Appimages, snaps, and flatpaks in Manjaro's Package Manager

Not sure if this was discussed before or if I am going to properly make sense of this, but in ubuntu (which I used for the past 6 years) I could have access to snaps and flatpaks from the software center (if I installed flatpak plugin) and that was cool because you got access to newer and more apps. But it got complicated because you could see duplicate apps (snaps, repos, or flatpaks) and you had to choose which one you wanted installed, and then if you wanted to install appimages it became a real mess with all of these different package types installed on your system. They also never integrated well with the OS overall.

My dream software center (package manager) is one that basically has access to all such types of packages to allow access to pretty much every piece of linux software and also try to remove duplicates: say GIMP is found as flatpak, in repos, or as appimage - let the software center only display the latest release regardless of the type (and allow like a drop down to let user select another type if they prefer).

Currently there are many apps that you can't find as appimages, flatpak, or snaps, and only find them in repos (but maybe only find in Manjaro's repos and not Ubuntu); same way that there are apps that you can find as flatpaks or appimages but can't find in any repos, and so on. I went to look at https://www.appimagehub.com/ where I used to search for appimages for Ubuntu and the recent appimage releases are not available in Manjaro's repos for example.

My question is: would it be possible for Manjaro to include all of these (flatpaks, snaps, appimages) in the package manager, at least as a plugin? I would really love to have access to all of these packages types from one single package manager and to simply click and install. I know from experience that if you start using the terminal and install flatpaks, snaps, then download appimages or add "ppas" (in ubuntu) it becomes a huge mess. Now that I use Manjaro I love that I don't have to use the terminal to install apps/packages because it keeps stuff more manageable so I don't want to go back to an Ubuntu like environment ending up installing flatpaks from terminal or download appimages that I lose track of after a while.

Thoughts?

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There is already alot of ekstra package managers available and there is no problem to add flatpak as one of them into Manjaro. I have already done that myself. I dont use any grapical package managers my self tho.

Also the yay package manager you can search on "aur arch" page and download applications from there. So i would say you already have access to alot of them without installing too many managers.

It would also be hard to maintain/check the amount of packages that your talking about in one single repo.

Im quite "new" so maybe someone has a better answer for you :slight_smile:

There have been talks about adding support for flatpak and snap in pamac. However, it might take a while.

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Nice! Could appimages be integrated in theory as well? I know there are some plugins that make appimages easy to install and integrate into the system so maybe a combination of that with the ability to discover them through pacman can make it as easy as click and install an appimage and that can integrate an appimage into the system like any other app.

I have AUR enabled but there are some apps that I cannot find - nothing that I really need though, but just saying there are apps that I can find as flatpaks or appimages but can't find in Manjaro's repos or AUR.

we are in rolling, not too much interest for us this type of packages - it's a workaround created for fixed distributions

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At least, somebody thinks like me on this subject :smiley:

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+100000000000000000 @papajoke

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I see. As I understand you say this because these types of software include their dependencies in the package so that they can work regardless of the OS and Kernel version? So this way they avoid conflicts or dependencies of old packages?

These types of packages are more interesting to distros with older package base, because they let you have singular up to date apps in otherwise stale environment. But if your whole system is fresh, there is less need for this.

If you can choose between a distro package and a flatpak/snap, the former is usually better because it can use the shared libraries of the system. Much more economical that way. You want the latter formats only when

A. The app is not available in the repos
B. The repo version is outdated

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Ok I get it now. It is like I thought. My only concern is that new developers will migrate to these packages and not care about Manjaro's repos or other repos and their new apps may not reach these repos that soon. Do you find that a possibility? Like for developers to make their apps as flatpak or snap and not care about any repo, and thus we won't have quick access to these new apps.

@guinux: thoughts?

Unless they stop making source and/or binaries available I wouldn't think it would be a huge problem. It is often not the developers putting them in the repos to begin with. It is not like ubuntu where many authors/publishers maintain ppas.

Flatpacks and snaps have a lot of trade-offs when it comes to system integration so it will be a sad day if there is no other alternative.

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:thinking:
would it in general be possible to use the same extension for pamac as gnome-software? this way we would get flatpak, snap, fwupdate for free

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Practically nobody is releasing packages in arch format (.pkg.tar.gz) anyway. If someone publishes precompiled packages for Linux, it's always .deb and/or .rpm. Arch/manjaro packages are either compiled from the source or extracted from deb/rpm packages.

In general developers don't distribute packaged software. They release the source code, and various Linux distros compile, package and distribute it.

So, developers adopting the new package formats means probably nothing to Arch/Manjaro. They weren't making packages for us to begin with, so there is no risk of them stopping it. What matters is the open source code.

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AppImages lacks centralization and a lot of images lacks verifiability (GPG/PGP sign)

Distribution Nitrux should have a software center for Appimages but is KDE specific for now and compiling & packaging AppImageKit on Manjaro hasn't been successful for me (get frustrated and bored in the process)

I think because Manjaro uses a rolling release model it already offers all the features those technologies give:

  • we provide the last release of apps
  • we have a simple way to install them with pamac
  • we have the AUR to cover all the missing apps

If we want to improve applications support, I think it's simpler to write a PKGBUILD and maintain it.
With extern applications we have:

  • less system integration
  • more trouble with security.
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Doesn't KDE Discover support flatpacks. You might like that software manager if you're a KDE user.

AppImages are supported by default in v18.0. We provide the needed launcher already. I'm also in close contact with the developer.

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I guess it makes sense to add better integration for appimages only, as from my personal experience some packages are available only as appimage or source, but I've never seen any app that is available only as flatpak or snap package. Most packages one would ever need are usually in official repos and AUR. As I understand flatpak and snap are good for fixed release distributions as they provide access to newer versions of programs but in such distro as Manjaro they are... quite useless, I mean, even if one cannot find what he or she needs in repos and AUR it's not that hard to install such program via flatpak or snapd manually, and this means there's no reason to focus developers' efforts on implementing support for the above to pacman or pamac. That's what I think of it.

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