Flatpak is a utility for software deployment and package management for Linux. It is advertised as offering a sandbox environment in which users can run application software in isolation from the rest of the system. Flatpak was developed as part of the freedesktop.org project (formerly known as X Desktop Group or XDG) and was originally called xdg-app.


Flatpak enables you to run some popular applications that are not yet available trough Software.

Install Flatpak

First, install Flatpak:

guix package -i flatpak

Configure Flatpak

Desktop Icons on LXQT

  1. Open Session Settings.
  2. Go to “Environment (Advanced)”
  3. Add this variable:
Variable Name Value
XDG_DATA_DIRS $XDG_DATA_DIRS:/var/lib/flatpak/exports/share:${HOME}/.local/share/flatpak/exports/share

For the changes to take effect, you will need to log out.

Desktop Icons LXQT, Mate, Gnome, XFCE

  1. Open ~/.bash_profile
  2. Append the following line and save
source ~/.guix-profile/etc/profile.d/flatpak.sh

Install Application (Example: Signal)

Important: We recommend that you append the --user flag to all Flatpak related commands, to ensure that you do not require root priviliges in order to install, update or remove the applications.

  • flatpak --user for install, update, uninstall
  • flatpak for remaining commands (for ex. search)


Go to flathub.org and click “Install”. This will download a org.signal.Signal.flatpakref.

Navgiate to your download folder, and install Signal Desktop:

$ cd ~/Downloads
$ flatpak --user install org.signal.Signal.flatpakref

Accept and continue. That’s it.

You can now delete the flatpak reference:

$ rm ~/Downloads/org.signal.Signal.flatpakref


Search for a application:

$ flatpak search postman
Name             Description                                                 Application ID                  Version          Branch         Remotes
Postman          Postman is a complete API development environment.          com.getpostman.Postman          7.31.0           stable         flathub

Install application:

$ flatpak install --user com.getpostman.Postman
Looking for matches…
Found similar ref(s) for ‘com.getpostman.Postman’ in remote ‘flathub’ (user).
Use this remote? [Y/n]: y

com.getpostman.Postman permissions:
    ipc    network    pulseaudio    x11    file access [1]    dbus access [2]

    [1] home
    [2] com.canonical.AppMenu.Registrar

        ID                              Branch          Op          Remote          Download
 1. [✓] com.getpostman.Postman          stable          i           flathub         130.9 MB / 131.5 MB

Installation complete.

Run Application

Note: Due to a bug, you may have to log out in order for the Menu items to reload, and newly installed applications to show up.

  1. Open the start Menu
  2. Go to “Internet”
  3. Click on “Signal”

You’re now running Signal Desktop on PantherX.

Update All Applications

This will look for updates, for all installed Flatpak-managed applications.

$ flatpak --user update

Remove Application

To remove one application:

$ flatpak --user remove org.signal.Signal

To remove all Flatpak-managed applications:

$ flatpak --user --all remove

Additional Configuration

Software that you install from Flatpak might behave differently from what you’re used to. For example, for OSS-Code (VSCodium) to take advantage of proper code indexing, linting and debugging, you need to install an extension, to support this.

In my case, I needed node12:

This SDK extension allows you to build and run Node.js-based apps.

To find your desired extension:

$ flatpak search org.freedesktop.Sdk.Extension.node
Name                           Description                    Application ID                           
Node.js SDK extension          Node.js SDK extension          org.freedesktop.Sdk.Extension.node12     
Node.js SDK extension          Node.js SDK extension          org.freedesktop.Sdk.Extension.node10     

Tip Simply search their GitHub repositories

To install the extension:

$ flatpak --user install org.freedesktop.Sdk.Extension.node12

Sometimes you may encounter multiple versions, of the same package. It’s usually best, to install the latest version.

Similar refs found for ‘org.freedesktop.Sdk.Extension.node10’ in remote ‘flathub’ (system):

1) runtime/org.freedesktop.Sdk.Extension.node10/x86_64/19.08
2) runtime/org.freedesktop.Sdk.Extension.node10/x86_64/20.08
3) runtime/org.freedesktop.Sdk.Extension.node10/x86_64/18.08

To enable the extension:

$ FLATPAK_ENABLE_SDK_EXT=node12; flatpak run com.visualstudio.code-oss

Once you start working, you might be prompted to allow the extension.

Flatpak issue with Guix profile packages

since Flatpak packages run in a sand-boxed mode, they don’t have access to system paths like /var. since profiles are located in /var/guix/profiles path, they are not accessible for flapak packages by default and if you need to allow an application to have access to them, you need to provide access explicitly using --filesystem switch:

$ flatpak run --filesystem=/var/guix/profiles com.visualstudio.code-oss

this workaround helps fixing intellisense issue in IDEs like vscode.

Note: using this approach we still have issues during package build in C++ apps (during link time), and this issue only resolves the intellisense issue.

Reference: Flatpak official documents

PantherX & (unofficial) GNU Guix Wiki.

Last update: 2024-04-21 10:28:03 +0000 | Apache-2.0

Inspired by the excellent Arch Linux Wiki