Brief experimentation with Flatpak

Specifically, spotify.

I have used the flatpak version of spotify before, namely when I was running OpenSuse Tumbleweed as a daily driver for about a week and then a week with Fedora.

Now, since i stumbled over a solution to make flatpaks honor any custom theme I figured “why not try it” and welll here we go.

Uninstalled my AUR install of Spotify, then installed flatpak, rebooted (as you have to do, apparently) and then install and Run Spotify.

First issue: I have read about this and the problem is really caused by NVIDIA, not flatpak: It pulls down the NVIDIA drivers, but (according to the DuckDuckGo Fu) NVIDIA treats all updates as separate flatpaks so every time you update Spotify and there is a new NVIDIA driver, it will download a complete new NVIDIA package. You have to manually trigger a cleaning of your flatpak installs to remove the old ones.

Second issue: A minor one… Apparently Spotify’s maintainers have a reference to a font no longer packaged. It runs, but that first run that you have to do in Terminal shows that it throws up an error looking for a font that’s not there.

Third issue: Had to reboot for the icon to show up in the app menu, at least in Cinnamon.

Fourth issue: Honoring the theme yes. But there is no way to make it honor cursor themes.

Fifth issue: Slow to start, TERRIBLY slow to turn off. It took 1.5 seconds after you click “close” before the program actually closes.

In short… nothing game breaking, but so far the ONLY benefit over the AUR is a (weak) sandboxing if you don’t trust the app you are installing.

I now have cleaned out Spotify and flatpak as such and reinstalled the AUR version.
It is noticeable more responsive, it opens and closes as quickly as any other program

…Okay, this was a short rant. Anyone else have experiences? I am intrigued by the concept but so far to me Flatpak is simply not good enough to be able to compete with AUR.

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I’m using snaps and have a pretty good experience. on big blobs like zoom or skype i like to have them contained as much as possible. also for electron apps.

I have stopped using snaps since I discovered how much telemetry they were capturing. Tracking downloads is one thing but tracking all my usage of snaps was too much for me.

I generally use the AUR and repos and supplement with AppImages where appropriate.

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Regarding the telemetry, how can you tell? I had an issue with electron apps once due to some update or something, which caused all of them to run sluggish, or not at all. nothing I did solved the issue and had to reinstall the system. Since then I like to have each of them pull their dependencies in their own container, so at least they don’t affect each other. Snap covered that need. But I’m not aware of them being more telemetry prone. I mean zoom, skype and all other similar beasts are obviously telemetry hogs, but would you tell the snap versions are more so?

This is in addition to any telemetry the apps may have. It is snapd itself. It makes regular reports to Canonical about your snap usage. I get that some people might not care about that but it is over the line for me. I don’t need Canonical tracking what applications I am running and when.

Can that be disabled?

I don’t think so. I had a reference for that info but now I can’t find it. Still looking.

Plus, if I understand it right, snaps “phones home” to Canonical daily. If there is a snap that needs updating, it gets updated without your permission or knowledge. Too much control for me.

Cite:
look here under advantages of snap

Pudge

Hmm…I can’t find that info anymore. I should have saved it :slight_smile:

All I can find is what they have on their web page.

The Snap Store web UI can be used to track installation and usage statistics for snaps published with your developer account.

To accomplish this, the store assigns an anonymous identifier, the device-serial, to every new snapd client it sees. This exchange usually happens when a new installation contacts the store, and the identifier persists for the lifespan of the machine.

Systems running snapd will periodically make a refresh request to the store, checking the for the most recent release of each installed snap. At that moment, they inform the store of their device-serial along with a list of the currently installed snaps. The store simply infers the list of active applications from the clients’ requests in a given period.

All web UI metrics, plus a few additional ones, are available in the Store Metrics API. This can be used by developers and ISVs to easily integrate snap store data into any internal dashboards.

While that is still too much for me, it doesn’t quite go so far as to say they are tracking individual application launches. I thought I had a link for that, but I could be wrong.

As we all know, Arch is a rapidly rolling distro with a large repository; and with the addition of AUR, the repository is huge. Under those circumstances – fast and huge – why would anyone want to use snaps or flatpaks? I’m not trying to start a flamewar, I’m sincerely curious.

I suspect curiosity is the main thing operative here. Snaps and flatpack are a way to make more up-to-date versions available to ‘others’, not Arch-based users. There is some advantage theoretically to separating the dependencies on any such package from the rest of the system, and the space involved isn’t a big concern on most newer systems, but it isn’t really aimed at experienced users - or at least not those willing to fix things themselves…

There are actually a number of hardcore Arch users I’ve seen on the official forums and reddit that use Flatpaks specifically for non open source software instead of the AUR specifically for the sandbox function.

https://flathub.org/apps/details/com.realm667.WolfenDoom_Blade_of_Agony

STORY It’s 1942, and the war approaches its peak. The U.S. has joined the Allied forces, and the Soviets are pushing back the front in the east. The tides of war are turning, and Hitler’s victory seems more and more beyond his grasp. But the Nazis, refusing to capitulate, have grown obsessed with human experiments and occult artifacts, in which they see a potential escape from their final Doom. The Allied leaders reject this possibility as nonsense; nonetheless, some still fear what the Führer might be up to. The situation is nebulous, however, and little is certain.

Above is one good reason to use a flatpak. With a couple of clicks you have a ready to run super game. :joy:

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Unluckily installation via flatpak didn’t work for me so I chose to install it via snap. That game really reminds of the earlier ages of computer gaming. :wink: