.libreoffice.LibreOffice

1.6. Launching Flatpak applications

This procedure launches an installed Flatpak application from the command line.

Prerequisites

  • Flatpak is installed.
  • The selected Flatpak application is installed.

Procedure

  • Launch the application:

    $ flatpak run application-id

    Replace application-id with the ID of the application. For example:

    $ flatpak run org.libreoffice.LibreOffice

1.7. Updating Flatpak applications

This procedure updates one or more installed Flatpak applications to the most recent version in the corresponding Flatpak remote.

Prerequisites

  • Flatpak is installed.
  • A Flatpak remote is enabled.

Procedure

  • Update one or more Flatpak applications:

    • To update a specific Flatpak application, specify the application ID:

      $ flatpak update application-id
    • To update all Flatpak applications, specify no IDs:

      $ flatpak update

1.8. Installing Flatpak applications in the graphical interface

This procedure searches for Flatpak applications using the Software application.

Prerequisites

  • Flatpak is installed.
  • The Red Hat Flatpak remote is enabled.

Procedure

  1. Open the Software application.
  2. Make sure that the Explore tab is active.
  3. Click the search button in the top-left corner of the window.
  4. In the input box, type the name of the application that you want to install, such as LibreOffice.
  5. Select the correct application in the search results.

    If the application is listed several times, select the version where the Source field in the Details section reports flatpaks.redhat.io.

  6. Click the Install button.
  7. If Software asks you to log in, enter your Customer Portal credentials or your registry service account tokens.
  8. Wait for the installation process to complete.
  9. Optional: Click the Launch button to launch the application.

1.9. Updating Flatpak applications in the graphical interface

This procedure updates one or more installed Flatpak applications using the Software application.

Prerequisites

  • Flatpak is installed.
  • A Flatpak remote is enabled.

Procedure

  1. Open the Software application.
  2. Select the Updates tab.
  3. In the Application Updates section, you can find all available updates to Flatpak applications.
  4. Update one or more applications:

    • To apply all available updates, click the Update All button.
    • To update only a specific application, click the Update button next to the application item.
  5. Optional: Enable automatic application updates.

    1. Click the menu button in the top right corner of the window.
    2. Select Update Preferences.
    3. Enable Automatic Updates.

      Flatpak applications now update automatically.