Flathub: What’s Hot 2022W17

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.

Discord

Discord

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.


Chrome

Google Chrome

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.


Telegram

Telegram

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

Spotify

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.

How To Enable Flathub on Ubuntu

Ubuntu 22.04 was released recently. The most well-known and used desktop Linux distribution ships with basic productivity applications to get started. There’s a world of additional apps, utilities and games to discover though. Let’s take a look at enabling the Flathub repository, which contains hundreds of additional packages.

Get Flatpak

Out of the box, Ubuntu doesn’t have support for Flatpak. It’s easily added with one command. Open a terminal with CTRL+ALT+T then run the following commands at the $ prompt.

$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install flatpak

The output should look as per this screenshot.

Installing flatpak from the Ubuntu repository

Press [ENTER] to confirm the installation. If successful, the command should complete as below.

Successful Flatpak install

Enable Flathub

Flatpak is able to install software from any number of remote repositories. The most popular is Flathub, which is not enabled by default. Run the following command to enable Flathub, after which it will be possible to search for, and install software from that repository.

$ sudo flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

Graphical Store

At this point it’s possible to search for and install software from Flathub using the command-line. Many users prefer to use a graphical storefront to search for applications. Ubuntu ships by default with a storefront called “Snap Store” which does not support Flatpak, so we recommend replacing it with “GNOME Software” which supports both Snaps and Flatpaks.

Run the following commands in the terminal to add GNOME Software and Flatpak support for it.

$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install gnome-software-plugin-flatpak
Installing GNOME Software flatpak plugin

In this command we install the plugin, which pulls in GNOME Software and other requirements. As before, press [ENTER] to proceed.

Successfully installing GNOME Software

Remove Snap Store

Removing the graphical “Snap Store” will not prevent snaps from being installed. This step merely removes the confusion of having two graphical storefronts installed, one of which lacks Flatpak capabilities.

Remove Snap Store with the following command.

$ sudo snap remove snap-store

There’s no confirmation required once you enter the command. But you’ll be told the snap was removed.

Removing Snap Store

Restart

In order for all the above changes to take effect, we recommend either logging out and back in, or rebooting the system.

Browse for Applications

Now we’ve got “Software” installed, we can search for and install new applications.

Click the application grid in the bottom left corner. Find the “Software” icon and click it.

Grid of applications

Get browsing!

Browsing the store

The Software store can install applications from any enabled source. That could be the Ubuntu repository, Snap Store and Flathub, as well as any optionally enabled 3rd party repositories. As such there’s a small menu in the top right of every application page, enabling users to pick which repository to install from. Take care to choose the correct repository!

Repository selection menu

Enjoy!