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Thread: Does flatpak automatically update its packages?

  1. #1
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    Question Does flatpak automatically update its packages?

    I've learning to use snaps and flatpak.

    Snaps are easy as can be, even easier than PPAs, and its manual is helpful. Flatpak… not so much. However, some packages (e.g. OpenShot) are available on flatpak but not snaps, so I need to use it.

    I've discovered that snaps are automatically refreshed four times daily.

    But, I can't find out if flatpak packages are automatically updated. Are they updated automatically? If not, how do I set flatpak to automatically update the installed packages?

    Thanks
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  2. #2
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    Re: Does flatpak automatically update its packages?

    From https://blogs.gnome.org/mclasen/2019...#comment-20089 -
    Automatic updates are not a concept that flatpak itself has. App stores like GNOME Software can (and do) implement auto-updates, together with a user setting to disable them.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Does flatpak automatically update its packages?

    No.
    You need to update them manually, either using the flatpak command line or through the Ubuntu software program,
    but through the software program requires the flatpak plugin gnome-software-plugin-flatpak to be installed.

    Ubuntu 20.04 ships with snap-store as the software app and it doesn't support flatpak, so in order to use the flatpak plugin the gnome-software deb version needs to be installed.
    (gnome-software will show as Software in the apps menus.)
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  4. #4
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    Re: Does flatpak automatically update its packages?

    I can't find out if flatpak packages are automatically updated. Are they updated automatically? If not, how do I set flatpak to automatically update the installed packages?
    A few of them do update automatically*. Gimp is one that does. You will get a popup notification that the update has been done. See attached screenshot.

    * You may need gnome-software (Software) installed with its Flatpak plugin.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Dennis N; June 27th, 2020 at 10:56 PM.

  5. #5
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    Re: Does flatpak automatically update its packages?

    Sorry for the late reply. For some reason, I didn't receive a notification for this thread.

    Thank you for your responses. I've installed gnome-software and gnome-software-plugin-flatpak, and I'll check occasionally for updates.
    Last edited by Paddy Landau; September 6th, 2020 at 08:08 AM.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Does flatpak automatically update its packages?

    I am indeed surprised to learn that flatpaks do not auto-update. However, here I learn that gnome-software is what takes care of the updates. So there would be no need to check yourself if you have gnome-software and gnome-software-plugin-flatpak (via APT). I do, and I regularly receive a notification of an updated application.

  7. #7
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    Re: Does flatpak automatically update its packages?

    Quote Originally Posted by vanadium View Post
    … I regularly receive a notification of an updated application.
    Thanks for the extra info.
    You're right that it's bizarre for flatpak not to have automatic updates built-in.
    I'll look out for the notifications on my computer.

  8. #8
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    Re: Does flatpak automatically update its packages?

    I've been following flatpak's updates, and it looks as though they aren't being updated.

    Everything that I've read says that flatpak is automatically updated, and the only timescale that I've found is that it's updated ten minutes after booting. Well, I've booted a few times since the 11th (even though it's only a couple of days since then), but the packages haven't been updated.

    The only instructions that I've found is that you can disable automatic updates by removing them from Startup Applications. I don't want to disable them, but interestingly, Startup Applications doesn't mention flatpak.

    I also don't find any mention of flatpak in crontab (mine or root's), /etc/anacrontab, or any of the files in /etc/cron*.

    I have installed both gnome-software and gnome-software-plugin-flatpak.

    Dropbox is a case in point. My installed version is 104.4.175, but the current version (updated 11 September) is 105.4.651.

    So, it seems, flatpak is not updated automatically.

    I shall add "flatpak update" to /etc/cron.daily and see what happens — unless you have a better idea!
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  9. #9
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    Re: Does flatpak automatically update its packages?

    Oh…

    This is interesting!

    Searching for more information, I discovered that Ubuntu 20.04 has two software apps: "Ubuntu Software" and "Software".

    They look identical.

    But.

    "Ubuntu Software" (which I was using) shows that everything is up to date.
    "Software" shows me the pending updates, including Dropbox.

    So.

    "Ubuntu Software" seems to ignore flatpaks.
    "Software" seems to take them into account.

    If I go to my apps and right-click on "Ubuntu Software" > "Show Details", I get an error saying that there are no details for that application.
    If I go to my apps and right-click on "Software" > "Show Details", it shows me the installed Software app, as well as showing that the plugins for flatpak and snaps are installed.

    In addition, "Ubuntu Software" has limited options, whereas "Software" lets me set automatic updates. That option was already turned on, so I don't know why the flatpaks haven't been updated.

    I'm going to post a new question about the two software packages on Ask Ubuntu.
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  10. #10
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    Re: Does flatpak automatically update its packages?

    So, it seems, flatpak is not updated automatically.
    My observations from using Flatpak for a while:

    The automatic updating only happens for-sure in Ubuntu 20.04 and depends on the flatpak plugin for Software. I'm not certain it works with Ubuntu Software (which is a snap package) - I do have one such system, and will have to look and see. Earlier releases perhaps back to Ubuntu 18.04 gave a notification (screenshot 1 attached), but as I recall, didn't automatically update any Flapak applications.

    In Ubuntu 20.04, you will only see a notification when updates have completed (screenshot 2 attached).

    The updating of support Platforms (such as 'KDE Application Platform') is not that clear. I'm sure of one case where one did, but it doesn't seem to always happen.

    Also, unneeded support Platforms will not be removed unless you do it yourself.

    I don't have knowledge how other desktop environments like XFCE behave with Flatpak.

    UPDATE:
    Here's an article mentioning Flatpaks updating automatically. According to this, automatic updating for Flatpak requires gnome 3.30 or above. Ubuntu 19.10 has gnome 3.30 (and gnome-software 3.30), so it must have worked there as well.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Dennis N; September 15th, 2020 at 04:08 PM. Reason: updated information

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