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Flatpak 1.8 Released with Improved P2P Support, New Systemd Unit, and More

Flatpak 1.7


Flatpak maintainer Alexander Larsson announced today the general availability of Flatpak 1.8 as the newest stable branch of this popular Linux application sandboxing and distribution framework.

Flatpak 1.8 is packed with lots of new features and improvements. Among the most important ones, there’s simplified installation of OSTree P2P (Peer-to-Peer) support, which obsoletes installation of apps from local network peers and no longer allows automatic sideloading of apps from a local USB stick.

To enable sideloading, users will have to configure a sideload repository by creating a symlink to it from /var/lib/flatpak/sideload-repos or /run/flatpak/sideload-repos. Moreover, Flatpak 1.8 ships with a systemd unit, which isn’t installed by default, to automatically detect plugged in USB sticks with sideload repositories.

Flatpak now also features completion support for fish shell, more efficient downloads, direct ALSA device access for apps, the ability to handle migration of remotes with collection IDs, a new sysusers.d file for allowing systemd to create required users, as well as new spawn portal APIs to get the real PID of launched apps.

This release also introduces new “host-etc” and “host-os” file system permissions to give access to system /usr and /etc, read-only mounting of journal sockets, a new signal “install-authenticator” feature in FlatpakTransaction to allow clients to handle install authenticators needed for a transaction, and new library calls.

Flatpak 1.8 also adds timezone improvements for many apps by always exposing the host timezone data, improves handling of Docker media types in OCI remotes, improves “flatpak enter” and “flatpak uninstall” commands, and makes libsystemd optional in configure and the host /lib directory accessible as /run/host/lib when a Flatpak app has file system access.

Also worth mentioning is the fact that the document-export component gain support for exporting directories, the DConf migration feature, which now supports version numbers in object paths, as well as Flatpak systemd transient units, which now have an app-prefix to match new XDG specifications for
cgroup names.

Last but not least, the “flatpak upgrade” command is now an alias for “flatpak update.” All in all, Flatpak 1.8 looks like another great release that should bring a better Flatpak app experience to your favorite distro.

Linux OS maintainers shipping Flatpak can download the Flatpak 1.8 source code right now from the project’s GitHub page. Everyone else who want to upgrade should wait for the new Flatpak stable release to land in the stable software repositories of their favorite GNU/Linux distributions.

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