Flatpak 1.14 Linux App Sandboxing and Distribution Framework Is Out with New Features

Flatpak, the popular Linux application sandboxing and distribution framework, has been updated today to version 1.14, a major release that comes with new features and improvements.

Flatpak 1.14 is here as a major update to the Flatpak 1.12 series, which was released in October 2021, adding the ability to create a directory for XDG_STATE_HOME and set the HOST_XDG_STATE_HOME environment variable, networked access to X11 and PulseAudio services if an app has network access, and support for a new DeploySideloadCollectionID key in flatpakref and flatpakrepo files to allow the setting of collection IDs when adding a remote from one of those repo files.

Also new in Flatpak 1.14 is a new have-kernel-module-foo family of conditionals for extensions, support for sub-sandboxes to own MPRIS names on the session bus, support for the -u short command-line argument as an alias for commands that accept the --user argument, the ability to export AppStream metadata for the host system to use, as well as support for the --socket=gpg-agent option for flatpak run and related commands.

The command-line interface has been reworked in this release to properly inform users of apps that are (indirectly) using end-of-life runtime extensions and to consider operations in the pending transaction when printing these end-of-life messages.

Moreover, Flatpak 1.14 updates the uninstall command to ask users for confirmation before removing in-use runtimes or runtime extensions. Also, the SELinux policy has been updated to cover symbolic links in /var/lib/flatpak and command-line completion is now available for the Fish shell.

Among some of the bug fixes implemented in this release, there’s a fix to ensure the X11 display number is preserved instead of redirecting it to :99, a fix for a memory corruption issue caused by the use of the libcurl library in an unsafe way, and a fix for a crash that occurred when a .desktop file processed by the build-export command has no Exec= key.

This being a major release, there are also some dependency changes. For example, Flatpak now requires libappstream 0.15.3 or later to avoid critical warning messages when using the flatpak search command and uses FUSE API v3 for revokefs.

Flatpak is a component in your GNU/Linux distribution that you’ll have to update from the software repositories, so I recommend waiting for Flatpak 1.14 to arrive in the main archives of your distro before updating your installations. For OS maintainers, Flatpak 1.14 is now available for download from the project’s GitHub page.

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