Flatpak - next generation packaging framework - is public now

The Flatpak development team announced public availability of Flatpak framework - an application packaging framework supported in numerous GNU/Linux distributions including major distributions like Arch, Debian, Fedora, Gentoo, Mageia, Ubuntu ..etc.

Flatpak - formerly xdg-app - is an effort to create a common application packaging framework for different GNU/Linux distributions. The primary goal of Flatpak is to make one application to run on all platforms without bothering much about underlying operating system. So this will reduce the burden on application developers to create separate binary and packages for each distribution they want to support.

Mr Alexander Larsson, lead developer of Flatpak describes it as an effort to reduce gap between application developers and users. By using flatpak, application developers can know exactly what users are getting despite of differences in base operating system.

In addition to cross platform support, flatpak can also provides forward compatibility. Applications maintainers can use latest set of libraries and pack it with application and don't have to bother about outdated system libraries.

In last few months, most of the popular operating systems have implemented support for flatpak packaging and it can be directly installed using regular installation methods. A detailed tutorial on installation and usage of flatpak is available in official website.

A number of applications are already available as Flatpaks which includes LibreOffice, GIMP, InkScape, MyPain, Darktable and also a large number stock GNOME applications. Flatpak website has a list of all these applications and their installation guide lines.

An official announcement on public availability of flatpak can be read on flatpak website.
Flatpak is the brainchild of Alexander Larsson, Principal Software Engineer at Red Hat. Larsson has been working in the Linux desktop space for 18 years. He was the principal author of GVfs (GNOME's Virtual Filesystem) and has done critical work on Docker, the SPICE protocol, the Gecko rendering engine, GLib and GTK+. He has considerable experience in the area of application bundling.
Flatpak builds on several cutting edge technologies. Under the hood, it makes significant use of OSTree, which can be described as “Git for large binaries”. This provides much of the functionality for hosting software repositories. It also makes Flatpak extremely efficient: applications and libraries that are installed with Flatpak are de-duplicated, saving disk space; “static deltas” reduce the size of downloads for software updates.

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