[SOLVED] Software Manager doesn't ask for password when installing flatpaks

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Kyowash
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[SOLVED] Software Manager doesn't ask for password when installing flatpaks

Post by Kyowash » Sun May 20, 2018 11:24 am

I installed a flatpak package and, much to my surprise, I wasn't prompted to type my password, whereas installing a normal program does require my password. I'm not sure if this is the expected behavior. If it is, is there a way to make the password mandatory when installing a flatpak?
Last edited by Kyowash on Wed May 23, 2018 12:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

KBD47
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Re: Software Manager doesn't ask for password when installing flatpaks

Post by KBD47 » Sun May 20, 2018 12:56 pm

Kyowash wrote:
Sun May 20, 2018 11:24 am
I installed a flatpak package and, much to my surprise, I wasn't prompted to type my password, whereas installing a normal program does require my password. I'm not sure if this is the expected behavior. If it is, is there a way to make the password mandatory when installing a flatpak?
Flatpack and Snap packages are less secure by default. If you want security best to stick with official repositories.

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Re: Software Manager doesn't ask for password when installing flatpaks

Post by Mute Ant » Sun May 20, 2018 9:05 pm

If you imagine Flatpak to be like a virtual machine, or a web browser with plug-ins, it's less of a surprise. The code is not really part of the OS, just available to whoever wants to run it, with their permissions applied when it's executed.
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Re: Software Manager doesn't ask for password when installing flatpaks

Post by Kyowash » Mon May 21, 2018 12:33 pm

KBD47 wrote:
Sun May 20, 2018 12:56 pm
Kyowash wrote:
Sun May 20, 2018 11:24 am
I installed a flatpak package and, much to my surprise, I wasn't prompted to type my password, whereas installing a normal program does require my password. I'm not sure if this is the expected behavior. If it is, is there a way to make the password mandatory when installing a flatpak?
Flatpack and Snap packages are less secure by default. If you want security best to stick with official repositories.
I've already asked this without getting a comprehensible answer, but here I go again: what if the program can't be found in the official Mint repository? What is more advisable: to install the flatpak or to add the external PPA?

KBD47
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Re: Software Manager doesn't ask for password when installing flatpaks

Post by KBD47 » Mon May 21, 2018 1:03 pm

I know this is not a direct answer for you, but one thing I like about MX Linux is that you can request, and often get packages added. They officially have Skype on MX 17:
https://forum.mxlinux.org/viewtopic.php ... pe#p439502

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Re: Software Manager doesn't ask for password when installing flatpaks

Post by smurphos » Tue May 22, 2018 4:02 am

Kyowash wrote:
Mon May 21, 2018 12:33 pm
I've already asked this without getting a comprehensible answer, but here I go again: what if the program can't be found in the official Mint repository? What is more advisable: to install the flatpak or to add the external PPA?
I don't think there is a one size fits all answer to this question. It depends on the software in question, an assessment of the trustworthiness of the source of the PPA/Flatpak, and the user's priorities. Flatpak via Flathub does have some oversight from the Flathub admins so is less risky than PPA in terms of potential to distribute malware and are unlikely to break your system. On the contrary, anyone can set up a PPA or third-party repo, and these have the capacity to badly break a system by updating system libraries so should be treated with appropriate caution.

Personally, if the PPA/repo is maintained by the author(s) of the software or is endorsed by the author(s) of the software I would use it in preference to a Flatpak - reason being the app will take up less installation space and will respect system theming. With PPA's in general I'd avoid PPA's that offer lots of packages in addition to the one in question without researching thoroughly if the PPA may inadvertently update other packages / libraries that might cause issues. I'd also avoid PPAs that haven't been updated for a long time.

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Re: Software Manager doesn't ask for password when installing flatpaks

Post by Hoser Rob » Tue May 22, 2018 9:43 am

smurphos wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 4:02 am
Kyowash wrote:
Mon May 21, 2018 12:33 pm
I've already asked this without getting a comprehensible answer, but here I go again: what if the program can't be found in the official Mint repository? What is more advisable: to install the flatpak or to add the external PPA?
I don't think there is a one size fits all answer to this question. It depends on the software in question, an assessment of the trustworthiness of the source of the PPA/Flatpak, and the user's priorities. Flatpak via Flathub does have some oversight from the Flathub admins so is less risky than PPA in terms of potential to distribute malware and are unlikely to break your system. On the contrary, anyone can set up a PPA or third-party repo, and these have the capacity to badly break a system by updating system libraries so should be treated with appropriate caution.

Personally, if the PPA/repo is maintained by the author(s) of the software or is endorsed by the author(s) of the software I would use it in preference to a Flatpak - reason being the app will take up less installation space and will respect system theming. With PPA's in general I'd avoid PPA's that offer lots of packages in addition to the one in question without researching thoroughly if the PPA may inadvertently update other packages / libraries that might cause issues. I'd also avoid PPAs that haven't been updated for a long time.
I'd agree with this.

If you try installing from a ppa and you get a message saying that installing will remove existing software I'd stop right there, remove the ppa from the sources list, and then try the flatpak. That's the really only meaningful advantage pf flatpaks and similar. It's why they have essentially their own runtime environment bundled (hence the efficiency issue there) and their reason for existing in the first place. Though I wish Linux would come up with stable APIs etc so they wouldn't be necessary :wink: .

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Re: Software Manager doesn't ask for password when installing flatpaks

Post by Spearmint2 » Tue May 22, 2018 1:02 pm

My understanding is that flatpaks are sandboxed, so not a threat to the actual system, similar to anything run in virtual box or VM. Any Spectre exploit in future however might nullify that.
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Re: Software Manager doesn't ask for password when installing flatpaks

Post by JosephM » Tue May 22, 2018 1:55 pm

I'd agree with this.

If you try installing from a ppa and you get a message saying that installing will remove existing software I'd stop right there, remove the ppa from the sources list, and then try the flatpak. That's the really only meaningful advantage pf flatpaks and similar. It's why they have essentially their own runtime environment bundled (hence the efficiency issue there) and their reason for existing in the first place. Though I wish Linux would come up with stable APIs etc so they wouldn't be necessary :wink: .
This is a little bit too simplistic of an approach. Take something I've seen here many times. We are a stable base. Over time people want/need features from things like newer versions of gnome applications. They do this by installing them from places like the gnome-testing ppas. This doesn't really remove anything but does upgrade core libraries that can cause all kinds of issues. That's one of the main reasons for having the flatpak integration. As the base grows older, users can still have a way to access and use this newer software in a way that won't affect other parts of their system.
When I give opinions, they are my own. Not necessarily those of any other Linux Mint developer or the Linux Mint project as a whole.

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Re: Software Manager doesn't ask for password when installing flatpaks

Post by KBD47 » Tue May 22, 2018 2:37 pm

JosephM wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 1:55 pm
This is a little bit too simplistic of an approach. Take something I've seen here many times. We are a stable base. Over time people want/need features from things like newer versions of gnome applications. They do this by installing them from places like the gnome-testing ppas. This doesn't really remove anything but does upgrade core libraries that can cause all kinds of issues. That's one of the main reasons for having the flatpak integration. As the base grows older, users can still have a way to access and use this newer software in a way that won't affect other parts of their system.
Flatpacks and Snaps sound good, on the surface they can meet a desire for newer software. The problem is who produces these packages. If Mozilla is doing it for Firefox there would be little to worry about. If some bozo like the guy with the bitcoin mining Snap app on Ubuntu does it, you could seriously compromise your machine. I like sticking to the official repositories. When you add ppa's, pull in new libs for newer software outside of the official sources, you are asking for trouble. I know there are legitimate needs for software outside of the official sources on rare occasions, but for new users we need to suggest to them that they should consider waiting for the newer versions of things to hit the repositories. And many times new features on apps are not such a big deal that you should risk breaking your system for it. Mission critical machines in particular should be protected from needless updates and ppa's that can break things. Linux Mint has been cautious about kernel updates in the past for good reason. First time you run a needless kernel upgrade and break your wireless or video driver you will soon wish you hadn't. But this is Linux, feel free to break stuff and learn, just don't complain about it later :)

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Re: Software Manager doesn't ask for password when installing flatpaks

Post by Kyowash » Wed May 23, 2018 12:41 pm

smurphos wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 4:02 am
Kyowash wrote:
Mon May 21, 2018 12:33 pm
I've already asked this without getting a comprehensible answer, but here I go again: what if the program can't be found in the official Mint repository? What is more advisable: to install the flatpak or to add the external PPA?
I don't think there is a one size fits all answer to this question. It depends on the software in question, an assessment of the trustworthiness of the source of the PPA/Flatpak, and the user's priorities. Flatpak via Flathub does have some oversight from the Flathub admins so is less risky than PPA in terms of potential to distribute malware and are unlikely to break your system. On the contrary, anyone can set up a PPA or third-party repo, and these have the capacity to badly break a system by updating system libraries so should be treated with appropriate caution.

Personally, if the PPA/repo is maintained by the author(s) of the software or is endorsed by the author(s) of the software I would use it in preference to a Flatpak - reason being the app will take up less installation space and will respect system theming. With PPA's in general I'd avoid PPA's that offer lots of packages in addition to the one in question without researching thoroughly if the PPA may inadvertently update other packages / libraries that might cause issues. I'd also avoid PPAs that haven't been updated for a long time.
This is definitively the answer I was looking for. You explained it extremely well and easy to understand! :D

The fact that installing a flatpak doesn't ask for a password doesn't bother me anymore, as I tried to do so with an unprivileged user account and apparently the password is not required just for privileged users. Unprivileged users must write a password. It's true that I don't like that, because if there were both normal packages and flatpak available in the repo (which is the case for example in Skype or Emacs) I could install the flatpak by mistake and it would be unnecessarily installed to be uninstalled later. In any case, not being cautious is an imprudence, so it's me the one who should think twice before acting.

Thank you all for your help and support. I surely have a clear idea about flatpak and PPA's now.

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