Home Linux How To Easily Configure Flatpak Apps Permissions With Flatseal

How To Easily Configure Flatpak Apps Permissions With Flatseal

A Beginners Guide to Managing Flatpak Apps Permissions with Flatseal

By sk
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Flatpak is a software deployment tool that aims to simplify software distribution and usage on Linux. It was primarily developed to contain applications in a secure virtual sandbox, allowing users to operate applications without the need for root privileges, all while not compromising the system's security. Since Flatpak apps are housed within this sandbox environment, they must request permissions to access other parts of the operating system, hardware devices (like Bluetooth, network, etc.) and sockets (like pulseaudio, ssh-auth, cups, etc.). This guide teaches you how to easily configure Flatpak apps permissions with Flatseal on Linux.

What is Flatseal?

Flatseal is a simple graphical GTK application that allows users to review and modify basic permissions for Flatpak apps. With the help of Flatseal, users can easily control what access to grant individual Flatpak applications.

For example, users can allow or deny network access to a specific Flatpak application with a single mouse click! Another significant advantage is that you can easily reset the permissions to the default settings if something goes wrong. This is a useful feature, especially for troubleshooting.

If you are using many Flatpak apps on your system, then I highly recommend using Flatseal to manage Flatpak app permissions.

It is a safe and easy way to ensure that your applications have the permissions they need, while also protecting your Linux system from security risks.

Install Flatseal in Linux

Flatseal itself is available as flatpak app in Flathub repository. First, Install Flatpak on your Linux system as described in the following link.

Now run the following command to install Flatseal:

$ flatpak install flathub com.github.tchx84.Flatseal

If you want to build Flatseal from source, git clone the Flatseal github repository.

$ git clone https://github.com/tchx84/Flatseal.git

This command will clone the contents of Flatseal repository in a directory named "Flatseal" in your local system

Go to the Flatseal directory:

$ cd Flatseal

Build and install Flatseal by running the following commands on by one:

$ flatpak --user install org.gnome.{Platform,Sdk}//44
$ flatpak-builder --user --force-clean --install build com.github.tchx84.Flatseal.json
$ flatpak --user run --branch=master com.github.tchx84.Flatseal

Configure Flatpak Apps Permissions with Flatseal in Linux

Flatseal makes the process of configuring and managing Flatpak app permissions incredibly easy!

Just open Flatseal, choose an app, and change its permissions. After you change the permissions, simply restart the app. If something messes up, just hit the reset button. It's that simple!

Let's see how to do that.

Launch Flatseal either from the dash or run it from Terminal using command:

$ flatpak run com.github.tchx84.Flatseal

The default interface of Flatseal will look like below.

Flatseal permissions manager for flatpak applications
Flatseal permissions manager for flatpak applications

For the purpose of this guide, let us take Fondo application as an example.

Fondo is a graphical wallpaper app that allows you to browse thousands of beautiful wallpapers from "Unsplash" website and set them as your desktop wallpaper. Fondo requires an active Internet connection to connect to the Unsplash site.

Now I am going to deny the network access to the Fondo app using Flatseal and see what happens.

To do so, select the Fondo app in the Flatseal interface. On the right hand side, you will see the list of enabled and disabled permissions of the Fondo app. Toggle the slider button available next to the Network option to enable/disable the network access.

Configure Flatpak Apps Permissions With Flatseal
Configure Flatpak Apps Permissions With Flatseal

Now I opened the Fondo app to verify if the network permission is disabled or not.

Disable network access permission with flatseal permissions manager
Disable network access permission with flatseal

See? I disabled the network access permission of the Fondo app and It couldn't connect to the outside world!

To enable the network permission again, simply toggle the slider button to ON position.

Likewise, you can configure other basic permissions of all Flatpak applications with a mouse click.

If something went wrong, you can quickly reset to the default settings by clicking on the Reset button on the top right side.

Reset flatpak permissions with Flatseal

Easy, isn't it?

Frequently Asked Questions

Here's a FAQ about Flatseal application.

Q: What is Flatseal?

A: Flatseal is a graphical user interface application that helps you to easily manage and modify the permissions of your Flatpak applications. It provides a user-friendly way to control what your apps can access on your Linux system.

Q: How does Flatseal enhance the security of my system?

A: By using Flatseal, you can restrict or grant permissions to individual Flatpak apps, ensuring they only have access to necessary information and features, which in turn helps in safeguarding your system against potential security breaches.

Q: How do I get started with using Flatseal?

A: Getting started with Flatseal is quite simple. First, ensure you have Flatpak installed on your Linux system. Then, install Flatseal from the Flathub. Once installed, launch the application, and you can begin modifying the permissions of your Flatpak apps by moving the slider button to on/off position.

Q: Can I reset the permissions if something goes wrong?

A: Yes, Flatseal allows you to reset the permissions of an app to its default settings easily. If you encounter any issues or if something goes wrong during the modification process, simply hit the reset button to revert to the original settings.

Q: Is Flatseal suitable for beginners?

A: Absolutely! Flatseal is designed with a user-friendly interface, making it suitable for both beginners and experienced users alike. Its straightforward functionality allows anyone to manage app permissions without requiring advanced technical knowledge.

Q: Is Flatseal a free tool?

A: Yes, Flatseal is a free and open-source tool available for all users. You can find it on Flathub.

Conclusion

Managing the permissions of your Flatpak apps doesn't have to be a complex task. With the help of Flatseal, you can easily keep an eye on what your apps are allowed to do on your Linux system.

Whether it's granting or denying network access, or resetting permissions back to default, a few clicks are all it takes. So why wait? Give Flatseal a try today, and secure your Linux system!

Resource:

Suggested Read: Linux Package Managers Compared – AppImage vs Snap vs Flatpak

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