How to set up Flatpak in Chrome OS

Published by Jesse Afolabi on

flatpak flathub

The Linux environment within Chrome OS has become a blessing in disguise for enthusiasts and power users looking to migrate their workflow to Chrome OS. This has become possible without the hassle of having to install Crouton on the side like the job that you hate and can’t rid yourself of cause it makes you money.

We had previously covered our suggestion for the top alternative app stores for Chrome OS that will enable you to explore the desktop-grade apps that have become available to you via the Debian-powered Linux container. The recommendations we made in that article, however, are limited to the traditionally-packaged Debian Linux apps with no option for Flatpak. It’s for this reason that we’ve decided to create a tutorial on how to set up Flatpak.

What is Flatpak?

Flatpak is a superior package management system that is literally second to none as it’s distribution-agnostic with a set of robust functionalities to boot.

This is such that the package management system does not require apps to be recompiled for every single Linux distribution with a difference in its core base. It’s essentially a one-fits-all solution.

Moreover, It is also such that Flatpak enables apps to be bundled with the required dependencies needed for them to be run efficiently on all platform.

Furthermore, Flatpak offers a centralized repository called Flathub for all distributions including the Chrome operating system.

Additionally, Flatpak offers the advantage of forward-compatibility and quite frankly, backward compatibility as well. This is particularly advantageous for the Chrome operating system as you can be rest-assured that your applications will continue to function irrespective of the changes made to the Linux container (I would hope).

Lastly, Flatpak boasts consistency in performance across platforms which is necessary for troubleshooting.

Caveats

  1. Installing Flatpaks will almost always require you to use the Linux terminal.
  2. There are only around a measly 350 apps available via Flathub

Installation Procedure

Running the following commands as root in your Linux terminal will enable you to install Flatpak itself and the necessary dependencies.

sudo apt install flatpak

Install the Gnome software center plugin. You can refer to this tutorial on how to install the software center. Chances are the plugin won’t work for you as it didn’t for me as well.

sudo apt install gnome-software-plugin-flatpak

The following command below will add the Flathub repository.

flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

Once you’re done adding the repo, restart your system and proceed to the terminal to install any app you might need using the commands below. It’s also important that you look up the app you intend on installing on Flathub to be sure of its availability in the repo.

flatpak install flathub [package name as seen on the app page on flathub]

To run the app, use the command below or search in the app launcher.

flatpak run [package name]

Have you had any luck setting Flatpak up? Let us know in the comments!

Categories: LinuxTools

Jesse Afolabi

Having been a technical writer for over 4 years, and co-founded Fossmint.com in 2016, I took my passion to the next level with the founding of Itschromeos.com which so happens to revolve around my love for open-source technologies and Chrome OS. It's my hope to venture into new avenues in the tech universe and take you with me on that ride.

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Peter Loban
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Peter Loban

Hello, so I’m trying to install flathub repository, but it’s not working…. Its saying ” ERROR: NAME must be specified” I don’t know what this means. I even downloaded the link and it doesn’t help.

Reomae
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Reomae

im trying to install flatpak in a chromebook ive just purchased but when installing the repository the terminal is coming up with a password requirement i do not know what the password is its not my chromebook password anyone any ideas what the password would be? theres no mention of a password requirement in the instructions above

Amyhopps10
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Amyhopps10

Error strating the virtual machine (linux beta on Cloudready)

Jesse Afolabi
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Jesse Afolabi

Cloudready is an entirely different platform from the traditional Chrome OS experience. I didn’t account for it while writing this article. I’ll, however, look into it once I get the chance to…

Eddie
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Eddie

Hey there!
Ive been trying to get the flatpak thing to work on my chromebook book. But i cant seem to get it working. I was having the same issue NSH was having and i still cant get it to work. Ive followed the exact steps as listed on top. Any idea what im doing wrong? Using a google pixel Slate.

Jesse Afolabi
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Jesse Afolabi

Hi Eddie! Have you tried power cycling your Pixel Slate and going through the process again?

Eddie
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Eddie

No. I will try that next.
Do you think it can be because im running the BETA version of Chrome os?

Jesse Afolabi
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Jesse Afolabi

i don’t suppose that’s the case, Eddie! Granted, the beta and dev channel do come with more bugs than usual and that may be the reason why you had run into issues with your installation. Typically, a quick restart will (temporarily) fix minor bugs. Let me know how it goes!

Eddie
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Eddie

Hey there. So before i do the reset i want to show you how im typing it in the command line. Maybe im going something wrong. This is the error message ive been getting. comment image

Eddie
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Eddie

Bruuuhhhhh! i didnt put ‘Sudo’………..-_-
it works….

Jesse Afolabi
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Jesse Afolabi

Happens to the best of us, fam! Good thing you figured it out! Enjoy!

Eddie
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Eddie

Thanks playa!
Literally the exact same situation….

Jesse Afolabi
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Jesse Afolabi

My pleasure, mate!

Eddie
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Eddie

Hello there! Hello there!

Hope you’re doing awesome. I need a little help with AppImage files. Im trying to Run one on my Pixel Slate. But i have no idea how to do this. Can you help?
Im running Chrome OS Beta 75
and all ive done was move the downloaded AppImage file on to the Linux file section on the ‘files’ app.

Jesse Afolabi
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Jesse Afolabi

Hi, Eddie! I’ll be sure to create an article on the subject and subsequently update you with a link sometime soon. Hang in there!

Eddie
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Eddie

Thank you!!!? Lol