Threema is an open-source encrypted chat platform with a strong emphasis on privacy and data protection. The Threema application published on Flathub is an electron-based desktop interface which will be familiar to users of Whatsapp, Signal and Telegram.
Citations is the third application by Maximiliano Sandoval to land in Flathub, joining Lorem and Emblem. Citations is a simple application to manage bibliographies using the BibTeX format. Like other applications Maximiliano has developed, Citations is a simple, clean app which does one thing well. It’s great to see more of these single-purpose, lean and clean apps in Flathub.
Yesterday we mentioned that Microsoft Edge has been published in the stable channel on Flathub. This sparked a few wry comments on our social feeds, mostly from Linux users asking who on earth would install such a thing.
Turns out, quite a few people. Since entering the stable channel, the Edge flatpak has clocked up around 1500 downloads. We can’t know how many of those users actually tried the application, nor whether the browser stays installed, as Flathub doesn’t have that kind of telemetry.
For those who aren’t fans of software originating in Redmond, how about a different browser. Recently, a new release of Ungoogled Chromium has been released on Flathub.
As the name suggests, it’s essentially the Chromium browser, with some Google “special sauce” taken out. Think of it as a big mac without the pickle, and made at home, kinda. The goal is to make a Chrome/Chromium-like browser without any dependence on Google services. They also add tweaks to enhance privacy, control and transparency, while keeping the Chromium user experience as closely as possible.
Stock Chromium is indeed open-source and does omit some Google proprietary features, whereas Ungoogled Chromium goes a few steps further. It’s commonly accepted that having a monoculture of web rendering engines isn’t awesome, but we are where we are. If you enjoy the Chromium experience, but Microsoft Edge, Chrome and indeed Chromium itself aren’t for you, then give Ungoogled Chromium a try.
We do note though that at the time of writing Ungoogled Chromium doesn’t feature on the front page of Flathub.
Nor does Ungoogled Chromium appear in the Editors Picks section – but Chromium does.That certainly won’t help awareness among desktop Linux users.
Perhaps if open-source, privacy and freedom promoting applications were featured, more people would know about them? Maybe the Flathub admins could take a look at promoting Ungoogled Chromium.
The next article won’t be about web browsers, we pinky promise. 🤞
We normally report on what applications have been added, removed or updated in Flathub. Today, however, there’s only one application of note, the Edge browser from Microsoft.
The Chromium-based browser was previously only available in the optional “beta” channel in Flathub. A common practice which enables the publisher to get wider testing of the app before it gets visibility via the “stable” channel. Well, now it’s hit stable, so potentially many more people can enjoy what Microsoft Edge has to offer.
So this begs the question, what does Microsoft Edge offer to tempt Firefox, Chrome or Lynx users away?
Well, as you expect from any Chromium-based browser, it’s got most of the features you get from Chrome or Chromium, we take that as a given. Where Edge differs is in the additional bits they add, which Chrome users typically install via extensions.
Edge includes grammar, spelling suggestions and “advanced writing assistance”. On other browsers, the users often install Grammarly to obtain this functionality.
Edge also has the capability to offer coupons to save money while shopping online. On other browsers, Honey is a popular option here.
In addition, Edge has a built-in tab sleep function, to save CPU and power consumption for those of us who leave a ton of tabs open. Elsewhere The Great Suspender is a popular option to achieve this.
In terms of the user interface, it’s all very Chrome-like. In the same way that Chrome can sync your personal data (bookmarks, passwords etc) to a Google account, Edge can sync your data to an Outlook account.
On the first launch, Edge offers a few options to tweak the browser. One includes tweaking the behaviour when a new tab is opened. Users are offered “Inspirational” (ick), “Focused” (okay) and “Informational” – which feels very reminiscent of MSN from the late 1990’s to us.
Edge also features a killer vertical tab interface, in addition to the typical horizontal tab bar we’re all very used to with every other browser. If your tab addiction is bad, (or good, depending on your point of view) where every open website is represented by a tiny favicon, two letters and a close button, then rejoice! The vertical tab interface may be up your alley.
Here’s a comparison of Edge with the two tab navigation options. First, a modest set of tabs open using the traditional horizontal layout.
Now, with the tabs down the left-hand side. It’s way easier to see the website or page title. Simply click the little icon in the top left of the window to enable this view, or use [CTRL]+[Shift]+, (comma) to switch from the keyboard.
While Microsoft Edge can hardly be described as a brand new browser cut from whole cloth, it’s certainly different enough from Chrome and Chromium to make it worth a look.
Now, the mid-sized elephant in the room, this isn’t an official package. Like many Flatpaks in Flathub, this is a community-maintained build. It simply takes the existing Debian package, published by Microsoft, and re-wraps it for Flathub.
We’re not sure the legal beagles at Microsoft are happy with this. Last year there was an open discussion between the community maintainer and Microsoft, which looked promising. We have no way of knowing if Microsoft will object to this, but the community appear to have built the package in a way that shouldn’t spark ire with the Redmond behemoth. 🤞
Find out more by heading on over to the Microsoft Edge page at Flathub, or find it in your favourite desktop storefront! 🛍️
Another day and another batch of updates arrived in Flathub. Some days there are brand new applications, others there are updated releases of existing applications, and sometimes apps get removed for whatever reason.
There have been twenty-six updates to existing applications, mostly minor updates – “Bug fixes and performance improvements!”. However, we also got five new applications published, so let’s focus on those today.
gplaces is a Gemini client. Gemini is a relatively new protocol for loading documents, similar to HTTP and Gopher. Using gplaces and Gemini is very reminiscent of surfing the early world-wide-web. It’s fast, low-bandwidth and presented in a “traditional” style.
The upstream developer notes that it’s named after Going Places, the 1965 album by Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass, a classic!
Unlike most applications we feature, you’ll notice from the screenshot above, that gplaces is a command-line application. This isn’t typical for Flathub, but it’s great to see both graphical desktop applications and terminal apps side by side.
jdReplace is a simple mass search and replace tool. Give it a directory, a term to search for and what to replace it with, and off it goes! While seasoned Linux users might use sed or perl to perform these kinds of tasks, we think jdReplace is a great way to do this from a more accessible, graphical interface. Nice and simple, and does one thing well.
Tsuki-tag is an Anime image-board browser, downloader, tagger and more. It’s got a “12” age rating in Flathub, which might explain why all the screenshots are blurry. No, it’s not your eyesight or our website failing.
The application has a ton of features for collating and organising images in the Anime genre. It has image editing and conversion tools, and tag management. Tsuki-tag is a pretty niche, but comprehensive application for those who are enthusiastic about collecting Anime based images.
Login Manager Settings is what it says. An application for tweaking the Login Manager (GDM) that is used on many modern Linux distributions. Up until now, it’s been quite difficult for normal Linux desktop users to tweak the login screen they see before the desktop loads.
With Login Manager Settings they can customize the background image, apply a theme and change all manner of other visual tweaks. Great for making your login screen stand out from the crowd. 💅🏽
DynamicWallpaper is a very new and simple application to create wallpapers for GNOME 42 and above. The latest GNOME release supports wallpapers with two entirely separate images, which can be switched along with the light / dark mode in the desktop.
Simply create or download your favourite light-themed wallpaper, and a similar (or if you’re that way inclined, completely different) dark-themed one, and Dynamic Wallpaper will create the pair as one, which can be selected in GNOME Settings. Easy!
That’s all for today, look out for more new and updated applications soon! 🥳
Flathub has over a thousand desktop applications to install on a modern Linux environment. We’ve crunched the numbers and found some of the most popular ones for this week. There’s a bunch of well-known names in here, and that may be a similar story on most weeks.
We’re not always going to talk about the top of the chart, sometimes we’ll delve a little further down the popularity tables to unearth a new, rising star. We may sometimes get our gloves on and crawl down to the depths of the chart, and perhaps raise the profile of an unknown gem. We’ll see!
Let’s start with four of the most installed applications from Flathub during week 17 of 2022. In no particular order, but all within the top ten.
Initially popular with gamers, but now used any almost anyone wanting to build a community or collaborate, Discord amassed a sizable chunk of downloads this week. Starting strong on the weekend, Discord has sustained a couple of thousand new downloads each day for a few days, keeping it top of our leaderboard this week.
Google’s Chrome web browser is a relatively new entrant to Flathub. Initially published at the start of April, it’s shown strong numbers all through the month. Some days it’s clocked up over three thousand downloads per day. If this continues, it’s likely to be taking the number one spot soon.
There are some issues reported with the Flatpak of Chrome, a few of which are shared with the open-source Chromium Flatpak. Interestingly, while the Chromium Flatpak has an estimated userbase in the tens of thousands, Chrome will likely catch up, and even overtake it shortly.
Ah, Telegram, the secure messaging client that security professionals love to hate. Much like the other applications in this list, Telegram gets a solid couple of thousand downloads a day from new installs. This makes sense as the Flatpak makes Telegram a lot easier to install than via the upstream method of downloading a compressed file, unpacking it and running it from a file manager like some kind of barbarian Windows user from the old days.
Spotify is the popular way to listen to that song you heard on the radio earlier. Or obsessively manage your playlists, and listen to that podcaster you dislike. The Flatpak of Spotify consistently gets a couple of thousand downloads a day, so is often near the top of the chart. Unsurprisingly it’s not as popular as a generic application like a browser or chat client, neither of which require a paid subscription to use all the features. But it’s still putting in a solid performance on a regular basis.
What conclusions might we draw from this? A few things really.
Applications that are familiar to Windows and macOS users are also desired by Linux desktop enthusiasts. It’s also worth noting there’s clearly a significant chunk of (possibly Free Software loving) Linux desktop users who appreciate a bit of proprietary software on the side. Finally, as a surprise to nobody, Linux users are humans that like listening to music, browsing the web, and chatting with friends! Who knew!?
Jump on over to Flathub and see what you can help drive up the chart!
The data for these types of popularity posts come directly from the Flathub API, which contains download stats for each application and supported architecture. The data needs a little interpretation and isn’t a direct measure of how many installations of an application there are – due to the lack of telemetry in Flatpaks. But it’s pretty solid data nonetheless. Just take it with a little pinch of salt.
Here’s a summary of a few applications that got an update in Flathub today.
InVesalius was updated from 3.1.99997 to 3.1.99998
Just a minor update to the 3D medical imaging reconstruction software package today. The upstream project released 3.1.99998 a couple of weeks back. This update in Flathub makes that release available.
A minor point release to the clean local music player, Amberol. This fixes a crash issue, updates the waveform scrubber to be more legible and keeps the UI state more consistent when toggling the playlist.
Another minor update to GHex Hex Editor. This one fixes a problem with redrawing the hexwidget when the keyboard focus changes. This release also has an updated Ukrainian translation. Slava Ukraini! 🇺🇦
Tokodon, the KDE Mastodon client was revved to 22.04 along with many other KDE/Plasma applications and components. This significant update received many usability improvements, especially around interacting with other Mastodon accounts. Find out more about the 22.04 updates in KDE Mobile over at the Plasma Mobile Gear 22.04 blog post.
Cider is a cross-platform application to enable Apple Music users to access content on other platforms. This minor update appears to mostly include updates to underlying dependencies. If you’re an Apple Music user, it might be worth a look.