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How to manage Flatpak permissions with Flatseal

Flatpak apps are gaining critical recognition on Linux distributions however managing the permissions of these apps is usually a problem. But with this helpful GUI software, these permissions are easy to deal with.

Young computer science student developing with his computer on a Linux System over double screen system
Image: Esteban Martinena/Adobe Stock

Flatpak is shortly changing into the common package deal format of alternative for Linux customers. One motive why so many are selecting Flatpak over Snap packages is that Flatpaks are considerably quicker than Snaps. Flatpak apps are additionally run in a sandbox by default, which isolates every app from each other to make them a bit safer. Because of this, modifications to permissions for Flatpaks can solely be made by the consumer.

You’d be stunned at what number of permissions can be found to a Flatpak. Network, inter-process communications, X11 and Wayland windowing system, PulseAudio sound server (or PipeWire), D-Bus session and system, SSH agent, smart-cards, printing – the checklist goes on and on.

SEE: 40+ open supply and Linux phrases you want to know (TechRepublic Premium)

But how do customers manage these permissions? Typically, a consumer would have to manage the permissions of Flatpak apps from the command line. For instance, should you needed to give a Flatpak app permission to entry the host filesystem, the command for this may be:

sudo flatpak override APPID --filesystem=host

Where APPID is the ID of the Flatpak app in query.

But there’s a neater manner.

Said new manner comes within the type of a Flatpak app named Flatseal, and anybody wanting to manage the permissions of their put in Flatpak apps ought to take into account this a must-use.

Let’s learn how to set up and use this helpful Flatpak permissions software.

What you’ll want

To use Flatseal, you’ll want a Linux desktop distribution that helps Flatpak (which incorporates the likes of elementary OS, Endless OS, Fedora, Linux Mint, PureOS and Zorin OS). That’s it. Let’s manage some permissions.

How to set up Flatseal

On the off-chance you’re working with a Ubuntu-based distribution and Flatpak isn’t put in by default, you’ll be able to deal with that with the next instructions:

sudo apt-get set up flatpak -y
flatpak remote-add --user --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

After the set up completes, restart your machine and log again in.

Once Flatpak is prepared, set up Flatseal with the command:

flatpak set up flatseal

Once the app is put in, it’s prepared to launch.

How to use Flatseal

Open Flatseal out of your desktop menu and also you’ll see the app with all your put in Flatpak apps listed (Figure A).

Figure A

Image: Jack Wallen/TechRepublic. The Flatseal UI is kind of straightforward to use.

Select an app from the checklist and also you’ll see all the permissions it has entry to. If there’s a specific permission you need to both allow or disable, merely toggle the ON/OFF change and it’s achieved.

Some of the permissions (similar to Other Files in Figure B) permit you to choose which directories or different choices the applying can entry.

Figure B

Image: Jack Wallen/TechRepublic. Giving a Flatpak app entry to a selected listing is straightforward with Flatseal.

Scroll by way of the whole checklist of permissions and customise them precisely the way you want them. You’ll discover sections for Shares, Sockets, Devices, Features, Filesystem, Persistence, Variables, System Bus, Session Bus and Portals.

As you undergo every part, be sure you know what a permission choice does earlier than you disable or allow it. Some of them are self-explanatory, whereas others would possibly want a little bit of assist from Google or DuckDuckGo.

In the top, anybody who makes use of Flatpak functions ought to take into account Flatseal a must have to guarantee permissions are precisely the way you need them. Otherwise, you’re both caught with the defaults, otherwise you’ll be studying much more instructions.

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