This was a fascinating read, and the differing personal viewpoints and/or biases–I appreciated them all. However, it did not clarifiy the situation as to whether Flatpaks are the future. One can ask, can developers continue to create and maintain all of these packages to run on all distributions?
What’s clear to me, is the jury is far from out on this question. I’m only mentioning Flatpak at this point, but we know there are other containerized packages with various characteristics.
The fact that Flatpak is universally distribution agnostic, must point the way to the future of how developers can get their packages into the widest distribution channels. Who sees Flatpak in the the crystal ball ?
Could Flatpak be the unifying factor in the future of package distribution? Fedora Flatpaks with Gnome seems to be establishing what could be a an open source standard according to Fedora, and even their respondents are a mixed bag.
Many devs don’t package anything. It is the maintainers in the distros who do most of the packaging.
The advantage to the developer is primarily in support. When you are handling support from distros that use 5 year old ancient libraries and distros that use libraries that were just released earlier that morning support can be not a lot of fun.
Don’t they use runtimes (shared platforms) to solve that?
This is from Linux.com and it’s pretty old, even though much of it still holds true today.
Developers can’t use the latest libraries or frameworks to make their app more efficient or add new features if those libraries or dependencies are not available for the current version of the distro. Flatpak allows developers to use latest packages to build their apps and run on any distro without having to worry about underneath layers.