Flatpak is coming to WSL on Windows 10

If you are using Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) in Windows 10, you will be happy to know that it will get support for Flatpak in the near future. So, you will be able to get fresh app versions the same way it is possible in mainstream Linux distros.


Flatpak Logo BannerFlatpak (formerly xdg-app) is a software utility for software deployment, package management, and application virtualization for Linux PCs. It provides a sandbox environment in which users can run applications in isolation from the rest of the system. Flatpak support allows installing bleeding-edge app versions. Flatpak packages come with all the required dependencies for the app, so you don't need to recompile the sources or look for a package to install the most recent app version.

Alexander Larsson, the lead developer and creator of the Flatpak package system, wrote a blog post on how it works on Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL).

I created a wip/WSL branch of flatpak that has some workarounds needed for flatpak to work, and wrote some simple docs on how to build and test it.

There are some really big problems with this port. For example, WSL doesn't support seccomp or network namespaces which removes some of the utility of the sandbox. There is also a bad bug that makes read-only bind-mounts not work for flatpak, which is really unsafe as apps can modify themselves (or the runtime). There were also various other bugs that are now reported to Microsoft. Additionally, some apps rely on things on the Linux host that don't exist in the WSL environment (such as pulseaudio, or various dbus services).

Windows 10 Flatpak Screenshot

So, it is still a work-in-progress. It has issues and requires a third-party X server to run GUI apps. But anyway, this is a bit of good news. Some day, we will be able to build a working Linux environment in Windows 10 with just a few clicks, and this sounds great.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

2 thoughts on “Flatpak is coming to WSL on Windows 10”

  1. “Some day, we will be able to build a working Linux environment in Windows 10 with just a few clicks, and this sounds great.”

    In contrast to just using Linux in it’s own environment… facepalm.

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