Linux application sandboxing and distribution framework
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mwleeds and rh-atomic-bot doc/flatpak-metadata: Link to fd.o spec consistently
Avoid linking to the same fd.o spec just linked to a few lines above,
and rearrange things to be more readable.

Closes: #2606
Approved by: matthiasclasen
Latest commit c6d5112 Jan 16, 2019
Type Name Latest commit message Commit time
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.github Add a GitHub issue template Apr 3, 2018
app uninstall: Deal with empty installations Jan 16, 2019
bubblewrap @ ace88fc Update bubblewrap to 0.3.0 Aug 8, 2018
buildutil tests: Don't generate the .wrap tests, launch them via Oct 3, 2018
ci Export dconf data Jan 14, 2019
common dir: Fix a few "already/not installed" error messages Jan 16, 2019
completion Add zsh completion script May 29, 2018
data Fix xml syntax in org.freedesktop.portal.Flatpak.xml Jan 16, 2019
dbus-proxy @ 0e78d10 Update dbus-proxy version to get .gitignore Sep 13, 2018
doc doc/flatpak-metadata: Link to fd.o spec consistently Jan 17, 2019
env.d Add an environment generator Jan 8, 2019
libglnx @ 470af87 Update to latest libglnx Jul 21, 2018
m4 Import ostree's compiler warnings, fix up callers Mar 27, 2017
po Update pofiles Jan 15, 2019
portal portal: Forward --devel from the calling instance (closes #2493) Jan 11, 2019
profile profile: Don't rely on bash syntax Jan 16, 2019
scripts flatpak-coredumpctl: launch flatpak with --filesystem=home Nov 14, 2018
session-helper session-helper: Drop the unused RequestMonitor api Jan 11, 2019
system-helper system-helper: Don't pass NULL for progress Jan 11, 2019
tests testcommon: An i386 Flatpak doesn't support x86_64 apps Jan 16, 2019
triggers Pass location of exports to triggers as arg1 Feb 9, 2016
.gitignore tests: Don't generate the .wrap tests, launch them via Oct 3, 2018
.gitmodules Import dbus-proxy as a submodule instead Sep 13, 2018
.papr.yml Update CI to f28 May 31, 2018 Create Feb 5, 2018
COPYING Add COPYING to reflect license headers Mar 31, 2015 Install environment generator as an executable file Jan 15, 2019
NEWS Update NEWS for release Jan 14, 2019 README: Tweak wording Jan 9, 2019
acinclude.m4 Add AX_COMPARE_VERSION to acinclude.m4 Sep 9, 2016 Add the new submodule to Sep 24, 2018 Bump version to 1.1.3 Jan 14, 2019 Drop libgsystem dependency Aug 22, 2016
flatpak.png Add the logo to Jun 2, 2016
uncrustify.cfg uncrustify: Don't modify brackets Jul 8, 2018 uncrustify: Don't modify valgrind header. Jul 8, 2018

Flatpak icon

Flatpak is a system for building, distributing, and running sandboxed desktop applications on Linux.

See for more information.

Community discussion happens in #flatpak on Freenode and on the mailing list.

Read documentation for the flatpak commandline tools and for the libflatpak library API.


Flatpak welcomes contributions from anyone! Here are some ways you can help:


Flatpak uses a traditional autoconf-style build mechanism. To build just do

 ./configure [args]
 make install

To automatically install dependencies on apt-based distributions you can try running apt build-dep flatpak and on dnf ones try dnf builddep flatpak. Dependencies you will need include: autoconf, automake, libtool, bison, gettext, gtk-doc, gobject-introspection, libcap, libarchive, libxml2, libsoup, gpgme, polkit, libXau, ostree, json-glib, appstream, libseccomp (or their devel packages).

Most configure arguments are documented in ./configure --help. However, there are some options that are a bit more complicated.

Flatpak relies on a project called Bubblewrap for the low-level sandboxing. By default, an in-tree copy of this is built (distributed in the tarball or using git submodules in the git tree). This will build a helper called flatpak-bwrap. If your system has a recent enough version of Bubblewrap already, you can use --with-system-bubblewrap to use that instead.

Bubblewrap can run in two modes, either using unprivileged user namespaces or setuid mode. This requires that the kernel supports this, which some distributions disable. For instance, Debian and Arch (linux kernel v4.14.5 or later), support user namespaces with the kernel.unprivileged_userns_clone sysctl enabled.

If unprivileged user namespaces are not available, then Bubblewrap must be built as setuid root. This is believed to be safe, as it is designed to do this. Any build of Bubblewrap supports both unprivileged and setuid mode, you just need to set the setuid bit for it to change mode.

However, this does complicate the installation a bit. If you pass --with-priv-mode=setuid to configure (of Flatpak or Bubblewrap) then make install will try to set the setuid bit. However that means you have to run make install as root. Alternatively, you can pass --enable-sudo to configure and it will call sudo when setting the setuid bit. Alternatively you can enable setuid completely outside of the installation, which is common for example when packaging Bubblewrap in a .deb or .rpm.

There are some complications when building Flatpak to a different prefix than the system-installed version. First of all, the newly built Flatpak will look for system-installed flatpaks in $PREFIX/var/lib/flatpak, which will not match existing installations. You can use --with-system-install-dir=/var/lib/flatpak to make both installations use the same location.

Secondly, Flatpak ships with a root-privileged PolicyKit helper for system-wide installation, called flatpak-system-helper. It is D-Bus activated (on the system bus) and if you install in a non-standard location it is likely that D-Bus will not find it and PolicyKit integration will not work. However, if the system installation is synchronized, you can often use the system installed helper instead— at least if the two versions are close in versions.

This repository

The Flatpak project consists of multiple pieces, and it can be a bit challenging to find your way around at first. Here is a quick intro to the major components of the flatpak repo:

  • common: contains the library, libflatpak. It also contains various pieces of code that are shared between the library, the client and the services. Non-public code can be recognized by having a -private.h header file.
  • app: the commandline client. Each command has a flatpak-builtins- source file
  • data: D-Bus interface definition files
  • session-helper: The flatpak-session-helper service, which provides various helpers for the sandbox setup at runtime
  • system-helper: The flatpak-system-helper service, which runs as root on the system bus and allows non-root users to modify system installations
  • portal: The Flatpak portal service, which lets sandboxed apps request the creation of new sandboxes
  • doc: The sources for the documentation, both man pages and library documentation
  • tests: The testsuite
  • bubblewrap: Flatpak's unprivileged sandboxing tool which is developed separately and exists here as a submodule
  • libglnx: a small utility library for projects that use GLib on Linux, as a submodule
  • dbus-proxy: a filtering proxy for D-Bus connections, as a submodule