Flatpak 1.10 Enters Development, Promises Major New Features and Improvements

Flatpak 1.10

Flatpak developer and maintainer Alexander Larsson announced today that the next major release of the popular Linux application sandboxing and distribution framework, Flatpak 1.10, entered development.

Flatpak 1.10 development kicks off with the first unstable release, allowing us to have an early look at the new features and improvements. The biggest change in the upcoming series being the implementation of a new format for the summary file used when accessing an OSTree repository on the network.

This major change in Flatpak 1.10 not only bumps the OSTree dependency to version 2020.8, but it also makes several underlying enhancements to the behavior of this universal binary format used by numerous application developers and GNU/Linux distribution maintainers to distribute third-party apps.

For example, Flatpak will be faster when fetching the initial metadata required for most of its operations, which also means that it will use less network bandwidth. In addition, Flatpak repositories will be able to scale to more apps and more architectures without having an impact on clients.

Furthermore, the new summary file format enables support for repositories to publish named subsets and
to allow clients to declare the subset they want to see. This translates to repositories like Flathub being able to mark all FOSS apps and allow users to use a so-called flathub-foss remote without the need for Flathub to maintain two separate repos.

The old summary file format will still be generated in Flatpak 1.10 and future releases to provide compatibility with older clients. A new flatpak.summary-arches repo option will control which architectures are put in the old format summary file to avoid making old clients slower.

In addition to the new format for the summary file, the upcoming Flatpak 1.10 series brings a new flatpak pin command for pinning runtimes, as well as to pin explicitly installed runtimes by default, adds a bunch of new library APIs to extend Flatpak’s capabilities, and implements a profile snippet for the tcsh shell.

Flatpak will also be able to automatically add uninstall operations for end-of-life runtimes during flatpak update operations, prioritize the origin remote for an app over other remotes when searching for dependencies, allow extra-data apply_extra processes to run multiarch code, and allow clients new ways to handling authentication.

More details about the new features, bug fixes and improvements in Flatpak 1.10 can be found in the GitHub announcement page, from where you can also download the first unstable release, Flatpak 1.9.1, if you want to take it for a test drive on your GNU/Linux distribution.

Last updated 3 years ago

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