Set Individual Flatpaks Permissions With Flatseal

This will be an article about Flatpaks permissions and how you can set said Flatpaks permissions with Flatseal. There’s a good chance that this will be a relatively short article, which is nice.

BEFORE YOU BEGIN:

I covered what a Flatpak is and some other bits of information. Read this:

Install Flatpaks In Lubuntu

That will give you an overview and enough information to get started. The only thing that will change is how you enable Flatpak and the Flathub repository. The method you use to do that will be different unless you’re using a distro that relies on the apt package manager.

What Is Flatpak:

I wrote this information out already, but some of you will not bother clicking immediately so I’ll mention that a Flatpak is an application that runs with its own dependencies and is sandboxed from the rest of the system.

The important part of this is that the developers who packaged the Flatpak set the permissions for that application. For example, their application may need access to the network. Their application may need access to storage media. The Flatpak may need to be able to access the sound manager so that you can hear things output by the application.

Well, you can adjust those permissions. If you want to grant additional access, you can do that. If you don’t need certain features, you can deny access to those resources. It’s up to you.

The developer shipped the Flatpak with a set of permissions. There are also default permissions that you can edit. If you want to do something like disallow all Flatpak access to the network,  you could do that. You can also adjust these permissions on a per-application basis.

Which leads us to this…

Set Flatpaks permissions with Flatseal:

If you want to manage Flatpaks permissions with Flatseal, you can start (and pretty much close this page) with the following link:

Flatseal on Flathub

The installation instructions will be available on that page. Alternatively, if you’ve already enabled Flatpaks (see the earlier link in this article) you can just press CTRL + ALT + T to open your terminal and enter the following command:

After you enter that into your terminal, you’ll press the Y button on your keyboard a couple of times to confirm that you wish to install.

With that said and done, you can then open your application menu, find Flatseal, and open the application. I’ll give you a screenshot, but there’s just so much more to this application that I can’t cover it. It’s fairly self-explanatory and you should be able to figure it out – but there are many options. 

Flatseal is used to adjust the permissions of a Flatpak.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Scroll down and there are maybe 50 options. Good luck!

There are just too many options for me to cover. The best way for you to learn how to use Flatseal is to simply install Flatseal and examine the options. If you have any questions about those options, reach out and I may be able to help. Otherwise, you can figure this out on your own.

I have faith in you. You can figure this one out!

Closure:

Well, you can now adjust Flatpaks permissions with Flatseal. I’m never quite sure how to pluralize or make it possessive, but I did my best. We’ll have to see how the final article does.

Anyhow, I told you this should be a fairly short article. It’s not designated as a short article because it’s a bit long for that and you have to read a bunch of other stuff if you want to use this as your starting point. If I could assume you had Flatpaks already enabled, this could have been a short article. I’ll make no such assumptions.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

Install Flatpaks In Lubuntu

This shouldn’t be a very long article and will apply to other distros, but this is how you install Flatpaks in Lubuntu. This seems like a good article to write as it’s something tucked into my notes and something I’ve not written about before.

This article applies to Lubuntu. It may apply to other distros, especially those in the Lubuntu family. In some cases, such as Linux Mint, recent versions come with Flatpak support. In those cases, you don’t need to do anything special, you can start using Flatpaks as soon as you’d like.

What Are Flatpaks:

Flatpak is a utility for software deployment. It was once known as xdg-app but has used the Flatpak name for going on a decade. This is not something new, even though it has recently grown in popularity. They’re pretty handy.

The thing that makes Flatpaks special is that they run in a sandbox. That means they don’t interact with other software on your system, they run in their own isolated memory space. This is good for security.

They’re also good for easy installation. Not only do they run in an isolated environment, they are self-contained. With Flatpak being what it is, you don’t have to worry about dependencies.

If a Flatpak does need to integrate with the system, this will be set by the developer. The advanced user can change those permissions, though that may cause breakage should you restrict the access levels.

There’s also a central repository that you can use. While you can get a Flatpak from anywhere, and you can add your own repositories, the most common use will be from a central repository which does things like providing updates to the packaged software. 

This is good for developers who want to distribute their software while not having to do so for the various package managers. Rather than a .deb or .rpm version, they can upload and update a Flatpak that’s stored in a centralized repository.

Pretty neat!

Install Flatpaks In Lubuntu:

For the sake of this article, Flatpak is the software type and the delivery mechanism, while Flatpaks are the applications installed via Flatpak. Make sense? I hope so because that’s what I’ve got.

I should probably have mentioned that earlier in the article…

Anyhow, to install Flatpak you’ll need an open terminal. As you’re using Lubuntu, you can open your default terminal by pressing CTRL + ALT + T on your keyboard.

With your terminal now open, let’s install Flatpak so that you can install all the Flatpaks your heart desires. To do that, run this command to install Flatpak:

That will install Flatpak, but you will then want to enable the Flatpak repository. That’s another easy command that you can cut and paste:

Next, you’ll need to reboot. Yes, this one should have a reboot to work properly. Run this command in the terminal:

That’s all you need to do.

Installing Flatpaks:

Now you have enabled Flatpak and you’ve added the default Flatpak repository. You can head to the centralized repository and start browsing for interesting software. You do that here:

Flathub, the Flatpak Repository

I’ll give you an example, to make it easier…

Let’s say you want to install ONLYOFFICE as a Flatpak.

Well, you browse/search for it and end up at the ONLYOFFICE repo page.

Once you’re there, you’ll see an “Install” option in the upper right section of the page. There’s a down-arrow next to it, which is the easiest method. Click that and run the command prompt in your terminal.

In this case, that command prompt would be:

You can then run the application with this command:

No, you shouldn’t need to run the program through the terminal. Because you rebooted, added Flatpaks should appear in your application menu in the appropriate category section. 

Also, it’s a bit more of an interactive process when you’re installing Flatpaks through the terminal. You’ll be given a few options along the way, though I just accept the defaults (by pressing the Y key) and call it good.

You’ll also notice that the applications are much larger. If you have slower internet, you’ll notice this. This is because the Flatpaks are isolated and come with the required dependencies. Because of this, the packages are quite a bit larger.

Once in a while, I’ve noticed that the application won’t appear until a reboot happens. If you run the terminal command once, that seems to help it, and then appears in the application menu. It’s not perfect, at least not here, but it’s definitely ‘good enough’ and it’s a great way to get sandboxed software that doesn’t require hunting around for dependencies.

Closure:

So, that’s how you install Flatpaks in Lubuntu. It’s also probably how you install Flatpaks in ElementaryOS, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, etc… However, if you’re installing Flatpaks in Ubuntu there’s an extra step you can take that lets you integrate Flatpaks better with the GNOME desktop environment.

If you’re using Ubuntu, you can add this command before the reboot step:

I believe that will add Flatpaks to your regular software store, that is the GUI one where you’d go to add software. I’m not sure because I don’t use Ubuntu, but that’s what the command looks like it will do. I’d normally not share any code I haven’t used myself, but I took the command from Flatpak’s site, which makes me think it’s correct.

Anyhow, Flatpaks are easy to install and run more securely. If your OS changes underneath, this won’t matter. The software comes with the appropriate dependencies. Once you’re more familiar with the software, you can change the permissions if you want. I’ve yet to find a single reason why I’d want to modify the permissions – but it’s possible.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

Update Flatpaks From The Terminal

Today’s article is just going to be nice and quick. It is just going to be about how you can update flatpaks from the terminal. This might be something you’re interested in learning. So, if you want to know how to update flatpaks from the terminal, this is the article for you!

Trust me, this shouldn’t take too long. That’s good because I’m not sure how long I have! I’m having some desktop computer issues. I have laptops, yes plural, available, but I hate typing on them. I could just hook up an external monitor and keyboard, but that’s a lot like work. If I was interested in doing work, I’d investigate why my desktop PCs keep dying.

What Is A Flatpak:

A flatpak is an application package format. To enable flatpaks, you’ll have to install some software first. That seems like a good article that hasn’t been written yet.

Anyhow, a flatpak comes with all the dependencies it needs to run. It is also run in a sandbox, meaning it is more secure as it runs independently of the operating system and other applications. As they run independently, they’re able to be installed (in theory) on any distro. You don’t need to make a flatpak for each distro’s package manager, you can just make the one flatpak and it should work everywhere.

If you have something like the Gnome Software Manager and you’ve installed the initial flatpak software (software that enables you to use these packages in the first place) then you’ll see that it integrates flatpaks into the system. In that case, flatpaks will update with the rest of the system and you don’t need to worry about updating flatpaks in the terminal.

On the other hand, this may not be true for you and you may not realize that you can update flatpaks from the terminal. Which means this is for you…

Update Flatpaks From The Terminal:

Of course, this means you need an open terminal. Just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open. You may need to open the terminal from your application menu, but the above key bindings are fairly universal.

The command is really simple if you want to update flatpaks from the terminal. To do so, you simply run this command:

Notice that you do not need sudo or any elevated permissions. Many folks list this command as a sudo prefaced command and that’s not necessary. The flatpaks installed are installed in a way that the files belong to the user. As such, there’s no need to use elevated permissions.

While you’re there, there’s a lot that one might not know about the flatpak application. I highly suggest you check out the man page to learn more – as there’s quite a bit that you can do with the application.

Yeah, that should show you all the options you have. There are far too many options to cover in this short article about updating flatpaks from the terminal.

Closure:

So, yeah… I told you that this would be a nice and short article. There’s a way to update flatpaks from the terminal and this is how you do it. You might as well know how to do so. It’s not complicated and might come in handy someday, especially if you’re expected to update them manually.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter
Get notified when new articles are published! It's free and I won't send you any spam.
Linux Tips
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.